Monday, July 07, 2008

Natural mother?

So another week begins when M goes back to work and I am left alone with the baby. On the surface of it, things look appealing: she feeds, she cries, she sleeps; I catch up on chores, I surf the net, I read, I generally potter. But those are the very things that become boring when they are all you can do. No one warned me how monotonous life can be looking after a newborn. Dare I say that it is mind numbing? I am used to a life of constant mental stimulation, of physical freedom, of variety, and this is the opposite of what I am used to.

Yesterday something wonderful happened: we got a first glimpse of a smile. Not a full on smile as such, but a softening of her features, the spreading of her mouth, a glint in her eye and that first look of happiness and recognition at seeing us. I wonder if it gets better - that when she starts being able to express her emotions more, becomes more interactive and able to play without crying, that I won't see motherhood as tedious anymore? That motherhood will become natural to me? That I will finally have that elusive maternal instinct? That I will stop thinking on an hourly basis that I want to pay for a nanny?

It took me a long time to summon the nerve to write this post, as admitting that motherhood can be tedious is not something people like to hear. But I want this blog to be honest and record the lows as well as the highs of life with Little Planet.


leslee said...

I've not had children, but I've heard that a lot of child-rearing, especially when they're babies or toddlers, involves a great deal of drudgery and tedium. Many women feel better going back to work than they thought they would!

leslee said...

Here you go:

See, you're not alone.

Planethalder said...

Thanks for the link Leslee. And here's another interesting article.

Olivia said...

I don't know anything about these things, but it's inescapable that childbirth to a modern woman is a larger change than we can imagine. We grow up thinking a woman can do anything a man can, developing these great careers, and no matter how much we want children, the change is somewhat traumatic to that mindset.

You'll manage - as you say yourself, you're totally in love with your daughter, and we all know love conquers all. :)

Anonymous said...

Oh honey, ofcourse it gets better.

I could give you that old chestnut that... over time it will get more challenging as she grows blah blah.

However the honest truth of the matter is that you will just get used to and come to terms with the fact that your primary role is mothering and that it is pretty much the "same-same" ball of wax everyday.

The big picture will seem static, with more or less the same percentage of baby drama, poop, tantrums, and burping and feeding.

Aha, but then by and by, you will begin to appreciate the differences and joy and significance of different types of poops/smiles/cries/acquired skills. Yes, you will become a conoisseur of suchlike and will be self congratulatory about it all!!!

Things will change in very infinitismal amounts but those will be significant changes. never mind that the overall picture seems the same tedious routine.

I fully understand how you feel right now, and commiserate. I felt underutilised, sad and just plain lost my sense of professional purpose for a while when I fist stayed home after childbirth. The worst was going to a cocktail party and being completely unable to honestly (and with any sense of pride)answer the question ... so what do you do? "Stay home with my baby", seemed to just underline my sense of inadquecy as a professional with big dreams. Today when I am trying to juggle kids, husband, work and a social life, I appreciate the time I had with my babies with nothing else to do but contemplate thier and my belly buttons and different types of poop. It seems like a precious time in retrospect and one that is "oh so nessecary" to my evolution as a mother,caregiver and human being.

Now I must fly and get myself to a boring and combative conference call with people I have no desire to meet, and figure out when I can sneak off and take my son to his swim lesson!

Another Kiran in NYC

Planethalder said...

Thank you for reminding me I need to put it all in perspective. Right now anything beyond a week from now feels an eternity away! (Kiran, that was an awesome comment, thanks!).

Bombay Beauty said...

It is worth remembering that you're in a lull now until until baby ph beings to start crawling, walking, talking... At the point, it's not boredom but a lack of energy and time that people usually feel!

But every phase has its joys but also difficulties.

I visited my goddaughter recently (some other time on how a non-Catholic has a goddaughter). And she's now at the phase where she does sleepovers with friends and where people her own age are so much fun than old fogy like me. Would love to turn back the clock a few years when she thought I was the world and wouldn't even go to sleep unless I had wished her good night...

So don't worry -- things will roll along -- sometimes in retrospect periods will look more idyllic than they were, sometimes less.