*warning: this post is about parenthood. If this kind of things pisses you off (which I totally empathise with) then skip along if you wish.
My life is not like the posters. Those idyllic Breastfeeding promotion pictures. Beautiful made up mothers smiling lovingly at their contented baby. But the posters are lying. Well, perhaps not completely lying but certainly not telling the whole truth.
They do not tell the story of the unrelenting nature of feeding a newborn and how exhausting and unpredictable it is.
They do not tell the story of how crazy one feels after weeks and weeks where a successful nights sleep is 3-4 hours and most of the time that successful nights sleep is not experienced.
They do not show the physical messiness of Breastfeeding… Boobs leaking milk without permission over the bed at night or the clean t-shirt you’ve just put on 20mins ago. After the shower that youve been attempting to get for the last 3 days. Or the excruciating nipple pain that often occurs (thankfully not for me this time since I learned these latching lessons with my first child)… But even that exposes a myth that babies and mothers just ‘know’ instinctively how to latch and feed. This is bullshit and many women spend weeks in pain because they are afraid they are failing the natural motherhood test by not knowing what they hell they are doing. Like most things ‘its only easy when you know how’.
In one moment I lay with both babies curled and snuggled up on my chest and I genuinely wonder how I could love them anymore than I do in this moment. A few hours later I stumble out of bed lean over their cot and let the words that good mothers keep in their heads spew out of my mouth in the exasperated tone in which they are felt…”what the fu*k is it now?” The posters don’t show these moments.
Meanwhile our two year old has discovered I literally can’t move when I’m feeding his little sisters and he more cleverly with each day discovers how he can take advantage of this. … “eoin why is your face and hair all wet”? ” poppy’s water yuck mummy” (poppy is our dog). In the posters toddlers do not exist. “Sleep when your baby sleeps” they say… And instead I watch my babies sleep peacefully while I scrape spinach pasta off my toddlers chin.
But then I suppose we tend to take pictures of the moments we want to remember rather than those we are happy to forget.
My life is not like the posters but it is not completely unlike them either. It is a mix of tears and joy. Tiredness and strength. Anger and love. It is wonderful and difficult. It is enjoyable and at times pushes me to the edge.
It is what it is.