Has anyone else been totally surprised at how some of their attitudes / opinions about motherhood and parenting have changed once their first baby has come along? Don't get me wrong, I love my DD more than anything. She's such a joy and the light of mine & DH's lives. But I feel like I'm a different mother than I thought I'd be.
All I ever wanted was to be a mum. I never had any career ambitions and never felt comfortable in any job, I always felt like I was just counting down the days until I could stop work and be a mum. I was so desperate to get pregnant and overjoyed when it happened very quickly and easily.
DH and I had a tentative plan to only have one child but I felt a bit guilty about that, like a real mum 'should' want more children. I imagined myself with two or three.
Then I had a horrible pregnancy. Five months of 24/7 nausea and vomiting. Constant muscle and back pain. I was constantly uncomfortable and it felt like my stomach muscles just did not want to stretch. DD kicking was excruciating. All the mums I knew would say how much they loved feeling their baby move and what a beautiful experience it was...I just felt so guilty that I didn't feel that way. Feeling my baby move was uncomfortable and painful - I carried so small and tight that it's like I felt everything so much more, and some nights I'd be in tears it hurt so much. All I'd ever wanted was to be pregnant and I was so shocked that it wasn't a positive experience for me. I felt really guilty. I was very uncomfortable with all the changes that were happening to my body. I didn't gain any extra weight thankfully but I just really wanted my body back to myself! And I felt horrible about it.
Then I had a horrible and traumatic birth that I won't go into, only to say it was the most terrifying experience of my life and still haunts me to this day. I'm still having counselling to deal with it.
I couldn't breastfeed. It was something I'd always imagined myself doing so I was floored when it didn't work. DD has been fully formula fed since she was about a week old and is thriving, but it took me so long to get my head around it. For so long I felt guilty and I still have a twinge every now and then, but you know what, I like the fact that I have my body back to myself. I liked the fact that DH and my mum were able to feed DD in those early days while I had a break or caught up on sleep.
And now that DD is here, like I said I love her to bits and pieces...but I'm actually thinking I might go back to work. I don't have to, we can survive on DH's wage + what we get from Centrelink, but I miss it. I miss the social interaction, being active and on my feet, and using my brain. I never used to go out much before having DD, I was a bit of a loner, now I love catching up with friends and do it all the time. I never took much pride in my appearance but now I make an effort to have my hair and makeup done and look neat & tidy. I don't feel like that mumsy, 'earth mother' type that I thought I would. I love the thought of only having one chid now. It's definitely what's right for us and I don't feel guilty about it. There's no way in hell I would go through pregnancy and birth again. Everyone tells me I'll forget about my traumatic birth and that I can't 'just have one', which is annoying but probably something I'll just have to get used to.
I feel positive about the future, I feel like there are so many more things I want for myself now than to just be a mum. I'm DEFINITELY not criticising those who find their identities strictly in being a mum, because that's the person I always thought I would be! I'm just really surprised at the way my attitudes to motherhood have changed since actually becoming a mother. I'd be interested to hear from anyone else who feels the same way.