Parenting is not an easy task, and anybody who tells you otherwise is not telling you the whole truth. You feel everything in extremes, responsibility for giving birth to life, anger and frustration at your own sense of inadequacy to understand the little one and fear for the well-being of your child as they start their journey to shape up an existence independent of you. This last bit I have realised remains an ongoing struggle for the rest of our lives. I don’t see my mother having any respite from this even as I am alarmingly close to completing four decades of my existence on this planet. As parents, throughout this journey, there are all kinds of adjustments that you make physical, professional and financial. However, the unconditional love that you are able to bestow upon your child and get in return is probably what makes a lot of your inner struggles worthwhile.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • The unconditional love that you are able to bestow upon your child and get in return is what makes a lot of your inner struggles worthwhile.
  • Giving birth gives you strength in a way nothing else can.
  • I learnt to be more patient and be governed by reason than simply get emotional about situations and let them control me.
  • The key lies in not trying to be perfect but in becoming an emotionally balanced mother.

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The emotional turmoil that begins when you see those two red lines on your home pregnancy test kit never leaves your doorstep ever. The sudden surge of emotions that you felt when you touched your baby for the first time, like in my case after an emergency c-section six weeks ahead of schedule, surrounded by half dozen medical professionals, are forever etched in your memory. Giving birth gives you strength in a way nothing else can. It prompts you to put someone else’s well-being over your own for the rest of your life, and the weight of this responsibility feels heavy.

The emotional turmoil that begins when you see those two red lines on your home pregnancy test kit never leaves your doorstep ever.

Even though, as new-age mothers, we make informed choices and like to plan things, parenting remains a wild goose chase. There is no rule book to follow, often what works for one never works for another. You learn on the job and the stakes are high. By embracing parenting, we all set out on this journey to make our kids independent individuals who need not depend on anyone else but themselves. And to see them and us succeed in that task often makes mothers feel a little worthless.

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Parenting is an emotional roll coaster ride but it makes you a more evolved person. I remember holding back tears on several occasions, on umpteen paediatric visits for immunizations, when he was unwell and couldn’t sleep all night, the first day at playschool, the first time he took the school bus and didn’t care to look back. Each of these episodes have made me a more mature person. I learnt to be more patient and be governed by reason than simply get emotional about situations and let them control me. However, every now and then I still come face to face with a challenge for which I find I am underprepared.

Giving birth gives you strength in a way nothing else can. It prompts you to put someone else’s well-being over your own for the rest of your life, and the weight of this responsibility feels heavy.

Recently, we had another first, the four-year-old was invited for a birthday party sans parents, so he was to be dropped off and picked up after the party. Since receiving the invitation there were at least 10 different things that I had envisioned that I could accomplish in those two hours, but, ultimately, I spent those 120 minutes hyperventilating! And later when the feeling passed, I wondered if I was turning into an over-controlling, mother. Why was I not able to be happy that he was beginning to navigate the challenges of becoming independent?

There is no denying that the mental load of motherhood is very heavy.

So, what is the answer to this internal conflict? Why does motherhood make us so emotionally volatile?

There is no denying that the mental load of motherhood is very heavy. Patience and perseverance are key tools that always yield results. I have also come to terms that I can’t be in control of everything in my child’s life, like I learnt years ago that I cannot completely be in control of my own life. Life has a funny way of sneaking up on us when we least expect. Therefore, the challenge for us mothers is to use this volatility of emotions in a positive way. The key lies in not trying to be perfect but in becoming an emotionally balanced mother, stay committed to motherhood, take risks, embrace change and give love without the fear of rejection.

PC: STP

The views expressed are the author’s own.

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