Confession time… not the easiest post I’ve ever written

March 10, 2011

Dear Max

I’ve been mulling over this post for a while. I’ve wanted to share it, and have needed to get it off my chest, but honestly, I’m scared that this post will come across the wrong way, I’m scared you’ll judge me, I’m scared others will judge me, but mostly, I fear that I’ll end up judging myself once again.

See Max, even before you were born, I adored you. I loved my pregnancy and when you were born, I was besotted. Without question. And I felt bonded. And everything went well – from getting you into a routine, to breastfeeding, to getting help, to sleeping. You weren’t colicky, you were thank G-d healthy and thriving, and I was finding time to exercise, have my nails done, read books, Facebook and go out. It all appeared fab, and people commented on how well I was “managing” and “adjusting”, and wasn’t I just loving motherhood. And the truth is I wasn’t. I was battling to find my new identity as a mom, struggling to share my time and energy, and resenting my “sentence”. And that’s how it felt. Like the end, not the beginning. Like I was trapped, like I’d lost “me” and I mourned it. Add to that a low self esteem, fights at home and I wanted to go back in time, not progress.

I loved you so much, but I didn’t like motherhood. At all. It had nothing to do with you – you were (and still are) perfection. And I felt alone, and guilty and like I’d failed before I even had a good chance to get started. See, no one prepares new moms for this. No one warns you that you might not be shouting about the joys of motherhood from the rooftops, that you might not be in love with mothering.

And I hope that you won’t think me a crappy mother, and I hope you’ll understand that this wasn’t about you per se – it was me. Perhaps it was the wonky hormones, the issue of adjustment, the lack of good preparation, my nature, or just because I was too stoic and ashamed to ask for help, or too myopic to even consider that others might be going through what I was.

I’m not sure at what point I started coming to terms with being a mother, and falling in love with it. It wasn’t an “aha” moment, nor an epiphany, but rather time, adjustment, experience, connecting with similar moms, opening up. And eventually I knew that I had the most privileged position ever – being your mom. And that my life went on. Different, but better. Harder, but more rewarding.

And as I write this, you are running around in circles holding your orange Reese’s ball, giggling, and entertaining. And my heart is growing with you. As is my love of motherhood.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Mom

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  • To Love Bella

    no judgement here. because I have felt – and sometimes do still feel – the same! but that love. ah, you really just CAN’T explain it. that love is just as overwhelming as becoming a mommy.

    March 10, 2011 at 8:32 am Reply
  • Sharon

    *cheers* *loud clapping* *whistling* Now this is what I’m talking about! Three cheers Tan! There need to be more women out there telling the world that its ok to NOT love being a mother initially that its a slow process and a position that you will grow to love but in the beginning… not so much. And like you, I felt the same way and it had nothing to do with not bonding or not loving my child. It had everything to do with feeling completley overwhelmed and utterly alone! We, as a sisterhood, need to start being real and honest about the starting blocks for motherhood. If more women before me had been honest about how they felt in the beginning, I wouldn’t have felt so alone and like such a failure when I hated mothering initially. I was so depressed because, while I love and adore my child, I hated mothering in the beginning and I only found out later on that it was NORMAL to feel that way!!
    Three cheers for getting real.
    And I guarantee you, the only people who will judge you for this are the ones who haven’t been there yet (like we all did) but their turns will come…

    March 10, 2011 at 8:36 am Reply
    • Tanya Kovarsky

      I wish I had the bravery and support I had then as I do now… and I wish I had have known how common it was.

      March 10, 2011 at 12:53 pm Reply
  • Sue Stuart

    When Katy was a few months old a friend, who has 2 children of her own, asked me something along the lines of “I bet you can’t imagine life without her now”. I was horrified to realise that actually yes, I could imagine life without her, and I felt dreadful. And it was nothing to do with her, I loved her with all my heart, but it was the enormous upheaval and change in my life that I think I was mourning. I am so pleased to say now, though, that Katy is the best thing that ever happened to me, and no, now I can’t imagine life without her. But it took a period of time to adjust and find myself again.

    March 10, 2011 at 8:37 am Reply
  • Tahra

    Aah Tanya, you have just written what I am sure every mom goes through even if its not for long. We do love our children without a doubt but we feel as if we are missing something. Well done on writing this as I am sure every mom can relate to your blog in one way or another πŸ™‚ I had my moments but I still love my son more then anything in the world.

