5 things I was too afraid to admit about parenthood … until now

5 things about parenthood

In the (nearly) three short years that I have been a parent I have learned a lot. More than a lot. Here are five of the things I have learned that for some reason I have found hard to acknowledge, until today when I realised that I could acknowledge them and that was OK. Because really, most things are ok. Ok?

1) I want to talk about my children. A lot.

I have endless capacity to talk about my children. I would happily tell you everything about them and I would only stop to show you one of the 10,000 (no exaggerating) photos I have of them. Not to mention the 100+ videos. They are my pride and joy and I am constantly reigning it in as much as I possibly can. Obviously, as people who know me will testify, I can talk a lot about a variety of other topics too – but I will admit that, at the moment, my children are topic nΓΊmero uno to me. Did I tell you that Wilbur put two words together this morning?? Well now you know. See.

2) There are parts of parenting that I will be good at – really good at.

Some people love childbirth. My friends Cathy and Sharmila have described the births of their little girls as ‘awe-inspiring’ and ‘powerful’. Where I found birth to be mostly horrific (thanks weird anatomy) they did not. Some mothers are brilliant at breastfeeding and enjoy it whilst for others it’s a sad and upsetting battle. And so it continues. Weaning, walking, learning etc. Some people are good at some things and others are not, but there will be bits of it that you excel at. The challenge I’ve found is to celebrate those bits – for you and for others. Be joyful that your baby sleeps through the night, chances are you will fight other battles that other parents will sail through. I’m always trying to make sure that in sharing my experiences I can empower rather than intimidate other mothers. I’m not afraid to admit the really good or the really bad bits and neither should any one else.

3) I have been empowered

My children have made me feel like I can do things that I could not have done before. I grew to believe that if I could function on a few hours of broken sleep, give my all to feed, cloth and care for a baby then I could basically do anything. But, it’s not just that. Going on maternity leave from my job gave me space to think and be creative about what I wanted to and could do after having children. It has focused my mind and I now know what is important to me. It’s been liberating.

4) I hate what pregnancy and breastfeeding has done to my body

There are no amounts of balms, oils or declarations of ‘tiger stripes’ that will make me like my post pregnancy body. My skin has been ruined and there is nothing I can do about it. People who have had a glimpse of my stretch marks have gasped in sheer horror/shock/fear. I love my children, I love that my body grew them (I’m so grateful for a body that could) but I wish it had done so without such complete and utter destruction of my skin. I’m not self loathing or self pitying about my appearance, I just don’t like my scars of pregnancy and I don’t think I should have to. So there.

5) I need help

Not asking for help has been one of my biggest flaws since I can remember. I would rather suffer and silently try to work out my problems or bury my head in the sand than ask for help. I’m sure I would have done a lot better at school and university if I wasn’t too proud to say that I didn’t understand or couldn’t cope. Having children has changed that, pregnancies where I couldn’t walk, breaking my ankle and feeling overwhelmed have pushed my hand and I’ve reached out to the people I trust for support and love. I’ve grown to accept that asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness – rather it is part of a village raising a child. We’re not designed to do it on our own. Whilst I’m still fiercely independent I have learned that asking for help is ok and in some circumstances is the best thing – especially on days when I can’t cope. Having my children has showed me inner strength that I didn’t think was possible but it’s also great for highlighting where I’ve needed help – I’m learning to be ok with that.

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27 Responses to 5 things I was too afraid to admit about parenthood … until now

  1. Lori says:

    I totally agree with most of this but especially with the empowered! After pushing a 8lb 5oz baby out and struggling through a nightmare of breastfeeding to the other side where I could enjoy it, I feel like I could take on the world – after a coffee πŸ˜‰

  2. Josie says:

    Em, I know what you mean about the body, tyler says to me “mummy what are those stripes on your tummy” ahhhhh!!! Even my babies notice them and they never knew me without!

  3. Polly says:

    Love this post. And totally with you on the body thing… my girls ask about my stripes and ‘jelly belly’ :/

  4. fritha says:

    aww so true Emma! I agree with all of this! As you know W was a crappy sleeper like your W but there were other things I found enjoyable (birth) that I know others did not so I’m grateful for that when other parts were/are ridiculous hard sometimes! I think its wonderful to share the parts you find joyful as long as it’s not undermining anyone else’s experience. For example I really believe in positive birth stories and that birth can be wonderful but I sat at a coffee morning once where a mother proclaimed how amazing her experience was and how easy it is if you did it the right way (her way) whilst another mother was clearly almost in tears after telling just a tiny bit of her story and I felt there and then I never want to be that person that makes another feel there experience wasn’t valid or ok (god I’m going off on one now!).

    I guess I found that when I was living through another night of sleep deprivation HELL and waking up to people telling me how wonderful it was their baby was always such a frikkin ace sleeper πŸ˜‰ I think you say it really well that we should empower not intimate! xx

  5. Globalmouse says:

    This is a great post…I totally do not love my post baby (3 babies) body and definitely feel it is completely ruined…and cannot be fixed. If I really think about it I feel sad, frustrated and filled with regret I can’t go back in time and do something differently (but I have no idea what)…but mainly I just cover up and forget about it. I need to get better at asking for help though…I don’t do that and then feel really jealous if I see others getting it…crazy!!

