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A new mom holds her brand new baby. Image is in black and white.
Health&Wellness,  Life with N,  This Parenting Thing

Normalize All Motherhood Journeys

So I’ve recently realized that I don’t really talk about being a mom, or even how I began my mom journey.

So today, we are going down memory lane together, and I’m going to talk about it. So go get your cup of coffee, and get ready! How my motherhood journey began is something I rarely ever talk about. It’s not a beautiful fairy-tale type story. These are, sadly, memories that I’ve worked really hard to keep as far down as possible. To keep them out of my mind. And, I carry a lot of shame over that. I mean, who doesn’t want to remember when their baby was born? So I’m going to talk about it. I’m going to talk about my journey to becoming a mother, and that not all stories begin as a fairy tale, and that doesn’t mean they’re any less valid.

We’re going back 11 years now.

OMG where does the time go? Anyway, I was 19 and totally loving life. I was living at my Aunts house, working 2 jobs, volunteering, and working out regularly. I really felt like I had life figured out. I was looking at Universities to apply to for the fall, and I was definitely leaving Manitoba. (Side note, when I think about this now, it’s crazy, because I literally have zero desire to leave Manitoba now.) Okay, rambling, sorry, so back 11 years, and I reconnected with this guy from high school, and I was growing to care about him. He had just left the army, and was sort of figuring life out at that point. We hung out frequently, and talked. We were friends in high school, so it was easy to be comfortable with him.

Well, we all know how babies are made, and so that happened, literally one time. And boom I’m pregnant. But wait, so, between that time, I was working like crazy, I was tanning, working out, going out with my girlfriends, just really loving life. It took me about 2 months to realize I hadn’t gotten my period. I was just so busy, and enjoying myself, I didn’t even notice. On a whim, I purchased a pregnancy test, and my aunt was out of town for a few days, I had this guy come over and we were going to watch Sex and the City re-runs. I had no intention of taking the test that night, but I also did not think at all it was going to be positive. So, it wasn’t really a big deal to take it. So I told the guy, I’ll be right back, and took the test. AND IT WAS POSITIVE. Like instantly.

So, picture this, I’m sitting in the bathroom and my life flashes before my eyes.

I was pregnant. At a complete loss for words, I go back to my room with the pregnancy test, and sit down. I’m sure my facial expression was enough to know my world had literally just fallen apart. I remember, I sat down on the bed, and he asked what was wrong. I replied with “Well, we have a problem. I’m pregnant.” He backed up, (on the bed) and was like “whoa, I don’t want children.” I was so overwhelmed, I just wanted to go to bed. So he slept over that night, and left 5am the next morning. We didn’t talk about “the elephant” in the room. He left by giving me a hug and saying good-bye. I sat with that information all by myself. I was pregnant. Oh my gosh, I can’t even find the words to tell you how crazy that was for me.

I had never wanted children. Ever. I wanted to just live my life doing whatever I ever felt like doing. I didn’t want that responsibility. So I never heard from him again, for about 2-3 months. I reached out countless times, and he never responded. In September, October, he responded, and we ended up hanging out. (At this point, I had moved back home in preparation for this baby to come.) He told me that his stance was the same. He asked me if I considered adoption. He gave no emotional, physical, or financial support whatsoever.

I had this mentality that, well, he didn’t want this baby, so I didn’t expect anything.

I just thought he could at least be kind? Maybe hang out sometimes. I was so freakin lonely! I went from loving life and being social, to living at home again, pregnant and what-do-you-know- friendless. I hated the thought of the future, because, I had no idea what I was doing. I felt absolutely disgusted with myself. So much shame. I went on with the pregnancy, and attended pre-natal classes alone. (Which was NOT fun.) I had to learn how to be my own support person basically. I was bitter, and intensely resentful. I carried out my pregnancy, basically, trying to not be pregnant. I would shovel snow for hours, or go up and down the stairs a million times, almost just to prove to myself that this pregnancy was not affecting me. But, my body ached. Ached to levels I had never felt before. I was so sick all the time. I was miserable. Absolutely miserable. I felt like my entire life was a disappointment to my parents, so I constantly tried to make up for it. (They did not ever say this.) I was a complete wreck.

Labor was horrific.

Oh but wait, so I continued on. I woke up at 5am, to catch a 7am bus, to work downtown, in the pitch black. I walked 3 blocks from the bus stop down sketchy alleys to get to work every day. I was so tired. I hurt so bad. The bus ride made me so sick. Every single day was so freakin hard, and I was in an awful place. I had questioned myself so many times, “who did I think I was having this baby?

Truth be told, the decision to have the baby came out of fear of disappointment from my parents.

I felt like if they disowned me, I’d really have no one. So I lived, trying to please them. Right down to the decision to become a mother. I never rubbed by belly, like cute pregnant women do, or felt emotional hearing the heartbeat, or all those other typical responses to pregnancy. I basically turned “off” and just got through each day. I tried to make myself fall in love with being pregnant. I carried so much shame. I refused to buy maternity clothes. I just really did not have a good pregnancy. Thinking back, I’m not even sure how I survived it. My mental health was in such a dark place.