    March 10, 2011 at 8:58 am Reply
  • osabi

    Thank you for being brave enough to say this. I think that so many mothers are consumed with guilt when they don’t instantly fall in love with motherhood. Unfortunately, we are so conditioned to believe that becoming a mother will fulfil all of our needs and biological imperatives that we fear judgement when we realise that it is Hard. Most messages directed at woman about motherhood are portrayed through very rose tinted glasses. I think that this does such a disservice to mums. We don’t immediately adjust to other life-changing events like marriage, so why are we expected to love being a mother right off the bat? Don’t judge yourself too harshly – I think that there are Loads of other women who have been in exactly the same position. And we can’t All be crappy moms, right? πŸ™‚

    March 10, 2011 at 9:30 am Reply
  • laura

    We as moms, do the very best that we know how to! And hats off to us for that!
    I felt very much like the worlds best mom, yet the worlds worst mom all in one day at times!
    Iv felt like picking my crying baby up and shaking her until she stops, all because her reflux went undiagnosed! Iv felt like the most important person alive because my baby knowledge has helped others, but a failure because with my 2nd child I failed to be able to help her!
    Thank goodness for other mommies around me who saw this and came over, day after day, just so I could feel normal again. So I could have a bath if I didn’t quite get around to it!
    At the end of the day, as with us all, I love my precious children so very much! And I am doing the very best I can! Even if my oldest is getting big enough to tell me that I’m a bad mom cos he can’t watch tv all day, I know I’m not!!!

    March 10, 2011 at 10:08 am Reply
  • nickistormdadic

    Honesty. It makes people see that they are not useless or weird. Thank you for sharing this x

    March 10, 2011 at 10:15 am Reply
  • Roz

    No judgement here…just pure and utter adoration for such an honest post. Thank you!

    March 10, 2011 at 10:28 am Reply
  • Tanya Moloney

    No Judgement! Took me over a year to start accepting Im a mom now, I have a 3 year old and a 3 month old and my best support is their daddy, I hand them over and tell him I had enough Im feeling lost in all this mommy business, and I know he wont judge. Us moms should stand together and let new moms know its not always moonshine and roses! But hard and never ending work. But that your love for you children is incredible.

    March 10, 2011 at 11:47 am Reply
  • lauren

    Well done for having the courage to hit “post”! I hope you feel a bit lighter πŸ™‚

    I know of many moms who have gone through what you have blogged about here. Many have landed up in therapy as they felt that they were wrong for feeling that and they didn’t get the support they needed.
    So you rock for acknowledging it! πŸ˜€

    March 10, 2011 at 12:45 pm Reply
  • samcy

    Raw honestly tempered with the love you feel for Max.

    Thank you for always being honest and upfront. It’s good to know that you can love your child completely but not the act of mothering per say… I am also pleased to hear that this is a situation that DOES change with time and experience.

    You’re a great Mom T, even when you did not necessarily feel like being so…


    March 10, 2011 at 1:42 pm Reply
  • Invivo

    I say no more…

    March 10, 2011 at 3:39 pm Reply
  • Alon Abadi

    I wonder
    Is there any place for living without “supposed to be’s” I mean every single experience is a little different. Every moment is unique and shouldn’t be judged, it is what it is.
    I also wonder ( Dont shoot me ) if giving birth without pain medication makes one appreciate/manage (not love ) the whole role of motherhood more?
    ie you have suffered so greatly that naturally the bond is strengthened?
    My wife gave birth 4 times this way out of choice and It was shear hell for her. And thank God never had these feelings

    March 10, 2011 at 8:05 pm Reply
  • Justine

    Well done Tan, you are so so brave.

    Proud of you!

    March 11, 2011 at 10:42 am Reply
  • Karen

    Wow. So nice that for once this is an issue that’s not being whispered like a dark secret to you very closest friend. It is amazing that for every time I have mentioned this to another Mom, they have responded with the same response. (Except for one or two and I wonder if they were just too nervous to admit the truth??)

    March 11, 2011 at 11:39 am Reply
  • Charlie

    Thank you for writing exactly what I couldn’t put into words myself – I loved my daughter, but I didn’t love motherhood.

    March 18, 2011 at 11:19 pm Reply
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