FALLING PREGNANT AT 19
I remember when I first held my little bundle of joy in my arms for the first time. It was a surreal feeling. The feeling of love, happiness, and pure exhaustion flooded my body. I was so naive to what I was about to encounter. Although I knew the feeling of love would grow more and more each day, little did I know so would this exhaustion, and the happiness would come and go in waves. Once everyone had left the hospital and it was just the two of us, I remember lying in my bed with this tiny little thing beside me, thinking “HOLY GUACAMOLE” over and over in my head. I continually congratulated myself on pushing out such a beautiful little girl the size of a watermelon between my legs and thinking “will it ever be the same again”. I remember sitting there at 3am in the morning PRAYING for my partner to come back, to help me, to comfort me.
I never saw myself falling pregnant at 19, and putting on hold some of my dreams. In no way do I regret our daughter, she’s incredible, but it hasn’t been easy.
I remember leaving the hospital, coming home, and the hype settling down. All the hours in the day seemed to combine with all the sleepless nights. I remember when our daughter was first born, as much as I was in a newborn bundle of awe, i found it bloody exhausting, and I found myself pretending to be happy, because why shouldn’t I be? I remember asking Jack if this exhaustion would ever stop? I remember asking my mum when will this get easier? I remember some days crying on the toilet just to have a little break. My daughter has always been moderately “easy going” but some days were, and are still, just SO HARD.
The truth is I never really knew how I would do this whole thing. This whole uni, life, mummy thing. I couldn’t imagine how I would juggle it all. And the truth is I don’t really know how I’m doing it now, but I am, just winging it.
The truth is, I have no clue what I am doing half of the time and think to myself wtf? the other half of the time I’m making it up as I go along. But that’s what parenthood is about right? However, I never let people see this side of me. I don’t want people to know that I may feel slightly out of control, that I feel vulnerable, which is completely ironic as I am just blurting this all out for you to read. I feel bad and guilty asking my parents for help, as I feel they shouldn’t have to look after my child, and I shouldn’t have to go to them for help the rest of my life. But the truth is, I do this, and the truth is sometimes I don’t feel good enough as a daughter and as a mother because of this. I worry that people will use this against me, and pull out the “I DID THIS FOR YOU”, and will find me ungrateful even though I really am so incredibly appreciative. The truth is, I find it hard to express these emotions, I try so hard, but maybe not hard enough.
The truth is, I am way too hard on myself and expect way too much from myself also. I want to look and feel good all the time. Who doesn’t? Who doesn’t want to look and feel beautiful? Who doesn’t want to feel loved 24/7? Who doesn’t want 12 hours sleep? What uni student doesn’t want to get good results? What mother doesn’t want to feel like they’re doing a great job and be organised and have things in order? 70% of the time I am proud of how I look, I am proud of how hard I try, I am proud of how much I achieve and I am proud of the person I am. However 30% of the time, I hate it. I hate how I look, I don’t seem to take into consideration how much I achieve and I hate the person I have become. The truth is, I’m not always sad, but this factor itself is, and it shouldn’t have to be that way.
My daughter sleeps well some nights, and other nights it’s a fucking shit storm. WHAT THE FRICK IS WITH THAT?! I remember people saying “you sleep when baby sleeps” but we all know this isn’t reality, especially when your child doesn’t SLEEP. This is probably the biggest trigger of my bad days, being sleep deprived and then falling downwards into a big slum day of depression.
I admit it, being a mum isn’t all smooth sailing. And yes, some days are better than others, but let’s stop pretending we know exactly what we are doing, pretending that things are A-OK all of the time. Because let’s face it, it’s not. Speak out to others. Don’t be ashamed for feeling down. Don’t feel ashamed to ask for help. DO NOT FEEL ASHAMED. Motherhood is a tough, and somewhat rough, gig. It’s a journey you signed up for, but more like a lucky dip – you never know what life is about to pull out of its bag of wonders, and each and every day is different. But the real truth is, nothing you do as a mother really matters, what does matter is giving my/your child an endless supply of love, and of course, keeping both of us/you alive. All the rest is in our heads. As my daughter is now almost 2, I’ve come to “accept” that some days I’m not okay; we don’t leave the house. Don’t ever be ashamed of finding things hard. Try and remember thing will always get easier.
Ask for help when needed and take time out for ourselves. Look, if a fellow mama comes to you for help, a chat, a talk, give them advise. And if you can’t give them advice at least be there for them and not just tell them to “just go with it”, that’s not cool.
Written by Hattie Wickett
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Women talking unashamedly about their mental health and parenting innit.