The other day I took LM for a walk around a lake near our house. It was just about a perfect fall day, warm and breezy with the sun sparkling off the water. I had one of those surreal moments when I asked myself, “Is this really my life?” For so many years I wasn’t sure if I would ever be a mom, and now here I was, not only a mom but a mom who is able to stay home with her son and walk him around a perfect lake on a perfect fall day.
Across from the lake is a cemetery, and as I walked by a funeral procession drove in. When I passed around a second time, the mourners were gathered around the coffin, and I wondered if it was somehow a bad omen to see such a sight on this otherwise perfect day. I wondered who the dead person was. Maybe, I reasoned, this is one of those “happy funerals” in which the person is old and has lived a long and fulfilled life, and his funeral becomes sort of a family reunion, and all his relatives end up talking and laughing and it’s actually nice to see everyone again. Maybe this funeral wasn’t a bad omen at all, but a reminder that life goes on, or that there’s a circle of life, or something kind of corny like that. But corny or not, it’s true. And now that I am a mother, I’ve feel like I am a part of it.
Ever since I had LM, these surreal moments, which I’m not sure I would have if I hadn’t had trouble getting pregnant, because then this would just seem to be a normal part of life – you have a baby and then you walk him around a park – creep up on me, and I’m filled with a sense of peace and wonder at the simple things in life, like sun sparkling off water on a perfect fall day.
Hi moms, dads, moms-to-be, moms-who-want-to-be-but-are-having-trouble, and all other versions of parents out there:
Thanks for checking out my blog! I started Foggy Mommy because as I entered the world of parenthood after a six-year struggle with infertility and pregnancy loss (more on that later), I felt like I was living life in a baby bubble. (Incidentally, “Baby Bubble” was the original name I was thinking of for this blog, but when I googled it I got results for baby bath products, so that was out!)
I have been in this baby fog since I had my son a year ago – mainly from sleep deprivation, but also because I’ve gotten so swept up in the day-to-day needs of caring for a child that I can’t focus on anything else. I admit I have no idea what’s going on in the rest of the world. Previously, I was an entertainment writer and editor before unexpectedly getting laid-off and becoming a stay-at-home mom – but now I couldn’t tell you what new shows are coming out, what celebrities are pregnant or what pop songs are on the radio.
But as much as I am happy to be so baby-focused, it contributed to my feeling very isolated. I met other moms in a support group, but we all seemed to be together in being alone, completely unprepared for parenthood, scared, exhausted, and generally at our wit’s end. OK, I get that you can never really be prepared for parenthood. But I realized there are so many things no one talks about when it comes to getting pregnant, being pregnant, giving birth and raising children, even in this day and age of a million mommy blogs. In our support group, the social worker gave us a little mantra: “Telling the truth about motherhood is a revolutionary act.” I found that to be very true. You always think the other mom has it all together, when really she is thinking the same thing about you. We all feel like we’re not good enough.
No one tells you that you might have trouble conceiving. No one talks about it when you have a miscarriage or stillbirth. Giving birth is still too often a battle of women vs. their doctor or hospital. No one tells you that breastfeeding will be hard, or gives you the tools for dealing with it. Most women are completely unprepared for nursing challenges, which leads to much guilt and shame when they give up.
Well, I want to talk about all that. I’ve been through a lot, but I’ve made it so far. And I don’t say that to brag – I don’t ever want to be the mom who makes other moms feel bad – but I do think we can and should have pride in our accomplishments. I want to be honest about the challenges I faced, to start a dialogue about the issues that aren’t discussed, in the hopes that it might help others.
That all sounds very serious! As we know, parenthood, and the road to parenthood, can often be downright hilarious. And sometimes, we have moments that just feel utterly sublime – another contributor to my baby fog has been the surreal sense of peace and happiness I found after so many years of struggling. I want to celebrate all of those moments as well.
OK moms (and dads), what challenges have you faced that you’d like to talk about? I want to hear from you.