What I wish someone had told me before I had children

Becoming a parent is often described as an emotional tidal wave. But how true is that?

Maybe if we weren’t harped on for centuries that “Having children is only happiness” and other really simplistic ready-made phrases and naive, I wouldn’t be there.

Perhaps if the parents that I was able to meet in my life had told me the truth and that they had not wanted to make me believe in myth of the perfect mothersometimes despite them, I would feel less guilty when I’m not screwed to dose a bottle with one hand while running a machine with the other.

The myth of the perfect mother who hurts a lot

Since I became a mother (of two children), I realize that there are really things for which I was not prepared. Although I have worked my subject during pregnancy by eating lots of books, I’m asking advice (and have also received without asking the way), I didn’t know what awaited me before having a first 3.7kg roast in your arms.

Can I blame anyone? Yes and no. If I can blame those who continue to spread this ridiculous myth of the exemplary mother, I can also quite accuse this kind of involuntary amnesia, which pushes all those who have already given birth to forget the worst moments of their motherhood, or to select selected passages. Is this a way to perpetuate the species ? Maybe, but hey, it’s not as if there weren’t enough of us on Earth, no need at all costs to have a reproduction medal either.

So yes, I knew I was going to sleep less, I knew I wouldn’t sleep in anymore, I knew it cost money, etc.

But there really are things I wish I had known before become the LIFETIME guardian of children. Concrete things, but not only, and maybe the knowledge would have helped me to say to myself that ok, what i feel is normalit’s just that these are things that are obviously not said.

It’s hard to love that much

Regardless of that love for her baby arrives when he is in the womb, when he comes out, a week later, 3 months, 6 months or sometimes even years later, he is there. This love is so exhausting it is demanding, exhausting and without the possibility of taking a break.

It consumes, it can drive you mad, it can hurt, but it can also bring absolutely indescribable and indecent happiness, which ranges from the pride of seeing your baby eating mashed carrot to the fear that something will happen to the fruit of its entrails, and that the cock of love suddenly stops.

Loving your child is not just loving the company of another human being. It’s visceral, intrinsic and brutal. It’s as pure as the love it gives you back, and it’s unconditional.

Even when my children bore me, force-feed me, even when they are boring, painful, grumpy, even when I want to be everywhere except in their companyeven when I say to myself, sometimes under the influence of anger, that I hate them, I love them so much that it is almost painful.

It’s hard to worry so much, all the time

With love comes fear. The fear of losing them, the fear that they will be kidnapped, the fear that they will be sick, the fear that they will die. I don’t think you know, until you have kids, how much you can be afraid of the death of someone other than yourself. But maybe I’m wrong, maybe those who don’t have children know what feeling I’m talking about.

It is not a fear which is reasoned and controlled, it is such overwhelming fear that she can sometimes behave in absolutely unreasonable ways.

This constant hypervigilance is exhausting, and it never seems to end. For example, when my daughter is sick, really badly sick, it’s as if I were sick with her. I am unable to eat, sleep, think. I constantly think about her condition, I watch her like milk on fire, I interpret each of her reactions, celebrate the slightest positive evolution of her disease as if she had just won a Pulitzer.

It’s exhausting. I could pay dearly, very dearly, to be sick in her place, so that she would not have to pass this ordeal, and that she would know no suffering. Even though I know that she unfortunately has to go through it like everyone else, I sometimes find myself beg to be sparedthat they leave her in good health, and that they attack someone other than her, or above all, that they attack me instead.

It’s hard not to be the first choice in your own life anymore

In your life, you can meet people, hang out with them, love them, and say to yourself “we could give everything for them”. It’s true, it can happen. Or not eh, everyone does what they want with their relationships with others.

The problem, when you have kids, is that it’s true, to the power of 1,000. Even if you fight against maternal injunctionseven if we want to banish forever the weighty and false myth of the sacrificial mother, we know that if something serious happens and a choice must be made so that either my children or I survive, I would always put myself in front of them so that they would be spared.

I’m a feminist, committed, I’m attempting to exonerate as I can, mothers that I know or that I write, I know my life is a second choice. If one day there is a war and that the food runs out, they are the ones who will eat first, that’s obvious.

And it’s hard. It’s hard because I have the impression that I no longer exist entirely since I became a mother, and that I divided myself into two other people: my children. Me, all alone, it doesn’t really exist anymore. Me, without being a mom, it won’t happen again.

So yes, I have “moments” without children in the everyday, holidays, weekends, days, hours, or I’m the only one from where I exist for myself. But these moments are only short breaks.

Sometimes I can regret having children. When I’m tired, when they jump on me just the door of the house open and they overwhelm me without even giving me time to catch my breath, I’m tired. When they scream, when they demand, when they forget that I’m human too, I want to dump everything.

My life lately, allegory. Credits: Prostock-studio

However, I love them so much that it is sometimes painful. Is this the ambivalence of motherhood? Couldn’t I have been briefed before I plunged into it?

Of course, not everyone has to feel all of this. This reflection is personal, but it can speak to others. Me, I would have liked to be told all that, before having children. Not sure it would have made any difference, but at least I couldn’t have said I didn’t know.

Read also :

5 reasons not to have children, from someone who has (2 times)

Photo credit image of one: fizkes

We want to say thanks to the author of this write-up for this outstanding material

What I wish someone had told me before I had children