I believe you will agree with me when I say that a woman doesn’t know what maternity is about until she becomes a mother herself. Often I see pregnant women around me during their first year after their baby is born planning or trying for the second child etc. I wasn’t any different, of course. “What can surprise me now? I know I will not sleep, that it will be hard, that the baby will always cry, but I will handle it and one day it will pass”, you think.
However, in reality, each of us is surprised by their own reactions and feelings. Suddenly you find that it’s not only about sleeping deprivation and changing nappies, but especially about the inner battle between love and madness.
Perhaps every mother who has been through depression at least for a certain period of time has a feeling that they have had to hide it from others. I was not an exception. I often ask myself why and still come to the conclusion that it was simply a subconscious reflex of my mind. I had the impression that something was wrong with me and that people would judge me for my feelings.
Somewhere deep inside I even feared that they could take my children away from me. Which, by the way, is an interesting paradox. On the one hand, I was depressed by the existence of my children, but the idea of taking them from me made me feel even worse … Maternal instinct is (fortunately) an extremely powerful and perhaps affects us more than we can imagine.
They say that the first and third trimesters are the most difficult. I am talking about the difficulties of the first trimester in the post First Trimester. As for the third trimester, yes, it is difficult. Although in a completely different way than the first. My third and last trimester was definitely the longest, although it lasted less than two months. Let’s take it from the beginning.
I’m sure you’ll agree with me that being a mother can be pretty hard sometimes. It doesn’t really matter if you have one child, twins or five children. Each one of us has days when we feel on the edge.
Like probably every future mother, I was also conscientiously preparing for the arrival of my children. I read a lot, I asked, I listened … However, when they came into this world, I felt like I didn’t know anything at all.
Theoretically, I was armed, but practically completely disarmed. Yes, I knew I wanted to breastfeed, but I didn’t know how hard it would be to learn it. I knew I’d need to avoid stress, but I didn’t know that under the circumstances it would be as simple as avoiding breathing. I knew I was going to have a deficiency of sleep, but I didn’t know the mental impact it would have on me. These all are things no one gets you ready for. The more likely it is then for them to take us by surprise later and often also take control of us.
In the second trimester, I started to sense a connection with other mums. It was as if I had entered another parallel world that is accessible and understandable exclusively by mothers. And I hadn’t left it since. Never before had I been given an option to take a look into this world, therefore it was as if a gate to a different galaxy opened in front of me. Previously, when my eyes met another mum’s eyes, I didn’t feel anything special. Maybe just the realisation of how different lives we had lived. However, when my eyes meet another mum’s eyes now, I sense a strong connection and an exchange of a secret signal, that says: “We know… :)”. We know we both belong to that mysterious club.
I’ll never forget the moment when I was looking at my few days old children and tears were falling down my face. However, it wasn’t the tears of joy, it was the tears of regret. Regret that we’d wanted to have them and regret about my future.
It was a couple of days after Yaw and I had moved into the hospital. Nurses recommended this step as I’d wanted to breastfeed. During one week all four of us lived in a hospital room the size of a shoe box. I am always grateful that we had this option but it wasn’t easy to live like that. In a real-time it wasn’t a long period of time, but for me, it was the longest week of my life. And one of the hardest ones.
As a mum of twins, I am daily confronted with different reactions of people, especially women. On the street, in a shop, in different groups, on the walk… However, in my case, not everyone recognise they are twins.
Although their faces are similar, the big difference especially with their hair and size. My answer to people’s question of how old they are is usually followed by the next question: “And the other one?” When I tell them ‘they’re twins!’ they usually open their mouths and stare as if I’d told them they’re mutants. It even happened twice that a lady on the street asked me: “But they are not both yours, are they?”
It is definitely more pleasant when someone asks: “Are they twins?” Even with such a formulated question, you can still feel the uncertainty, but compared to previous examples, there is at least a glimpse of hope someone sees them as twins. And both as mine!
I can’t count how many times before picturing the moment when two lines appear on the pregnancy test … I was expecting it to be the most joyful moment in my life. However, the reality…?
I am not saying that moment was not joyful, even with the suspicion and the fact that it was not an “accident”, it was still a huge shock (in a positive way). For a few minutes, I was just looking at the two lines without belief. My head was spinning, my hands were shaking and I literally didn’t know what to think and feel. How big the difference compared to the imagination! Almost immediately I sensed a new sweet-bitter feeling and started to realise that my previous life was “over” (that, for instance, had never occurred in the imagination). How can one feel in a second they know their life will change forever? It is both emotional and physical shock. For a moment I just breathed deeply and waited for what was going to happen. After the initial shock, I felt a glimpse of joy which quickly switched to panic and for a while, all this was stirring inside of me like in the palms of the skilled baker.
I met Yaw when I was going through one of the most difficult times of my life. My first marriage had been falling apart and I had been on the verge of a mental breakdown.
I’d suffered from panic attacks, anxiety, depression… Who has experienced it, knows how hard it is to get up every morning and force yourself to live a life that is more or less normal and in absolute conflict with everything you feel within yourself.
Yaw and I had seen each other more or less sporadically, most of the time within some social event. At that time it wouldn’t ever come to my mind that he’d be the future father of my children. Not just because of what I was going through at that time, but although I always found Yaw a great man, I’d never thought of him in ‘that’ way. Until that day which started like any other day but in the end turned my life by 180 degrees. It happened when I was a couple of months after the divorce and it was totally unexpected, but it instantly clicked in the right places and I understood very soon that he was the One.