Motherhood, as lovely and wonderful as it is, starts out pretty rough. Birth is messy, painful, even potentially life-threatening.
But, all that suffering prepares you for the suffering that is to come, which is to say, dealing with some extremely stressful and gnarly situations.
- getting vomited on
- screamed at in public
- cleaning up poo with your shirt because that's your only option (no one else? Really no-one else?)
- never getting more than three hours of sleep in one go, etc.
Being a mother means you have experienced or at least know someone who has experienced one of those periods when everything was just miserable...
- Everyone was sick for weeks on end and you had to cancel plan after plan after plan!
- your child had an accident that required a trip to the ER
- or maybe someone got so sick they had to be hospitalized!
- When you hear your mommy friends recount their war stories, the response is usually, "OMG, how did you survive?!" while we secretly thank our lucky stars it wasn't us.
But the truth is that going through it may be tough, but usually we can handle it. Right? We complain and it may feel like hell, but we get through it and then it's over. Because it has to be.
We can handle it and do it because we have to. Period. Mommy power!
This too shall pass. It may pass like a kidney stone, but it will definitely pass.
Some of the excruciatingly difficult times in my own experience of motherhood were:
- when my daughter had to have a cyst from her eyebrow removed at 9 months. She was my first child, I was a super-over-achieving-uptight mommy and had to stay with her in the hospital overnight after the operation. At the time, it was such an ordeal. But looking back, that night in the hospital was probably better sleep than I get now, with 3 kids aged 5 and under.
- when my (then still only) daughter had rotovirus and had to be hospitalized. And now I can't even remember how many days we had to stay in the hospital. Two or three, and we were released Easter Monday, as I recall. And then my husband and I both got it, which was not pleasant by any means but not dangerous for us, unlike our infant daughter who'd been kept in hospital because of the risk of dehydration.
- this last Christmas, when my three kids and I all had hand-foot-mouth disease. Everyone has slightly different symptoms (scabby rash, red blisters, dry, patchy skin) but we were all covered in some sort of unsightly skin condition that lasted about a month. I gave my older daughter the nickname "Patient Zero" at that time, because she had brought it home from preschool. Three-month-old baby boy was called "Spot" because he was nothing but red spots from head to toe. And middle child, daughter #2 was nicknamed "The Last Domino" because we thought she had mysteriously and miraculously dodged the HFMD bullet until the very last second. I had it too, and for me, it even meant that I lost some partial fingernails. Which sounds like the worst thing imaginable, doesn't it? But I couldn't even tell you which fingernails it was, because it all healed and left not a trace.
- my now one-year-old son just broke his arm, and I didn't even know they put casts on babies. But they do. It took three people to hold him down, but they did it. And now he doesn't seem to care at all, he's not in pain, he is the same as before, just maybe a bit clumsier. And if he whacks me in the face with his cast I might lose a tooth, but otherwise he's okay. He fell off his sister's bed, which I learned he can climb onto, now. And it sounds awful, I even cringed at the thought of a baby with a cast on his arm. But it's really not so bad. We're getting through it and I know the baby won't remember this.
Motherhood is a learning curve. You make mistakes, you learn from them. You go through hell, you get over it. And when it's all over, you don't even remember what was so awful. Because at the end of the day, being a mother is the best thing in the world. It's enough to even make you forget how much it hurt when you became a mother!