We all know the famous “pink cloud”, this place new mothers are supposed to be on when they finally have welcomed their newest family member in the world. Most stories from newbie mothers are usually quite black and white: they are either on a huge pink cloud where everything is so beautiful and amazing (= the large majority) or they have a postnatal depression. There doesn´t seem to be anything in between and I think actually most mothers are, especially in the beginning, somewhere in that grey in between area but don´t dare to admit it. It is as if the motherhood clan made a deal that we don´t share the bad stuff and all keep up the appearance about how lovely everything is and how perfect our new life is. But seriously, who are we trying to fool?
Of course, there´s the occasional jokes on “Make sure you sleep enough now because after you gave birth you will not sleep in for the next 18 years” or the message that life is going to change a bit with the arrival of your baby. Also, books and the internet are full of pink cloud info but why is it that very few mothers are honest and admit that it´s also quite hard? I mean I was obviously expecting a change in life but, call me naive, I was not prepared for how radical this change was going to be and how much life would change.
Why don´t we just admit to each other that motherhood also can be freaking hard, that your whole life will be upside down and that although you´re very happy with the arrival of your little one (ugh, before starting this blog I had the intention I would never write about my “lo” or my little one, failing already..) that there are also many moments in those first weeks where you have more tears of desperation than of happiness…. A bit of expectation management would be good here!
I mean “yes haha i won´t sleep in anymore for the next 18 years” but somehow this little joke does not really cover the feeling if for weeks (or months..) your longest stretch of sleep in a row is 2,5hours and there´s no outlook that this will get better anytime soon. And let me tell you, the combination of the recuperation of giving birth (auwww!) with serious sleep deprivation, stitches and no clue why you´re baby is crying this time, is not my definition of a pink cloud. Also somehow when hearing all those pink cloud stories, (again you can call me naive) I had a bit more glamorous image in my mind than myself in a jogging pants and a pyjama shirt the whole day (and that every day for weeks) without energy or much time to sh ower or to make myself look somewhat presentable. Or when the black circles under your eyes start to touch the floor and someone manages to say that you look a bit tired (ehm yes, I have a baby, that´s my natural state of being now) or asks whether he already sleeps through the night (look at me, that´s your answer right there) you just wanted to punch them.
Also the complete lack of rhythm and activities those first weeks was something I was not prepared for. I used to pack my days with lots of activities / useful stuff and to-do´s so all those days that just fladdered by a bit where actually nothing really got done made me quite nervous sometimes. That feeling that you didn´t do anything today and your to-do list is getting the same size as the pile of laundry that is also waiting for you (and both of them seem to double in size each day), and that day after day after day.
Or the desperation that when breastfeeding finally seems to be established but just hurts so much that you´re crying every time your baby starts eating (which, y ay lucky you on that pink cloud there, is 8-10 times a day in the first weeks). Yeah yeah, it´s very special you can feed your child and it´s really the best for him (another great point of discussion and of unwanted advice you will get plenty of!) and those mother-child moments during the nights are soooo precious, but honestly I had to force myself through some very painful weeks before the “fun” started and when you haven´t slept for days you much rather prefer to leave that “precious moment” for the next morning and just sleeeeep.
Anyways, don´t get me wrong I was in love from the first day with our little “bicho” (yes, we´re calling him insect) and after a few months I was definitely on a pink cloud but looking back I just wished someone had warned me a bit and would have had the guts to tell me what it´s really like. The pink cloud is usually there, just not immediately. Let´s just all be a bit more realistic with each other and stop thinking that we need to keep up the appearances of our perfect happy life of new motherhood. What if the motherhood clan makes a new deal; to be honest and admit that while it´s of course one of the most beautiful and special things that can happen to you, it´s also FREAKING HARD?