Let me take you back to 2010… no I am not going to discuss the Football World Cup…
We got married in the November of 2009 and we knew that we did not want to wait to start a family.
So it’s 2010
I am not pregnant, the discussions we had were ‘well sometimes it takes time, you were on the pill”. I was not satisfied with that being our answer. My mom pushed me to go see a gyne (truth be told I had never gone to see one – bad I know, the whole thing scared me).
(Still 2010) – Sitting in the waiting room, I have no idea what to expect, how would this whole appointment go.
‘Mrs Row, you can go in now’…
That day I learned I had polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). What in the world…
Briefly – PCOS is cysts on your ovaries that effect you hormones and can cause infertility. In that moment of learning about this, I felt the rug being pulled from under me. Why me…
In the years to come we sat in many waiting rooms, poked and tested, so many blood tests, so many periods came and went and piles of negative pregnancy tests. Tears, so many tears.
Over the years I would imagine what would it be like to be a mom? I tried to put myself in my mothers shoes. Well any mother’s shoes really…
We were at that age where our friends were all having babies. At first it was delightful to learn a new baby was on the way, we could “learn” from our friends and be able to kinda feel what it’s like to be parents. But after awhile, delight turned to dread, each announcement just drove it home more that we were not a mom and dad and no baby was keeping us up at night.
During our “trying to conceive” years I started to create a picture in my head of what a perfect mom would be, I bought parenting magazines, watched all those reality programs of how best to discipline your kids (you know the ones). I observed my friends and their different parenting styles. Still I did not feel confident that I would be a good mom or even know how… how to “mom”. I think my lack of confidence was that I thought fate was telling me that my inability to conceive meant I was not going to be a good mom and there was a greater reason why we were not parents. It started to scare me, the mom figure became frightening. Would I remember to feed the baby? How would I cope with no sleep (I slept in every weekend back then). Would I crumble into a sleep deprived mom with a hungry kid and no diaper (I had no clue how those worked). 6 years is a long time to really think about how you are going to “mother” and many years to build up enough anxiety on your capabilities to do it.
Life before parenting…
I have given up all hope of being that elusive thing called “mom”. I stopped trying to imagine what my child would look like, I put away those thoughts of what a good parent is and how to be one. I became selfish and concerned with my own hobbies and lifestyle.
The dream of having a little one shout out mom was dead in me. My dream had died…
THEN REALITY HITS YOU WITH A FREAKING HUGE ASS SLEDGE HAMMER OF TWO DOUBLE LINES… you know the ones… they appear on that darn pee stick.
What!!!! I am pregnant??? No ways? This can’t be true. 5 more pregnancy tests before my doctor visit – still the thoughts of doubt and oh it’s a false positive. Thoughts of miscarriage and all dreaded things. Thoughts of… could this be it, could this be the one that stays…. will this baby make it? Could I be a MOTHER!!!
And the rest… well you know how the story goes… hello Motherhood… hello Skylar 2015… hello Wyatt (another surprise) 2018.
BZZZZ there is a notification of a new email. It is a about the BabyDove #RealMoms campaign. At first I am super excited and then those old doubts crept in just a little. Am I a real mom? Like really a real mom? What is a real mom? Cause sometimes I feel like I am just “playing” mom and when am I going to just be “her”.
This campaign got me thinking of the years leading up to parenthood, the first year and what my ever changing impression of what it all meant.
What is a REAL mom? What defines it? What does it mean to all the moms I interact with, what does it mean to you and me? And what are our own interpretations of the word “REAL”?
Then I took it right back what defines me as a mother? Am I just a mom and not a #RealWoman? A multifaceted person who also happens to be a mom? When it takes a long time to have children, you really get to reflect what is important to you.
Looking at that “reflecting woman” pre-children…. wow. How ignorant I was when it came to motherhood. Its not some cookie cutter, dictionary definition, clear cut obvious answer. Being ‘Real’ to me is being open and honest with yourself. Knowing you are a bunch of contradictions. You are dying to go out with your friends, kid free – but then miss them and worry while you are out.
It’s okay to be annoyed that you have not done that hobby in months and it’s okay to take back some time and pick it up again when you can. It’s okay to feel all that mom guilt and conflicts of your own needs to that of your children.
I know that I am not the complete picture of what I imagined myself to be as a mother. But I have just learnt to trust my way. And that I am doing my best the best way I know how.
There are no perfect moms, just real ones….
Part of the BabyDove campaign was to ask fellow moms some questions we would need to put together to try unravel how moms saw themselves and how we as mothers are perceived.
Thank you to all the InstaMamas that participated in this poll. If you would like PLEASE COMMENT BELOW, with your thoughts on the results of this poll. Don’t forget the competition where you can win your won Baby Dove Hamper, simply by posting your own REAL MOM moment, and tag @Choosearow and @babydovesa on your image to win.
These are the results of the poll I ran on Instagram:
Baby Dove asked similar questions to moms in other parts of the world. These are the results of that poll: