Motherhood… Something I never imagined myself writing about at 22. After being told it was unlikely I would conceive naturally, I had gradually adapted to the idea of not having children, plus I never really saw myself as the maternal type. However the day that I had the positive pregnancy test, something changed… I felt different, physically and mentally.
I felt this overwhelming urge to protect my stomach, even throughout the pregnancy when people were feeling my bump or feeling Oliver kick, I had this need to protect my bump ESPECIALLY when my midwife would feel my bump. In my first/second trimester I was hit/pushed in the bump and that overwhelming sense to protect it got stronger. My mum would joke that it was my maternal instinct kicking in but looking back perhaps she was right.
When I was in labour, I was tiring very quickly. My blood pressure was low and Oliver was being starved of oxygen and the minute the doctor told me he needed to be out quickly something glazed over me and I had this burst of energy. I needed to get my baby boy out and I was prepared to do whatever needed to be done to get him out safely, even if it meant sacrificing my health to do that.
Then once he was born the definition of ‘mum’ changed. When the midwife called me ‘mum’ I almost forgot that, that was me now. My name had changed, and I was suddenly Mum. Despite being poorly with postpartum psychosis/PND after Oliver, I still felt like a mum, I just felt distant in a way, as if he was better off without me.
Looking back I realise now that the reality is nobody else will be Oliver’s mum and no-one ever can or will replace me in his world. He will never look at anyone the way he looks at me. Even now some nights I look at him in utter disbelief that I made him, I grew his little eyelashes and his massive feet…I did that. All 8lb 11oz of him.
I guess it’s true what they say, you do change when you become a Mum. I found myself looking at every way to make my son’s life better, he had colic so I was analysing every food I put in my mouth… If it had too much garlic I would avoid that in case it affected my breast milk and exacerbated his colic. Even now, I work as much and as hard as I can despite my physical and mental health to give me and him the best lives possible.
To me, I guess motherhood means protecting my boy, being everything he needs and more. I want him to grow up knowing he can talk to me about anything and that I will do whatever I can to help him. I want to have the relationship with him where he never has to worry about telling me anything in case I get angry. I want to be that mum who his friends think he is really lucky to have.
Finally and I cannot stress this enough… to me being a mother isn’t about whether you breastfeed or bottle feed, co-sleep or let them cry it out. Working mum or stay at home mum. None of that matters. We are mothers first and foremost and our children are our priorities, not our social beliefs or parenting styles.
What does motherhood mean to you?