Maybe I do. At times when I am up in the middle of the night, rocking my daughter to sleep until my arms (and eyeballs) fall off. Or at times when she screams in agony for no rhyme or reason, seemingly inconsolable and incredibly unhinging.
But, there is a rainbow after the storm, a light at the end of the darkest and frightfully long tunnel. I am always, eventually, comforted by the fact that my daughter wants to fall asleep in my arms before she decides to grow up and be all independent, and that she calms down and flashes the sweetest of smiles at me, just as I reckon the crying will never stop.
I used to be a child who didn’t know better, a woman who lost and found love, a scientist who relentlessly pursued the truth and the anti-truth, and then a researcher who stood up in board meetings telling people in suits what they should and shouldn’t do to make millions in the next quarter. In all these roles, there were a fair number of highs and lows.
Today, I am a new mother. I have only been so for slightly more than two months and whilst I don’t proclaim to be a know-it-all, motherhood is by far, the most challenging and rewarding role I have taken on.
The euphoria of finally meeting my daughter on her birthday quickly gave way to the blues. The broken sleep, the hours spent figuring the ways of breastfeeding, keeping at it despite the difficulties and the naysayers who kept pushing for formula for their convenience, the torrent of unsolicited advice unleashed with people’s mistaken rights of authority with MY child, the sudden absence of communication with my husband just because we were so darn tired, all these did NOTHING for my soul and I dare say, zilch for many women who thought they were 100% ready to be mothers. I felt depressed, angry, frustrated, ugly and most of all guilty for feeling all of that; after all, I did want a baby, didn’t I? And all these mothers, whom I know personally and whom I follow on social media, they seem to adore their babies and embrace motherhood unconditionally, don’t they? So, what is this that I am feeling? Do I not love my daughter? Am I fit to be a mother? These doubts gnawed at me and would have spat me out in disgust if not for prayers with the husband and my mother, and wise words from my wiser mummy friends (Y, P, F, QY and the wonderful ladies from this incredible online mothers’ group that I have had the privilege of joining).
Through them, I realised that I wasn’t the only one who was feeling gravely deflated. I realised that most mothers, if not all, sifted through that same pile of crap. I realised that not all mothers are forthcoming about the challenges because they fear being judged. I realised that people tend to gloss over the difficulties and focus on broadcasting the positive because that helps them cope…and come on, we all know that the audience isn’t always ready for social media diarrhoea on baby-cuteness (hell, I BET I’ve been struck off the news feeds of many friends after terrorising them with photos and videos of my daughter), let alone unrestricted whining on poop, vomit, crying and lack of sleep. My giving, non-judgmental and supportive friends let me in on the good, the bad and the ugly that motherhood brings; because of them, I am now brave enough to tell the world this… That the first month of motherhood was HELL. That it was the toughest shit I’ve ever done. That it was crippling. And somehow, I made it out in one piece.
Caring for my daughter still drives me batshit crazy sometimes, but my 24/7 spent with her has evolved to include more than a few redeeming moments that make me fall in love with her over and over again. I’ve grown to know a little more about her. Somehow, through the fussing, the tears she shed, the slitty-eyed toothless grins, the piercing screams, the know-it-all look on her potato face and countless sleepless nights, I have come to learn about her quirks, her idiosyncrasies, her penchant for certain things…her personality.
And that is the most amazing thing, to look on in wonder as my baby girl grows up to be more than the lump she was yesterday. To be the child who doesn’t know better. The woman who finds love one day. The woman who loves her vocation. The woman who becomes a mother. And hopefully, the woman who realises that she will always be her mummy’s little girl, no matter how old she is.
I wouldn’t have known my daughter this intimately if I took the easy way out of motherhood.
So….no, I don’t wish for my baby to come with a remote control. Perhaps, only for a few seconds (OKAY OKAY, MINUTES), when I cave into negativity and desperation, but I know that if I hung on a little longer and walked a little further with my little girl, the rainbow is just one mother’s love away.