The one about messiness.
I’ve been really struggling to write lately - the first few blogs posts flew out of me almost compulsively. And then - the well dried up. I’m big on self-examination so I sat down with a cup of (decaf) coffee and tried to think about what was going on. And then my three month old started shrieking - it’s her new trick - and I was distracted enough that my coffee went cold and my brain emptied itself like the sieve it has become since Monty was born.
When I tried to engage my brain again, later that night after a few sleepless hours - item number 2 million on the list of shit no one tells you about motherhood is that just because the baby starts sleeping through the night doesn’t mean you will - I realised that I couldn’t write because the one thing I kept wanting to write about made me uneasy. For the first time, maybe ever in my life of oversharing, I felt like I couldn’t give words to what I was feeling and thinking and living.
They say you can’t pour from an empty cup. I read that on an influencers instagram once ages ago before I’d even ever considered getting pregnant. It was a post about how mums need to take care of themselves as much as they take care of their families - because a stressed, sick and burnt out mum can’t take take of anyone at all. It stuck with me the way a Taylor Swift song does - incessantly and with no regard for your hatred. I think about that a lot now that I am a mum - and use it as an excuse to have that extra slice of cake, glass of wine or Sunday arvo nap. But in reality I didn’t believe my cup was anywhere near empty or that I deserved to take care of myself. Because my baby is making my life pretty easy at the moment.
The hideousness of my pregnancy is well documented and will continue to be so - sorry, if you’re here for stories without spew this is not your place. But the reality of life with Monty is so much more rosy - yes, it’s been a bit of a mindfuck, and yes I’m struggling with all the things new mothers struggle with. But it’s also been, dare I say it, easy. A good friend keeps telling me if she hadn’t witnessed my pregnancy she’d just hate me and my gorgeously easy baby. We refer to Monty as my good karma for enduring nine months of hell. This is all to say that she’s a lovely, sweet, quiet, charming, well fed three month old who sleeps through the night.
But where does that leave me? Aren’t new mothers supposed to be either haggard, frazzled, exhausted messes OR instagram hot, white pants wearing, glossy hair having unicorns? Aren’t we supposed to be desperate to get away from our kids or posing them on circular Turkish beach towels with the caption #blessed? What if my baby sleeps through the night but I’m still exhausted? What if she takes her bottle like a champ but I’m still anxious she’s not eating enough? What if she screams blue murder but I’d still rather be sitting with her than literally anywhere else? What if I sometimes feel so capable and full of love and confidence that I could probably cook souffle in six inch heels while teaching Monty German? And what if sometimes I feel so drained, exhausted and mentally foggy that the thought of trying to give my baby a bottle - one that she always takes and has never had issues with - seems like the emotional equivalent of trying to tackle Westfield Bondi Junction on Boxing Day? What if my baby is easy but life is still hard?
I guess, dear reader, the answer is messy. One of the few things people tell you about becoming a parent, that turns out to be true, is that it’s a rollercoaster. I just wasn’t anticipating it would be one on a minute by minute basis - I wrongly assumed there’d be at least a day between a peak and a plummet. Maybe it’s okay that I’m tired even though I got a full eight hours - because loving something so much you’d die for her is exhausting. And maybe it’s okay that I feel confident in my parenting - because how can that not be okay?