This is going to be hard.
It is going to be amazing, fulfilling and expand your heart in ways you didn’t know possible. It is going to be a celebration of the wondrous ability of a woman’s body. It is going to give you strength like none other and it is going to be the greatest accomplishment of your life.
Despite all of those things and even though you have been told, there are some days when it is going to be just plain hard.
It is going to be hard on the days when you feel utterly alone. You will never be physically alone but in the constant tie to another human there are times when you will feel trapped and by yourself. You will mourn your freedom and the days when you were only accountable to yourself and then feel badly for allowing yourself that grief.
It is going to be hard on the days when you look in the mirror and you don’t recognize your body. It may have conquered incredible feats but you may look at that reflection and not feel at home in your own skin. You are going to be angry at all of the hard work seemingly lost and be frustrated by the prospect of climbing that long, steep mountain all over again.
It is going to be hard on the days when it physically hurts. You might feel betrayed by your lack of strength or the searing pain you feel in your back and shoulders when all you are trying to do is hold your baby. You are going to lie awake in discomfort after your babe finally drifts off then you will put yourself on the back burner because so many other things demand your time and energy first.
It is going to be hard when the exhaustion sets in. Not fatigue but the bone deep exhaustion that makes it hard to put your feet on the floor despite the screams and cries that can only be eased by you. You are going to drift off at times that require attention then scare yourself awake. You are going to start to feel anxious when the sun sets because you know you haven’t caught up and you have to do it all over again.
It is going to be hard when you start to feel guilt for a million different things. You might feel it when you try to uphold the example of a working mom and then stare at your baby and wish you were holding him more. You will feel it when you older child lashes out and secretly blame yourself. You will feel it when you look at the mess in your home and the lack of composure in yourself. You will feel it when it is easier to collapse onto the couch rather that hold a conversation with your spouse.
It is going to be hard when your brain plays tricks on you. You will curse your inability to shine as the witty, sharp and focused person you thought yourself to be. You will forget appointments and meetings, important ones, and will hate apologizing for your brain as if it were an excuse. You will inevitably find yourself in a grocery store with no idea why you came only to get home and realize you needed diapers but then can’t find your keys to try it all again.
It is going to be hard when you cry for no reason other than your hormones have taken you hostage. You may be happy and fulfilled but cry regardless because in some ways your body is still not your own. It might be brought on by a kind smile, something said out of context or by the sound of rain against the window. You will feel naked and vulnerable in front of people and in places you never wanted to show weakness and then cry a little more.
It is going to be hard on the days you lose your confidence and wonder for a brief moment if you were cut out for this job.
There are days when it is going to be hard, really, really hard …… and that is ok. This is motherhood and only you were meant to bring these spectacular little humans into the world.
You’ve got this Mama.
Melanie Stevens Sutherland
Clinic Director / Registered Manipulative Physiotherapist HonsBKin, MSc(PT), FCAMT
Melanie is a graduate of McMaster University and brings 13 years of experience as a sport physiotherapist to RPM. She has enjoyed a long tenure working with active populations at prestigious sport medicine clinics. Past clients include Provincial, National and Olympic level athletes as well as members of the National Football League, the Canadian Football League, the Ontario Hockey League, the American Hockey League, the National Lacrosse League and Major League Soccer. She has also worked extensively with elite level endurance athletes. She enjoys treating all patients with orthopaedic concerns and is passionate about preventing injury and illness through healthy lifestyle. As a Mom, she enjoys working with pre- and post-natal women to manage pain associated with pregnancy by helping restore their core strength and get back to feeling confident in their bodies again.