  6. I think it’s really great being honest and sharing your achievements as well as what scares you. I think there are moments we all need help although it can be hard to admit that. Great post

    Laura x

  7. chloebridge says:

    I’m exactly the same about asking for help. I don’t know why I find it so hard!! Have to do everything by myself. I like your point about accepting there will be some aspects of parenting you are good at, and some you are not. All about perspective.

  8. adrianscrazylife says:

    I’m glad it’s not just me. They showed my 15 year old son a birth video in health class and I was horrified! There’s no way he’s ready for that – I’m hoping he isn’t scarred for life. I wasn’t even ready and I was almost 30 when I had my first. Obviously the results are terrific, but the process is not my favorite. One of my friends had a videographer AND a photographer film her latest birth – up close and personal, and had her 12 year old daughter in the room. I’m sorry, but that completely freaked me out. Blah…

  9. Alecia says:

    I can understand the not asking for help. I went through that one a lot in the early years. Not only did I not ask for help, but I felt like if I did – it would be seen as “weak”. However, I’ve since learned that in order to get what you need – you have to ask and if that’s help then you ask! I especially ask for my parents to take the kids – for the afternoon or overnight and give me a break. Stopping by from SITS Sharefest.

  10. Samantha says:

    This is a great post! Of course, I don’t have much insight on the specific topic since I don’t have kids (yet!) But I feel I will be very similar to you in many ways. I currently show pictures of my kitty and bulldog to EVERYONE, and I also don’t like to ask for help! I really enjoyed this post because of how real, honest, and relatable you are. Coming by from the SITS sharefest today!

  11. motheringfromscratch says:

    {Kathy} Wow. In less than 3 years, you have quite a bit of insight. Knowing that you will, indeed, be great at a number of things (even though several gave you fits!) is a great step toward being a confident momma!

  12. I’m with you on childbirth. I have to admit, it was a bit traumatizing for me, but thankfully I was rewarded with a beautiful, healthy baby at the end of it πŸ˜‰ I especially like #2–as you said, there are things that will come easily to me that will be a challenge for other parents, and vice-versa. I’m happy to admit both to other moms. No matter what, parenting is hard work and we should all be supporting each other! Stopping by from #SITSSharefest πŸ™‚

  13. Tara Newman says:

    What a great topic for discussion. I bet it was hard to come up with just 5 things! Motherhood is far more complex and emotional than I thought it ever would be. I feel like 9 years ago when I was pregnant people didn’t share this information as freely. It would have been great to read blog posts like this. Thanks for sharing. Stopping by from SITSsharefest.

  14. jellibeanjournals says:

    We learn so much when we become parents. I love how you mentioned that each of us becomes somewhat of an expert in different areas. I’m terrible about being consistent with discipline, but can talk all day about how to get your babies to sleep. Thanks for the insights, Emma.

  15. Suzanna says:

    Thanks so much for this post! As a new mom (#babyd is 6.5 weeks old), I really appreciate what you’ve said here. I too feel empowered sometimes but completely at my wits end at others. And I’m terrible about asking for help. 😎

    I’m a new follower over from #SITSsharefest!

    Suzanna

  16. LOVE EVERYTHING about this post. I’m right there with you on the body ruination and love how you show that some parents “sail through” things other parents struggle with a vice versa. Here from #SITSBlogging!

  17. Krystal says:

    Thank you for this, very inspiring. I am a mom-to-be and feel a little scared about becoming a parent at times. Your #2 on the list is just what I needed to hear!

  18. Leah Sannar says:

    I lost this post, I can relate to most of it. As a mom, there’s all this pressure to feel like you are doing a perfect job raising children. I adopted my son, so I can’t relate to the pregnancy part – but man… I could talk about my son all day. ALL. DAY. LONG. He’s the best. I think it’s so great to find people who you can relate to and who will be honest about parenting being difficult and share the ups and downs.

    I found your post via SITS ShareFest!

    Leah

  19. Great list!! I think it’s so admirable when women can speak their truth. I am truthful about a lot of things on my blog, and sometimes, people think it’s complaining or unappreciative. I think every motherhood experience is different, and women need to appreciate that and recognize it more. And VALUE it. Anyway, I loved this post. I don’t like my post-baby body either. I like the posts about seeing the beauty in it, but I still can’t quite love it yet. Stopping by from the SITS link up. πŸ™‚
    -Meredith

  20. I feel you! I hate my post pregnant body too and I hate the guilt I feel for hating it! Thank you for saying it!

    Visiting from SITS!

  21. Brittany says:

    I understand the having a hard time asking for help thing. I’m really bad about it too!

  22. I love how you shared your lessons learned. This is something that we can all relate to in one way or another. I personally hate what has happened to my body due to having three kids too. I look at it in total horror too everyday. I feel like I’m nothing more than an ugly duckling now.
    I look forward to hearing what other lessons you learn throughout your parenting years.

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