Much like any situation, you can’t truly grasp how one would feel, unless you have been there. Going on maternity leave for the first time is no different…
You look forward to the end of work (seriously, how mundane is it? Adult conversations, company…but at the time, you can’t wait to be on ‘holidays’). You bring the baby home from the hospital and you are overjoyed. You can’t wait for all of your friends and family to meet this perfect little human that you, YOU and your partner created. You live in this blissful bubble for a while and think that once you settle in, you will get to that ‘to do’ list that you plan to complete whilst on maternity leave. The bubble bursts, usually in perfect timing with a baby crying…reality hits.
You are now working for a tiny human that likes to keep you on your toes. You are paid with cuddles and after a few weeks, some smiles. Your job is 24/7 and you are totally thrown into the role. Minimal to no training. Your partner goes back to work (a job that they are totally familiar with) and you are left, alone. Alone with your boss who likes to keep you on your toes…
I remember this oh so clearly. I was so unsure of how I was going to go. My job is to keep this tiny human alive? This is entirely on my shoulders for the next 9 hours? Fuck. I can’t even keep a bloody plant alive. The fear is real.
I remember the long nights, looking out the window at my surrounding neighbours, their lights out, soundly sleeping – feeling like I am the only person awake right now, oh and Amaya. On one of these long nights, loneliness snuck in. He perched himself up in the corner of the room and I was not sure how long he was going to stay. He followed me around the house, he made himself scarce when my friends and family visited, but he was quick to show his face when they left. As much as I was surrounded by people (supportive, positive, helpful people), my entire life revolved around this little person.
It was a lonely world.
As much as Amaya was new in Teina’s life too, he got to go to work and carry on his life as per usual. Don’t get me wrong, I love spending my days with my girl and can’t imagine not being with her all the time, now. But that first month was hard. Two of my friends had babies at the same time, that helped a lot as we could share our struggles and funny stories over copious amounts of coffee. But it didn’t keep loneliness away. He just came out as soon as they left. He especially liked to torment me at 2am.
I eventually found my feet as a mother, Amaya started sleeping more and I adapted to my new life. I kicked loneliness out & attempted promoting myself to boss. With the help of Teina we got Amaya into a flexible routine (which I have let slip a few times, but Teina was there to help me implement the routine again).
Becoming a new Mum is a lot of things – lonely is one of them and boy was I glad to see the back of him. Being a Mum is the toughest thing I have ever done. It’s exhausting and it’s emotional. But there is something about the way she smiles at me that makes it all oh so worth it…
P.S. Good on you if you got that ‘to do’ list done! I have been meaning to clean out her drawers for weeks, but I place coffee dates as a priority as it helps keep me sane!