Ever heard of the phrase “the joys of motherhood”? I’ve heard this a lot of times from Moms all over, even in commercials and advertisements for baby stuff and motherhood. They always say things about how joyful being a mother is, how happy they are that they are Moms, to the point that they make it sound like a walk in the park, all rainbows and butterflies. But I never really fully grasp the meaning of the phrase until I became a mother myself.
I have joined the world of motherhood barely seven weeks ago. And it opened up a world so different from what I used to know. Everything shifted in my world. My priorities changed, how I decide changed, how I think changed. Well, I am still the logical person that I used to be (if I may say so myself), only this time, my world shifted from the singleton axis to the motherhood axis. My world now revolves around my son. Every decision I make, every step I take, I have to consider his well-being. And I enjoy the change. Let’s just say that my horizon widened.
Every time I see my son, my heart soars, my throat clogs to the point that I cannot speak, I feel so much joy that I could never explain. Every time he smiles, I forget all my worries and my problems even for a short while.
I never regretted the decision of having him. Because of him, I do think that I have become a better person. It makes me do things that I’ve never done before. He makes me push myself further than I have ever pushed myself. He makes me want to become someone that he will look up to.
Anyway, going back to the joys of motherhood. In the seven short weeks that I’ve spent being a mother to my son, I think I can say that I have grasped the concept of the said phrase. It’s not really something that can be fully explained in words. You just experience it when you become one. And that is the only time that you can understand how it feels like.
However, with joy comes the horrors. Nobody ever said anything about the horrors of motherhood. You see, in the past seven weeks, my son has already been confined twice. We have actually spent more time in the hospital than at home during his first month. And our battle is not yet over. Up until now, we are still not so sure of what we are up against.
Having your son confined at four days old is heartbreaking. For seven days we spent at the hospital due to jaundice and possible sepsis – seeing him pricked several times by multiple hospital staff (from doctors to medtechs, which some of them I would really like to punch in the face for not considering my son’s pain during the procedure), having to undergo phototherapy naked under bililights on cold rainy days – I was almost down to my knees praying I just go through the suffering instead of him. His first confinement made me feel so incompetent as a mother.
His second confinement almost broke me down. I was so close to a total meltdown. I felt like I haven’t done anything right for my son. That everything I think is right that I do for him is actually more detrimental to him. I was too close to losing all confidence in myself to take care of my son. Again, I have watched my son suffer the needles. Blood samples were required for tests that I never really understood and Z was pricked several times for it. He was hooked up to another IV and started on antibiotics again. He was put on tube feeding. The pedia asked me to stop breastfeeding for a while as well as it may have been contributing to my son’s weight loss and malnutrition.
That hurt. You see, I planned to breastfeed my baby for as long as I can. And given that I have a short time to spend with my son before going back to work, being told that my milk may be detrimental to my baby was like a direct stab to the heart. My Mom saw me cry because of that alone. It felt like the final straw. I was already thinking that I was the worst mother ever, that I cannot do anything right by him.
But then, sometimes, as my Mom told me, we have to make sacrifices to ensure the safety of our kids. And I guess giving up breastfeeding that time was the biggest sacrifice that I could do to ensure that my son thrives.
So anyway, we all know of the joys of motherhood – the rainbows and butterflies and the stars and the sun and all that is pretty and bright. But with every joy comes the horrors. No mother is perfect. You planned to do things the way you see fit for your baby before they are born. But at the end of the day, there are circumstances that are way beyond our control that we wouldn’t know what to do or how to handle. And those situations will make you think that you are not doing anything right. I guess babies are really supposed to do things unpredictably to keep us, mothers, on our toes.
In the future, when someone asks me what it feels like to be a mother, I would tell them outright – it is full of joy and horror all rolled into one. 🙂