Great Expectations


Nothing demonstrates my skewed expectations of early motherhood better than a message I sent to my best friend actually asking her if she enjoyed changing nappies. This is one of the few texts I’d been capable of typing during a peak period of panic and anxiety. 
Then, and now to a certain extent, I was obsessed with how much I was or wasn’t enjoying being a parent. I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t in a state of constant bliss. Why didn’t I relish every waking moment with my beautiful newborn? I believed I should be dying to feed, change and cuddle my son. In reality, I often wanted to flee the room. I was desperate for a day, or even an hour, on my own. I wanted to sleep, preferably for a solid week. I didn’t have much desire to take care of my baby at all, and the shock of this secret realisation was like being stabbed in the chest several times a day.  
Frankly, I’d been mis-sold. Haven’t we all? Let’s blame the media for moment, shall we? Because they’ve done their fair share of misleading future mums with formula adverts and perfect birth scenes.  
But the propaganda doesn’t stop there. Parents, I mean our parents, are perpetrators of the myth too. There’s nothing quite like 30 years to deaden the horror of sleep deprivation. 
You’d think our peers, at least, would be a reliable resource of truth. But other new mums I knew were just so bloody happy. So blissful. Such naturals. Of course, I know better now. I know that the truth we portray is often nowhere near reality. But all I knew back then was that I couldn’t be bothered to change another nappy and therefore I didn’t love my son.  
I’ve never been a career woman. I’ve never been overly adventurous. I met my husband at 19 and we’d been planning (and saving) for our future ever since. A future of which having kids was the pinnacle. For all our planning we hadn’t really got much further than that – get a house, get married, have a baby and live happily ever after 
So is it any wonder that, when that much longed for child arrived and I realised my life wasn’t actually complete and being a mum wasn’t actually what I’ve been destined for, I panicked? Because the person who had mis-sold me the most was…me. 
Also, I was unwell. Really unwell. So the happy moments that my mummy friends were experiencing, the ones that went a long way to make up for the lack of sleep and general relentlessness, were not readily available to me. The cruel nature of PND.  
Frankly, the question of enjoying parenting is still a topic I obsess about at times. My son is almost two years old, as demanding as he is adorable, and when we have a bad day I feel a stab of that old fear that I’m not enjoying myself enough, that there’s something wrong with me. But, in reality, I suspect I enjoy more than my negative thought patterns allow me to believe (in fact, I know I do, I made lists – thank you, CBT). And when I change his nappy now I don’t really think too much about anything, I just change it. Which is pretty much what my friend told me.

The Twinkle Diaries

11 comments on “Great Expectations

  1. I really relate to so much of this! Lots of this was so similar to my experience. Really enjoy reading your blog. Great to read others experiences and to know it was just me xx

  2. That newborn stage is hard enough without throwing PND into the mix. I definitely think that we are shown the perfect world pf parenting and the reality is nothing like it! I currently have the almost three year old pushing all of my buttons! There are definitely moments that I think, how is this fun! Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

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