I remember my husband telling me that he hoped we would not become those parents who worried about everything. Of course this was the last thing I wanted to do, so we laughed about it and reassured each other that we would be cool, calm and collected parents. We would not worry about being parents who worried.
Fast forward to birth, which was pretty cool – read about my under 3 hour unexpected early birth in our bathroom here – and us being new parents. We had friends and family over and everyone could hold our son just days old. We felt like yes, we got this, we ARE cool and calm and collected!
It was not until a few months later I started to reflect on the thoughts I had been having from the moment Leo joined our family. Fine, Leo was, and still is, a very easy going baby. And I had people constantly pointing out what a relaxed mother I was. It made me feel good – that kind of compliment. It was what I wanted to be from the start. Mission accomplished – Right?
But my mind was on a constant race mode. I analysed everything – not as in what people thought, but as in every possible outcome of each and every action I took. How it would and could affect Leo. Things like putting the bread knife back down on the bread board and suddenly thinking how I might loose balance in a few minutes, reach for the counter, touch the bread board and the knife would go flying towards my son. I’d have hundreds of these a day.
I did not have postpartum depression. I was happy, in love with my baby and on cloud nine, this was simply how I went about my day and living everyday life with a new baby. It did not make me feel sad or stressed. It just seemed to be ‘the new me’ and I subconsciously accepted it. Even though at times it made me doubt in my maternal instincts.
It was not until last week when I saw a flurry of posts on social media telling me that a mother’s brain indeed change, that I realised what all my thoughts was about. I went on to read this amazing article by a fellow mother who has done tons of research on the subject – so i refer to her article for all great sources.
I want to say thank you Chelsea Conaboy, for writing such a fantastic piece for all women world wide to read. She end the article by saying ‘I might have coped better if I’d understood that some of what I was experiencing was just my brain— this dynamic, empathy-teaching, humankind-shaping maternal brain — doing exactly what it was supposed to do.’ If you used those words on your CV, you would get any job in the world. So I now apply them to myself. Thank you Chelsea!
Even though my thoughts were never severe or overpowering enough to cause anxiety and distress, they still made me doubt if I was the natural mother people painted me to be. Because surely, having these thoughts about every possible outcome of every move I made can’t be normal – but I am now happy to say it is. I still have them but not as much. I think I will have them forever. And knowing that the brain actually goes thorough similar changes as it does in puberty, makes me even more confident in my everyday choices around Leo.
A Tribe Called Life