Before I ever became a parent and, at times, before I had an inkling that I might like to be a mom, I worked (and still technically do while on mat leave) in the field of early childhood education. To it I brought a bachelors of ECE and, prior to giving birth, racked up about four and half years of experience in the field — both with ITs (infant/toddlers) and TFs (three to fives). During the entirety of my pregnancy I was employed knee deep in the trenches of toddlerhood, and I believed that I’d be bringing to motherhood a cornucopia of knowledge and experience. Others in my life continually reinforced this thought of mine. With all of this on my resume, how could I not?!
Too bad I had absolutely NO FREAKIN’ IDEA what to do with said knowledge and experience. Upon O’s birth, I was blindsided. My education, something my sweet husband anxiously worried would set me far ahead of him parenting wise, it felt like it meant nothing. My employment, and the fact that I had previously been working all day long with ITs, it was laughable and hardly the real thing — I got to send them home at the end of the day! My passions that I brought to the field of ECE, and the beliefs I garnered throughout it of children and childhood, it fell to shambles in the midst of a postpartum depression that could no longer even tell who I was when I looked in the mirror.
This should hopefully be news to no one, but nothing, and I mean NOTHING, can prepare you for being a first time mom. Anybody or anything that tries to tell you differently is lying. All that I brought to it (which I felt was a lot!) and the preconceived notions I had of it being otherwise, they were broken. Broken as in picked up, shattered to the ground, stomped all over, set on fire and then blown into the abyss. It was a delusional, humbling and hot mess of confusion for a good while there.
Now that I’ve survived the first four months of O’s life and know what it is to sleep again, I am thankfully beginning to see where my education, employment and passions can start being applied (more on that later). I am able to finally dig into those reservoirs and have them be useful, when before it felt as if they would drown me. I am excited for what awaits in that regard (also more on that later!). Most importantly and with relief, I have now added to that repertoire what I didn’t realize I lacked before. The grounded experience of REALITY.
Precious, brutal, beautiful and exhausting reality.