When I was in the grips of Post Natal Depression, I used to find it incredibly stressful having two babies who needed me equally (and constantly). The mum guilt of prioritising a child based on their current need versus want was tremendous. Physically I felt incapable. Mentally? Much the same if I’m honest.
I write this sitting on the sofa, with Copperhead partially standing on me, Little Red leaning against my legs. Moments ago they were actually fighting over me and I felt that familiar feeling of helplessness begin to rise. Can’t I just have a moment to jot down my thoughts? I need someone to help me with them. It’s too much. Why can’t they go and play for a moment? Just one minute so I can grab a rest.
But then I realised, how lucky am I? To have two happy children who simply want cuddles. They haven’t done anything wrong in wanting my time, so why am I feeling so frustrated?
It’s because at this very moment I feel like all I give is my time. The girls don’t understand that I have needs and why should they? They’re only babies with limited understanding of a world beyond themselves after all. But when you become a mother it can feel like no one cares about you, that you’ve pretty much disappeared. While it may be true that your priorities and identity have changed, it’s important to remember that these moments won’t last forever.
APPRECIATION STARTS HERE, NOT THERE
In fifteen or twenty years, knowing they probably won’t be, I’ll want nothing more than my children to be near me. I’ll look back at this time with rose tinted glasses and remember how affectionate they were, not that I couldn’t have a quiet cuppa alone for five minutes. I’ll think about how they’d climb over each other to get to me, how we’d all cuddle together. I’ll forget how I couldn’t move for ages but almost always desperately needing the loo during such occasions. It won’t matter that I FELT like I struggled daily, because I’ll know that I managed, and for all intents and purposes, managed reasonably well.
Even when it feels that the workload is never ending and that I’m exhausted beyond belief, I only have to remember the numerous conversations when I was told by varying doctors that I probably wouldn’t be able to have children. I only have to briefly think about when the girls were in NICU. If that isn’t a cold hard slap in the face I don’t what is.
Having children is a blessing not a curse. For many people, raising babies and young children is undoubtedly a trying time, but we still need to gently remind ourselves that it’s a privilege that won’t last forever. Yes it can be undeniably hard, I can personally vouch for that! But doing something so incredibly precious would never come easy. Don’t make it the futures job to appreciate what you have in the present. Value the now.