5 UNEXPECTED THINGS I'VE LEARNT SINCE BECOMING A MUM
WORDS BY LAURA MCMAHON
Recently someone commented on one of my posts that I looked too 'good' for someone who was recovering from a very difficult birth. It's so easy to make assumptions when looking at my curated Instagram feed. I've never been happier since becoming a mama but I've also never known this level of fear and challenge.
My heart has turned inside out, exposed and enlarged in a way I never knew was possible. I love with a fierceness that has overtaken me and I want to wear all the 'mama' things - I spend ages perusing baby name necklaces on etsy. And I've not so secretly been searching for matching outfits! Apart from my taste in fashion here are some of the other things that have changed:
I have a greater capacity
I used to be a 9 hours sleep girl. My husband can testify I meet my limit at 7.5 hours exactly. Anything less and I'm a grouchy grouch. Now I can do 2 hours just fine, 6 hours and I feel like I'm winning at life. I worked so incredibly hard all throughout my career but motherhood is on a whole other level and I believe this is because there is much more emotion involved. I have found my energy for my daughter to be unwavering. No matter the lack of sleep or amount of things to be done (how does one little person make so much washing?) I am so eager and untiring in doing everything I can for her happiness and comfort.
My understanding has increased
I don't move so quickly. Hours of sitting quiet & still to breastfeed has made me stop and take in life at a slower pace. When I'm not lost for hours drinking in that divine new baby goodness, I notice the people in a cafe sitting around me. I have made so many new friends with people I'd usually speed by. My personality is very confident and charismatic and I would usually race through life onto the next thing with the loudest person capturing my attention, now I linger for a chat and am interested in getting to know the nuances of the shy person I probably used to scare. I am easily moved to tears by someone eating alone. I don't care so much when some acts negatively, I more just want to know why they acted that way and find I understand much more easily. Being a mama has completely undone and me in the best way possible. It's rewired how I approach people and judge situations. I care less and I care more all at the same time.
I have to be reminded about self-care
I've always been wholeheartedly enamoured with beauty and fashion but now I'm just completely enamoured with my baby girl! An indication of me pre-labour is how much research and effort I put into my 'birth outfit'. When they confirmed I was in labour I was very preoccupied with putting on the matching nightie, dressing gown and slippers I'd spent so long searching for (a word to the wise..after birth when my husband was carefully picking them up from where they had been flung around the room as he knew how important they had been to me, my exact words were 'burn them' haha!) Now, I completely forget about myself. My husband has to do a check before visitors come that I don't have a boob hanging out and my clothes match. I just desire to spend every single waking moment gazing at my little one or doing things to make her world better. Why shave your legs when you could invent silly songs, read books, lie on the playmat, play 'where's my breast pad gone?' (usually on Zariah's head or stuck on the back of my husband hehe) or fold and colour co-ordinate baby onesies? My entire world has quite happily become all about her. My mum actually had to say after 11 weeks, and I took a lot of convincing.. 'Honey maybe you should let me mind her and go get your hair done'. I have had to make a concerted effort to look after myself, as I even had quite a crook back as I wasn't taking time to sit properly supported to feed, I was just so concerned with getting food to my baby that I'd perch precariously wherever and just get that boob out!
I worry more
I've never been one to struggle with anxiety but I've found becoming a mama has made me feel raw and open to feeling anxious. I worry about the future and literally about things, like world peace... I'm anxious for the world to be beautiful for my daughter. I find it a bit hard to read the news and cannot read anything to do with children.
I've drawn closer to God
Going on from the above it has been necessary but I am also entirely responsible for my baby's world and I set the atmosphere of our home for her. I have always placed great value on time spent with God but daily devotions could be a bit hit and miss. Now I do not miss a quick moment in the morning to have a cuppa, a read of the bible and a pray as it literally sets me up for the day and ensures an atmosphere of peace in our home. It's not just about how I feel anymore, it is about setting up the best haven of faith, hope and love for her that I can every day. I rely on God more because despite my best efforts to keep everything perfect and safe, I certainly fail day in and day out, and there are so many things outside of my control (ie. that world peace again!). I take refuge in knowing there is someone that cares for her more than I ever could and I have never come away from time spent meditating on the word feeling anything but better!
Laura is currently loving time on maternity leave with her little miracle baby girl, who took 5 years to conceive, Zariah Valentina (meaning ‘God has helped’). She has been married to her hubby Dan for 8 years and lives in Mosman, Sydney. When not being a full-time mama Laura works as an Events & Marketing Director and blogs about fashion, food, fitness and events at shoesandcocoa.com