For the longest time I yearned to be a mother. I imagined pregnancy. Having a bump. Feeling life grow inside me. Holding a baby. I imagined me doing those things.
But there was more I imagined.
Images of motherhood…
I imagined the warm hug of a mother.
I imagined baking with mum.
I pictured going on shopping trips.
Walks to the park.
Tucked up in bed.
Comfort. Warmth. Safety.
When I was hit with PND I felt cold and scared. I felt a vast distance between me, my daughter and everyone around me. I couldn’t understand why I had chosen this path as none of it seemed to ring true. It wasn’t how I imagined. It didn’t feel right. I didn’t feel right. The warmth I had imagined wasn’t there. I was tired. Confused. Fraught with worry. I kept waiting. Maybe it would come with time. Maybe when I wasn’t so tired? As milestones passed I felt more useless as a mother. More empty. None of this was how I imagined it would be.
Then something happened. I can’t actually remember what. It wasn’t significant what happened. It’s what it made me realise.
For some reason, I was upset and needed my mum. My mum hugged me and I felt warm and safe. I felt comforted. Then I realised what was wrong with everything I pictured. I was looking at it from the wrong point of view. I had imagined motherhood through a child’s eyes. Through my own eyes. The feelings I had associated with motherhood were those I felt when I think of my mum. Security. Safety. Protection. My idea of motherhood was not motherhood, but childhood.
I needed to change my perspective. I needed to see from the other side. So I went back to the things I had pictured.
When I picture the warm hug of a mother, I imagine myself cradling my child and enveloping her with my love.
When I imagine baking, I see myself as the teacher and cherish each time Boo mixes with glee, creates clouds of flour and sugar, and licks the spoon. I enjoy being the one to wash up as she gabbles away next to me knowing she is so happy.
When I go on shopping trips I love guiding Boo round letting her make a choice here and there, while I make sure she has everything she needs.
As we walk to the park, I love holding her hand and chatting about the plants and birds and bugs. I love encouraging her love of nature.
Each night when I tuck her in, I make sure she is so snug and warm. It feels so good to know she feels cosy and warm.
It was a game changer. I realised I was good at motherhood. I wasn’t broken and experiencing it all wrong. I was just looking at the wrong details.
And now I am applying this lesson to how I view me. I’ve changed my perspective about me.
I’ve put on weight because life has been hard. In the past, this has caused me a lot of anxiety. But now what I choose to see is a mum who has done everything to show my husband and daughter love despite finding life hard.
I see someone who tries hard to make others smile.
Someone who is strong.
Someone who is beautiful.
Someone who is loved.
And do you know what, I’ve started to like me a whole lot more. I’ve started to love being me.