Sitting here gazing at the blinking line, my hair (what’s left of it, anyway) up in a ponytail, eyes puffy and red from a restless night of a teething baby, the front of my shirt ringed with dried milk and patches of drool. This is a picture of a new mom, the work from home one.
At thirty-five years old, I had done a lot in my life. I’ve travelled, worked in different industries, lived on the other side of the country, fallen in and out of love until I found the right one. I looked at my life and thought, “I’m ready for this.” I was excited at the prospect of becoming a mother.
My pregnancy was relatively easy. I didn’t experience the morning sickness I’d heard so much about. I was considered “geriatric” and embraced it. Some days I struggled emotionally but just chalked it up to hormones. I’d think to myself, “This is normal.”
I never imagined motherhood would be easy. My partner and I knew there’d be more than our fair share of sleepless nights. We knew that we’d feel frustrated sometimes, but we had been through struggles before and always came out on top. We told each other, “This is going to be hard, but we just need to communicate well.”
I imagined my days as a work-at-home new mom. My partner and I would take turns taking care of the baby — two hours each. We’d say, “It’ll be an adjustment, but we can handle it.”
After those first two weeks came to pass and the build-up of tasks sat incomplete in my inbox, I sat at my computer. As I typed in my password, my newborn began to cry. I said out loud “Maybe he’s hungry. I’ll just feed him and then I can get a full two hours of work done.”
Forty minutes later, I resumed my position at my computer, typed in my password, and pulled up my emails. While I read through the various things I would need to complete this week, I felt overwhelmed. I slowly began to tackle the first task and after 30 minutes or so, my son began to cry. I asked myself, “Will every day be like this? Was I crazy to think I could do this?”
It was two weeks before I finally admitted to myself that I couldn’t return to my full-time forty hours a week. I spoke with my client and we agreed to cut back to a three-quarter time schedule. “This will allow me more time to focus on the baby without the pressure of getting work done.” I thought.
A couple of months later, I knew I couldn’t continue. Each day was a struggle. I’d work when I could- twenty minutes here, forty minutes there. It was so much harder than I’d expected. I’d stare at my computer longing for the days when I could spew a thousand words about any topic I was handed. I felt like my brain has turned to mush, and I am not who I once was.
I know I’m not the only mom out there that struggles with her identity and loss of self after having a baby. I just never imagined it to be so all-encompassing. I barely recognize the old me and as I try to redefine myself, I feel deep grief.
I wonder if my partner feels it too. Does he miss the woman who could hold it together? Does he wonder what happened to the girl who could tackle anything and get shit done? Does he miss my old body, my old mind, my humour? Does he miss the days of working side by side in silence before the constant interruption of our son’s cries? He’d never say it out loud, but I wonder how he is coping.
So I sit here, watching that blinking line. I don’t know what today holds, each day is different. I never know if I’ll be able to meet this deadline or that one. I will continue to carve out little pieces of the day to type like a mad-woman in anticipation of my son’s beautiful brown eyes opening and drawing me away from the task at hand. I will eagerly await those hours my partner can take the baby out for a walk. For in that ninety minutes of solitude, I feel the pieces of me start to put themselves together and I catch a glimpse of the old me.
This piece was my final contribution to the Content Marathon with SEMrush. I wanted to share it as my previous blog received some great feedback, and talking open and honestly about motherhood is very important. I know there are people who don’t experience these same feelings, and others who have a much more difficult time, so these words are only my own, my experience. They aren’t easy to share, and they aren’t easy to say, but I believe by getting them out, I can release that heaviness and be a better mom for Joseph. After all, he’s everything and he deserves his mom at her best.