In one word? Survival.
I don’t have a long list of my goals. Upon reflection, last time, I had a long mental list of things I’d do with Arjun – take him for walks, take him to baby groups, go to the park. All of which seemed so simple but didn’t really materialise in to a routine. Why? Because what I didn’t envisage was how low I would feel post birth. Setting myself the perfect little list of things to do ended up being my enemy in a way as it gave me something to focus on what I HADN’T been able to achieve. I didn’t realise that the root of everything I do as a mother stems from my mental well being. So this time, I don’t have a long list, my sole goal is “S U R V I V A L”, anything else is a bonus.
There are so many (what seem to me) petty debates … breast vs bottle … pacifier vs no pacifier … co sleeping vs cot … the list is endless. Do those things really matter to me as much anymore? As bad as it may sound, no.
If becoming a mother has taught me anything, it’s to want to give the best to my children. What does “giving the best to my children” actually mean? While to many, breast feeding, not giving a pacifier and not co-sleeping may be the best for their child; for me, giving the best to my child is giving them the best version of me. Giving them the best version of me means me taking care of my mental health. Me taking care of my mental health sometimes means turning to what works best for us and perhaps not the majority – what some may coin “the easy route”.
Dealing with an incredibly strong willed and emotional toddler is definitely taking its toll on me even with all the extra helping hands I have at my parents house. I’m hyper aware that once we move back home and I’m predominantly alone with two kids, I’ll definitely have to pick my battles and ensure I do what’s right for us as a family as oppose to what society thinks I should do. I’ve been warned that the jump from one to two is unimaginable and that it IS going to be tough. Can I really comprehend it? No. Can I try and prepare for it? I can try. How am I trying? By reminding myself that my sole goal is “survival”.
Am I going to try breast feeding? Yes. Am I going to beat myself up over it if I struggle and it means excessive sleepless nights? No. Does that make me a bad, selfish, useless mum? No. it makes me a strong one. Because to not give in to the pressures of society to make sure I’M ok so I can be ok for my kids, is bloody hard – “fed was best” in our case with Arjun. I recognised how the lack of sleep where I spent whole nights trying to breast feed was contributing to my downward mental spiral – I really struggled. I wish I’d been able to breastfeed, but I couldn’t for longer than a few weeks. Arjun is a happy healthy boy and with Preetam’s support, I managed to slowly come out of the dark space I was in. Last time was about trying to do the right thing by a text book, this time it’ll be about doing the right thing by my family.
Having suffered with Post Natal Depression when I had Arjun, I became so hyper aware of how little sleep contributed to my mood and mental wellbeing. I just want to make the most of my children and create happy memories whether they jump in to our bed, whether we feed them with a bottle or breast or whether they need a dummy here and there.
I felt that with Arjun, the newborn days were spent crying, feeling low, feeling confused due to often trying to please society, not understanding that actually I was the most important person in that equation for our family – a strong mummy. I don’t want to spend the newborn days of this child in the same way. I want to have learnt from my first experience. I would be a failure if I didn’t learn from my experience with Arjun.
My sole goal is survival.
Of course I have no idea how things are going to pan out. I’m terrified of how I’ll be this time having been through it once but my experience has made me wiser. I’ve even struggled with my pregnancy. My experience has made me selfish to the world in that I’ll be doing what’s best for my children, my family and me. My sole goal is survival.
Please don’t judge me.
We’re all on our own journey, trying to do our best – OUR best for OUR situation and OUR families.
Love, support and uplift x
P.s. any tips on how on earth to cope would be most welcome!