The baby was due March 5. Then March 17. Then March 28. There was nothing about being pregnant that made sense to me. Everything was always changing. (Oh, hello anxiety, I see you there.) Contractions started and stopped for 3 days before the baby was finally born. I felt so bad, my mom was so tired. (I now feel like this is weird. I was the one in labor. I was tired.) It was so difficult to care about how I felt at that time. Labor was confusing and tiring. I was tied to a bed by all these crazy machines, and not allowed to eat or drink. I was terrified. And, I was so thirsty. Hours and hours went by and I just laid there, in sheer pain, with my mom. Now my mom is like super woman and I really appreciated her during this time, but it’s not the same as having a partner.

Nurses look at you different, even the doctors, when you’re a 20 year old single girl about to give birth.

People like to write their own stories for you, without even asking. I knew how it looked. It was such a difficult experience for me. The baby was finally born, and they placed him on my chest, and I felt so many emotions. I didn’t even know you also delivered the placenta. (Which for me, was worse than the baby.) It was so traumatic! The nurses tried very hard to force me to breastfeed, which I was confident that I didn’t want to. (I didn’t want to even try.) Fast forward a little bit, and I’m home (parents house) with a newborn baby, and a post-partum body. And, if you aren’t a mama, a post-partum body is very different than a pregnant one. Every single thing hurt. And, oh my god, going pee after a baby?! No one warned me about anything. I was so tired. I was so broken. I was living in a body that I knew nothing about, and frankly didn’t even recognize in the mirror.

Everything was strange. Because I was trying to live up to my parents expectations, I never really sat with my feelings, but constantly was going. I was going through the motions of what looked like being a good mom, but literally felt nothing. And, if you’re reading this, and thinking oh my gosh, what a terrible person, didn’t even love her baby, well then, okay. But, I was so young, I didn’t understand what was going on, and life was totally out of my control.

I even had the baby circumcized because that was what my parents believed. I literally felt I had no power in my life. (Again, my parents are awesome, it was just the fear of going against them that was crazy for me.) This was such a dark time in my life, which really sucks because it was the birth of my oldest son. I’ve carried so much shame over the last 10 years from all of this. I’m working towards accepting that this was how my life was, and I did the best that I could do at that time. And, that’s all we can do.

I did grow to love him if you’re finishing reading this and worried.

But, I can tell you, it’s not the same love as my other two. I really think, because I wasn’t in a space to be a mom, something disconnected and I just wasn’t able to bond with the newborn. I had to, like, try to love him. It didn’t come natural. And again, I know that sounds awful, but can we normalize not always loving pregnancy, birth, and even motherhood?

10 years later, and sadly, there is a distinct different relationship I share with him. He is an incredible kid. But, I’ve closed myself off, and for some reason, don’t feel very much. I know I love him, but I struggle with any sort of touch, hug, or cuddle. This sucks guys. So if you are someone who is judging me, keep in mind, this was not how I wanted it either. This was not my plan, nor my dream. I can honestly say that I’ve done my best with him. I work hard every day to be a good mom to him, because I know loving does not come each for me. Talking sweetly and loving, is not something I can do. So I do other things, like, put his mask out for him, or wash his favorite shirt for him, or send his favorite lunch. I can love him in those ways. Functional, and practical ways. But I missed out on that cute, adorable, precious baby stage. And, it’s no ones fault, I just wasn’t in a space where I could be that.

I’m slowly working through unpacking the shame, but I also don’t feel that this is reason to mom shame me either. But, if you must, you must. We need to normalize that motherhood does not come natural to everyone and that, it is a journey, not a destination. We need to normalize not judging each other.

Stay tuned to hear my birth story from my second.

Love Always, Enn

Also, catch my last post about positive affirmations!

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8 Comments

  • patchworkmomma

    I’m sorry you and your son had such a difficult time and that his dad didn’t offer support. I think you’re brave to tell your story. Acknowledging that motherhood takes many forms is important. My first baby was an unplanned pregnancy too. Today is his 23rd birthday, and I couldn’t imagine life without him now. All we can do is our best. Judgment is never helpful. Thanks for sharing.

  • Angie Soul

    I’m not a mother but I have many friends who are that express guilt and shame surrounding motherhood. It absolutely breaks my heart because I can see how core changing motherhood is. It is not an easy task at all and there is no room for shaming from other mothers, especially when it should be viewed as a sisterhood and a safe space. Motherhood does not fit one mold. You did the best you could and it is more than enough.

    Thank you for sharing this!

  • Britt K

    I have never understood the judgement in motherhood circles. However, it seems to exist in almost every conversation that comes up in regard to parenting… You see it in so many areas. Breastfeeding vs bottle feeding. TV vs No TV. Public School vs Homeschooling. Electronics vs No Electronics. Why can’t we all just recognize that there are different paths and that’s okay! That’s part of life – no two journeys are going to be the same. With the exception of situations of abuse, neglect, etc., any parenting journey should be met with acceptance.

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