People often say that moving house or renovating are up there as two of the most stressful things a couple can go through in their lives – apart from death or divorce, that is.
Well, I am about to squash that myth and make a statement – that the transition of going from “couple” to “family” is probably the most stressful event that a woman can experience.
Forget all of those clichés that pregnancy and the birth experience is all sunshine and rainbows. In the real world, it truly is hard work both physically and emotionally – and anyone that believes that it’s a walk in the park is either lying to you, or in the absolute minority.
While I’m not at all denying that the journey into parenthood is an amazing experience, it’s just that what many people do not appreciate is the total (and unspoken of) life-flip that effects the woman once she enters this new motherhood phase. Up until the last few weeks of pregnancy, the mother-to-be is more than likely still working in whatever dynamic and fast paced profession that she has been excelling in for most of her adult life so far. All of a sudden it is time to pop out this little bundle of joy – and now life as we know it gets changed forever.
For the high achieving woman, whatever your role was before – is now suddenly considered only “what you used to do”.
Now you are living on broken sleep, being physically drained, and completely devoted to someone else’s timetable.
It’s not about you anymore. It’s certainly not about what you need, nor what you want. For now, it’s all about your baby…. Followed closely second by your partner!
Welcome to the darker side of motherhood.
It’s the untold phenomenon that so many women suffer with, but that nobody really talks about. It’s something that we all will come to learn, but we seem to keep inside ourselves. It’s something that I suffered with myself – and since then I have watched and heard of countless new mum’s suffer with as well. And it’s the one thing that our partners just cannot seem to be able to get their heads around.
You see, it’s a very “grey” area. It’s all about feelings, emotions, anxieties and depression. There is no “black & white” here – which is probably why it’s so difficult for the males of the species to understand.
I went from being a pretty fun and independent chick, with a fast paced job and lots of fun stuff going on in my life…. To being a mother – who soon found it such a challenge to get properly dressed by lunchtime.
From someone who used to travel often… to someone who found it even a mission to get out and meet a friend for coffee.
A once high achieving, social butterfly was now spending her days almost like a hermit; who’s anxieties were growing inside herself – just because she “couldn’t get sh#t done” like she used to…
My independent, dynamic life was gone; and that was very difficult to take.
Anxiety and depression for new mothers is real – and it’s now becoming increasingly common, especially amongst high achieving women. We seem to judge ourselves with such harsh brutality when it comes to what we now do & don’t get done in our days.
For some reason we feel the need to justify what we have done each day to our spouses – but are we really trying to justify it to ourselves? We as mothers seem to forget that we are now attempting one of the most important jobs of our lives, in raising a little human being.
Instead of criticising ourselves, we need to support each other. We need to release the stigmas, and those self-inflicted burdens that we keep placing on ourselves. We need to accept ourselves for doing a pretty good job at this thing called “parenting” – and try to enjoy it for what it really is.
Yes, it can be isolating.
Yes, it can be brain numbing and even a little boring (dare I say it!)
And yes, sometimes it will just be down-right annoying and can push you to your limits; but we all know that it is an experience that we would not give up for the world. Just cut yourself a little slack, and realise that it is normal to feel a little loss of identity from who you once were. You might even be feeling a little uninspired right now – and that’s OK….
Recognising your anxieties is half the battle. Share your feelings with another mother, and she will empathise with you wholeheartedly. It’s OK to have down days, but remember to celebrate the little wins just as often.
You’ve got this… and you’re doing a fab job, mummy.
Words by Danielle Tinkler.
Photo credit: Centre of Attention Photography & Once Upon A Violet.