Last week, we held our first circle session of 2020, “Nobody Told Me,” and we had some great conversations about the things that have surprised us about motherhood. Everyone had something different to contribute, though there were a lot of times when someone said something that other women in the group could relate to. This was a really popular session both this time and when we first ran it last year, and I think we’ll probably come back to it again in the future, because it seems that though a lot of people tell you what to expect when you’re expecting, there are many things they choose not to mention.
When I was writing this blog post, I decided to see whether I could come up with a list of the most common things that women felt like they hadn’t been told about motherhood. However, a Google search on the topic brought up nearly 270,000 results. When I told a friend I was writing a post on this theme, she recommended me a book of the same name; I had to ask her which one, because there are several. Clearly, there’s a strong feeling that nobody is telling anyone anything about motherhood, or at least certain aspects of it.
I personally have a list of things I would have liked to have known about motherhood that’s about as long as my arm. I knew that babies don’t sleep, but I didn’t know that this can continue well into toddlerdom (or at least, it has for me). Nobody told me that I’d start crying whenever I encountered a story about something bad happening to babies or children, or how difficult it can be to wrestle a struggling child into a pushchair, or that the difficulty of doing so increases tenfold for every audience member. Nobody told me I’d sometimes feel like the person I was before becoming a mum was gone forever and sometimes feel like I’d never been more myself. Nobody told me that I’d pinball between feeling like I would lie down in front of cars on the road for my son one minute and want to lose him down the bottom of the garden for a couple of hours the next. It’s a constant process of learning. As soon as I get used to something, it changes. I feel like I’ve learnt as much about myself during this process as I have about anything else: how far my temper will stretch, exactly how much sleep I need, how much I appreciate the company of other female friends and family members on this crazy journey.
Maybe it wouldn’t have helped if I had known any of this stuff anyway. Maybe some people did try to tell me and I didn’t listen, or perhaps they didn’t want to scare me or seem like know-it-alls by saying anything. Or maybe they thought it was just them and that I’d have a completely different experience. Now that I’m a mum, I find that all these things are reasons why I hold myself back when talking about certain aspects of motherhood. I’m still working on where exactly to draw the line, but I’m trying to be honest whenever I can.
There may have been things that nobody told you, but you can tell us anything. Come and see us at The Motherkind Café on Fridays at Flo’s Café, Florence Park, from 10:30 am to 11:45 am, have a cup of tea and a biscuit, and we’ll listen to whatever you want to say.