How do we know when we are ready for motherhood?
When we have the career sorted? When the traveling and partying is done? When one day the urge to smell a newborn’s head overpowers any logical reasoning of the ‘but we can’t afford it’ or ‘it’s not the right time?’ variety.
10 Signs that I was absolutely NOT ready for motherhood
1. I lived in my father-in-law’s house and shared a bunk bed with my husband when I got pregnant
This doesn’t exactly scream ‘parent material’ does it? We were saving for a house at the time.
2. I didn’t notice I was pregnant for months
Seriously months. It was kind of mad, but the only symptom I had was an all-consuming, unfocused rage which is obviously not that different from my demeanour the rest of the time.
3. When I did realise I was pregnant, I had no way of telling HOW pregnant I was
This was embarrassing. Due to my wild and elusive womanly cycle, when asked when my last period was I answered November 2006.
4. When I was pregnant, I was FULL-TILT petrified most of the time but refused to admit it and seek help
I had profound anxiety that would bubble all day long and erupt in the early hours of the morning when I would lie awake and worry about the soon-to-be-arriving bundle of joy. I also felt really, really guilty – like an anticipatory guilt at what a terrible mother I was most likely going to be.
5. Two weeks before the birth I developed a phobia of the baby’s room
I was not ready for this. With hindsight, I think developing the phobia in and of itself isn’t the worst thing – what was worse was not speaking up about it and getting a bit of help.
6. On some level, I kind of thought that maternity leave was going to be a nice break
Ha. Hahahahaha…. I will literally never stop laughing at this. Although truth be told the parental amnesia is a potent thing, and I keep catching myself looking forward to my forthcoming maternity leave like it’s going to be a relaxing little stretch of me-time.
7. I didn’t spend even a single minute of the pregnancy thinking about what having a baby might be like
Therefore when one came out of me, I was clueless. And really freaked out. It took eight full weeks for me to realise that they need naps. NAPS! Essential things naps: Believe me I know, I lived with a poor demented baby who was nap-deprived for eight goddamn weeks.
8. I told the baby to “f*ck off” at one very low point
I feel so wretched about this to this day but in my defence, I think I was in a deep state of shock about the new and very alien world of motherhood in which I now dwelled (and couldn’t seem to find an exit from). And he had been crying for three hours straight – clearly, he was goading me, or just really needed a nap.
9. I felt really, really young
Not that I think age has everything to do with being ready for motherhood. I think some of us can be ready at 20, while others don’t feel ready at 40. However, I felt young. I wasn’t even that young. I was 28 when he was born, but I felt like a lost child. Every encounter with a doctor or midwife made me feel about 10. I had no confidence to ask questions, or speak up about the decisions being made about my care. Being pregnant again and taking a much more engaged, hands-on approach this time, has made me realise what a difference three years can make.
10. It took me a long time to adjust to not being so selfish
I think that I am finally getting there. Though some days I act like more of a spoiled toddler than he does.