The day I found out I was expecting something inside me changed.
I did not see the change at the time, it was not something I was expecting or had planned, but it was the first step I made away from HIM, one in a million more I would take over the next few years.
It’s hard to explain what happens to a woman when she is pregnant and perhaps this is not what happens to everyone, but my feeling was like having a little secret all to myself.
He did not know all the words I spoke to our unborn baby, the songs I sang to her in the shower, the love I felt for her with every move she made and every strong kick. The words I wrote for her for when she’d be older, the promises I made to her and myself of what kind of mother I would be.
He did not know the tears I cried the first night in hospital after she was born, how I looked at her sleeping little face and I had never in my life experienced such love towards anyone. He did not know that having her made me feel complete, almost as if a part of me that was missing had finally been returned.
As cliche as it may sound, it was an emotion like no other, and with two more children after that, it took over each and every corner of my heart.
The years past and he was there for everything: the feeds, the sleepless nights, the nappy changes, the teething pain, the potty training, my mood swings, the tears, and all the shits, you name it.
Always trying to help, always trying to understand.
But, and this is the bit that is hardest to admit, in all that time – never once did I actually see him and never once did he actually see me.
The man I married, the man I love, the man who was there before they came along, who chose me, who loved me for who I was, who made me laugh, who saw me, who made me feel safe, silly and happy all at the same time- that man was gone, and all I could see was someone who was getting in my way, doing things wrong and not being able to understand what I was feeling and going through.
Just like the woman he had married – the fun, loving, funny and carefree woman he once knew, was also gone, and all that was left was a stressed out and totally shattered mother screaming her face off because someone forgot to change the toilet roll again.
It’s no one’s fault.
I don’t blame him for not ‘getting it’, or for not trying to ‘wake me up’, or for not realizing that what I really needed was for him to see me, to see that I was falling apart, how could he have? Looking back, it’s clear to me that I didn’t know what I needed so how on earth could he have?
And he does not blame me for shutting him out, for not telling him what was going on and for not being there for him when he needed me because looking back he also realizes that he did not know what he needed either, so how could I have known?
I also know that we are not the only ones this has happened to, in fact – I’m pretty sure it happens all the time, despite all the good intentions and effort.
I’m just happy that as the kids are a bit older, I am finally starting to see beyond the cloud of fog – that crazy and completely uncontrolled emotion that took over me the moment I found out I was pregnant. And although it has not completely gone away – it has made some space for other feelings that have been totally suppressed for such a long time.
My feelings for HIM.
I am excited about what the future holds, but I am also petrified to let go of what I have been grasping onto for the past six years.
You see, being a mom is such a big part of who I am, and I love (and sometimes hate) every single minute of it. However, I also know that being a mom is not ALL I am, just like being a father is not all he is, and it’s those other parts of us as people, that I look forward to rediscovering once again.
*Dedicated to all couples out there who are struggling. Having children is a wonderful thing, but it can be hard on any relationship. Please know that you are not alone, take comfort in the saying “this too shall pass” and remember – love heals all.