Written by: Nanette Dreyer
I was going to be an awesome mom.
Perfectly tidy nursery with everything in its proper place. No bottles, because I was going to breastfeed exclusively.
No long recovery, because I was going to give birth naturally and without any complications. I was going to take every problem that arose in my stride. No freaking out. Oh, and I wasn’t going to send my baby to a daycare – I was going to run my business, and the household, with a baby on my hip like it’s the most natural and fulfilling thing in the world.
Basically, I was going to be a super-mom.
And then came the baby and that very pretty picture I just described…
Gone. Just like that.
The first couple of weeks were touch-and-go. I gave birth at 6 am on a Sunday, got home with a newborn at 10 am, and at 5 am on that following Monday, my husband returned to work, about a 250km drive away.
And there I was. And there was Noa. The most beautiful blond-haired, blue-eyed boy… who wouldn’t latch. And, as the adrenalin started to wear off and the pain started to creep in, so did the uncertainty, doubts, and fears.
Am I doing this right? Should I get help? What if they think I can’t handle it?
And as it turns out, that was only the first of a series of unfortunate events that would flow into the months to come.
- Post-natal depression,
- The loss of two family members…
And the climax came about four months after the birth. Although I was able to avoid the operating theatre at birth, it wasn’t without complications, and four very painful months later, I ended up there anyway.
I really still wanted it to seem like I still had it all together… but I didn’t. My expectations of what motherhood would be like were setting me up for failure and disappointment in just about every other area of my life. I felt like I was failing as a wife, failing as a business owner, failing as a friend and, wait for it… failing as a mother. I never saw that coming.
It was also around this time that a certain one-line sentence started to haunt me. It was waiting around every corner and close to every failure, and it was ready to pounce!
You were never supposed to be a mother.
I really needed God to intervene. This was His plan after all, and the way I know Him, His intention was probably never to harm me. To prune me, perhaps? Definitely. But pruning is painful, and it never feels good in the moment.
One of the most important things I had to realize in order to move forward, was that my beautiful baby boy was never going to be the first one to call me ‘mom’. If I based my “new” identity as a mother on anything less than God’s opinion of me, I was setting myself up for failure, because God called me ‘mom’ first.
Next, I needed to humbly lay down my vain opinion of myself as a ‘supermom’, or ‘superwoman’ as my friends would often refer to me. And don’t get me wrong – I’m not at all for the idea of using the phrase, ‘I’m only human’, as an excuse for not making an effort. I believe that most ‘humans’ can do a lot better, but there are no one-man shows when it comes to motherhood (or church for that matter). We’re supposed to help ánd be willing to receive help. If you find the latter hard, you probably have some pride issues to deal with and to lay down. More importantly, you’re probably missing out. Moms are awesome.
Lastly, I needed to make peace with my shortcomings. I needed to accept that there were some phases of my child’s life where I simply wasn’t going to thrive. Unfortunately, for me, that’s the baby phase – the ‘level one’ of motherhood! I simply don’t enjoy it or find it fulfilling. That doesn’t mean I don’t love my child, a
nd it also doesn’t free me from the responsibility as a mother during this phase. It simply means that it’s going to take a little more effort for a season and that it’s okay to ask for help.
A little over a year later, Noa is in daycare and he loves it, by the way. He is a total extrovert. We have someone that helps us to clean the house once a week and I’m able to give my business some much-needed attention. It’s nothing like I thought it would be, and I definitely don’t have it all together… but, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
About the author:
Nanette grew up in Cape Town and matriculated in 2004. She chose the unconventional gap-year route at a Christian performing arts ministry, and one year turned into eight. In September 2012 she embarked on her first business venture and founded the video production company, Handmade Media. Nanette now leads and manages a team of professionals (her professional family) while she serves her own family as a wife and mother.