It’s ironic, isn’t it, that we want to have children because we want to fill our lives with love, companionship, laughter, and happiness. And yes of course that’s what we get when the babies arrive. We have that a hundred times over. But no one ever really warned me about the loneliness that accompanies it.
Maybe it doesn’t really factor in the lives of moms who work because they see adults during the day and get to speak with quite a few of them about things other than nappy changes, grocery lists, and what the baby did or didn’t eat for lunch. But I’ve found this to be my biggest struggle as a mom. It’s not the sleepless nights (though that’s definitely in the running), the demanding babies, and the battle to make them eat. It’s doing this motherhood business alone.
Don’t get me wrong. My husband is a wonderful, hands-on father. If he weren’t, I would have given up or left him years ago! But seriously, even with all his help, with how he gives me attention when I need it, and with him taking the baby when I need to work or just lie down, it isn’t the same. Yes we are both parents, but I am the only mama.
Mama is who the kids need when they’re hurt, mama is who the kids want when they’re sleepy, mama is the one who breastfeeds, mama, mama, mama. Eventually, it won’t be like this anymore. My girls will want other people to fill the need that right now, only mama can fill. But that doesn’t help me. It doesn’t help me to know that I should treasure this time, that I should treasure these fleeting moments. In fact, it makes it worse. It makes me feel ungrateful, petty, and undeserving of being a mother. And it makes the loneliness even more unbearable.
I have mommy friends (the best ones, in fact), and they do understand, they do get me – but you know what? They’re moms too. And their children also need them. So even if I do lean on them for support (and they lean on me), the little ones will always take us away eventually — sooner rather than later.
A good friend who has already lived through this tells me I desperately need two things: Me Time and Meditation. I have no idea how to do either. Don’t get me wrong, I want to do both. I’ve been wanting to meditate since last year, I’ve been needing Me Time for even longer. But I also wonder, am I struggling so much because of the expectations I put on myself? My kids will need me, that’s just how it is. I must accept that. I need adult company. I must accept that too. And a lot of the time, I might not get it because people are busy. This, I must accept as well.
So how am I to deal? How am I to address this loneliness? Am I to name it and that’s how I will tame it? Am I to tell the world the nature of what ails me in order to grasp it by the collar and shake it till I beat it? Or am I to accept it fully, embrace it, use it, write about it, make it my own, and take it into my soul? Because it is part of who I have chosen to be. It is part of being this kind of mother. And though I may doubt myself, question my sanity, and have a death-like grip on my phone hoping to find some form of distraction, this is my reality. This is my life. And resistance is futile. So I will name it, tame it, accept it, and embrace it. Because there’s no other way. Besides, it won’t stay this way forever. As in all things, there is light at the end of this tunnel. And I am making my way through, one day at a time.