‘Motherhood is really tough.’ You’d think, ‘Well that’s crap.’ Birth was traumatic. As a child of sexual abuse, a traumatic birth can be very re-triggering. I didn’t count on that.’

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“Motherhood was a shock to me. I knew it would be hard, I knew my life would change, I knew I would be tired – but it’s like talking about the weather. It isn’t real. It’s just conversation. ‘It’s gonna be raining today…’ to which I would think, ‘Oh that’s crap.’

Someone will say, ‘Motherhood is really tough’

And you’d think, ‘Well that’s crap.’

Nothing prepares you for the reality of motherhood. There’s a lot of things you don’t count on.

It started from the birth of my first child. It was traumatic. As a child of sexual abuse, a traumatic birth can be very traumatizing and re-triggering. I didn’t count on that.

I expected to be handed my baby like I was Beyoncé in a floral garden and the heavens open up. Instead, I felt like a potato cake that seagulls were fighting over, one stitching me up, one folding my boob like a hamburger to stuff in my baby’s mouth, and one pressing so hard on my stomach I thought she was going to touch my spine. Yep, didn’t count on that.

I didn’t count on losing my name, and ultimately my identity. I had relatives literally sit on me to see my baby.

And after you’ve just been a mini car crash, you deserve, and you need some sympathy. But it didn’t come. Certainly not from the nurses. I didn’t count on that.

I didn’t count on trying to reach out to other mothers in solidarity on social media, only to be shamed for my birth choices.

I didn’t count on being so tired with no relief ever to come. To feeling alone, to feeling resentment. To losing friendships and my relationship with my partner turning to more of an estranged friendship.

I didn’t count on feeling anger. A rage inside me that was scary. More rage than a mother trying to get the last $11-dollar Bonds onesies at Aldi.

There was a lot of things I didn’t count on, and having postnatal depression and anxiety wasn’t one of them. I felt like I couldn’t count on me to do this.

And I didn’t have to. Not alone anyway. By a random admission of my rage, I had someone listen to me, then another person listens to me, then another. People who cared. Who loved me, who cared about me and called me by my name. I spent three weeks in hospital, with people trying to get me believe in myself.

But I didn’t think I could. I didn’t think I would. I didn’t think I’d get to a place where I would just say, ‘Screw it’ to social media, the invisible audience of disapproval in my head, judgements. I didn’t think I’d get to the place where I’d put myself and my mental health first – I didn’t think I’d learn to try and heal – My life counted on it.

The problem though, was at first, I didn’t count on me and I didn’t count on others, and I should have.

Ladies, you ARE strong. You don’t feel it, you feel like sleep will fix everything and you are just where you’re meant to be, but that’s not true. You can do this; you can fight through it. You can beat it. You can get to a place where you are happier. It’s hard, it’s tough. But so are you.

And you don’t have to do it alone, count on everyone and anyone. Find a good doctor, if they’re no good, find another. Find a counselor, a best friend, a mom at the playground, anyone, people who you can count on. Socialize with them. Don’t ever feel guilty.

We are taught to be independent, don’t count on anyone – time to forget that. This is the time where if you don’t have a village, you make one. Count on others, so one day you can be strong enough and help others to count on you too.”

Laura Mazza

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Laura Mazza of Mum on the Run, where it originally appeared.  Follow Laura on Instagram hereSubmit your story here, and subscribe to our best love stories here.

Read more encouraging words from Laura:

‘She’s not broken’: To the man whose wife or partner has anxiety

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