Am I a "good" mum?
I often get DMs about how "easy" I'm making motherhood look or how proud I should be of myself. Whilst I appreciate it, it confuses me at the same time. There's nothing easy about being a mother, or a parent in general. From the second my son was born it was like my brain formed a whole new chamber that thinks about him CONSTANTLY. Is he okay? Is he happy? Is he comfortable? What does he even think of me? CONSTANTLY. My son smiles 90% of the time and if I'm honest as much as I know he needs me, I probably need him a lot more. He is the calm to the storm of my life, but again that does not mean it's easy. I have had moments where I have cried along with him because I didn't know how to help him. There's nothing easy about that. Granted, that was in the first few weeks but that doesn't leave you. No-one is more critical of themselves than a new parent.
I have always wanted to be a mum. Always. I used to want 12 kids until my teacher in high school told me it was selfish and to think about the fumes the car would be putting into the earth - as if all I planned to do with the children was drive around but go off sis. So then I thought I'd settle for 6. Crazy to some but as someone who has a father with 12 siblings, big families are beautiful to me - flawed but beautiful. When I lost my 1st child (which I'll do a separate post about because that is something I feel women do not talk about enough), I felt like I had failed not only as a mother but as a woman. I'm SUPPOSED to be able to give birth. That's what we do, that's what women do. Yet I failed. I was one of those weird people that was worried that because I hadn't had any pregnancy scares before that that maybe something was wrong. So of course getting pregnant eased my mind but in the same breath, this outcome was probably worse.
So you can imagine when I found out I was pregnant the 2nd time, I was scared but I was ready to fight for my child. I did not know what the hell I was going to do as I had just started my Masters and I wanted (and still want) to be the baddest Psychodynamic Psychotherapist there is. But I knew this little baby was going to bless my life in ways I couldn't imagine and so I did what I had to do. 10 months later my angel was born. My angel in human form. It's crazy because I said I would never have an epidural or a c-section but when they said his heart rate had dropped and they needed to act fast I was willing to do anything, even if that meant sacrificing myself. In that moment I learnt what it meant to be a mother; a type of sacrifice that feels illogical at times.
I guess I want my son to think I'm a good mum but I'm coming to a place where I don't care who else does and I mean that with my whole chest. Motherhood is an extremely personal journey that can feel extremely persecutory. I am African so of course I have been asked about marriage and home ownership more times than I wish to respond to and so I don't. Those who genuinely love me know where my love and focus lies. Maybe, my opening statement was a stretch - I do care but I want to get to a place where I don't.
I am never going to do everything perfectly. I am learning. Even just the simplest things like how he likes to sleep or how he likes to play is me embracing my bond with my child. A bond that opinions can't take away from us. I squeeze my son everyday and tell him how much I love him, almost to the point of tears. Even that sentence has made me well up because it has not been easy getting here. But I'm here. I am here and I am so in love with my child. So maybe to some people I'll never be a good mum, to some I'll be the mum that does too much, to some I'll be the mum that has no clue what she's doing, to some I'll be the mum that needs to hurry up and marry, but to my son I'll be HIS mum who loves him unconditionally and as long as he knows that - I AM good.
From one "good" mum to another.