I love and hate social media. I admit I’m an avid and daily Facebook and Instagram user. I love to see the highlights of everyone’s lives and to get some news and trending topics, but it always comes with a catch. You cannot catch only uplifting tear jerking stories, you get it all – even mommy influences.
When I came home from the hospital from surgery, I was in basic survival mode – survive the pain, survive the emotions, survive until tomorrow. Even with all the love and support from both of our families, it was still a lot to handle. When our son came home from the NICU a week later, I felt I also had to survive motherhood until I felt better. I wasn’t jumping for joy when he made a noise and didn’t feel the fantasized automatic maternal instinct to take care of him.
It’s in all the movies right? Your baby comes out and you’re supposed to be in tears because he’s alive and healthy and the biggest miracle you’ve ever seen. Maybe Facebook makes it look like that. If I’m being honest, I didn’t have true maternal lovey feelings until a few weeks after we were both home, I was healed a bit more, and our son had adjusted to being with us full-time and not in the NICU. It was a 3AM feeding, a Boppy pillow straddled across my waist when I first had that overwhelming love feeling for my son. I’m glad it finally came because for weeks I’d wondered if my feelings were abnormal – that I was just trying to feel like myself when the expectations were that I would be enamored with our newborn as soon as be plopped down in our lives.
I think that’s the point. There isn’t an article or Facebook story that’s going to make you feel entirely normal because honestly those are the highlights of peoples’ lives. They’re not the 3AM moments or those days when the chemotherapy is so hard to manage that I can’t even get out of bed to hold my son. Sometimes I cry out of helplessness when the chemo is bad because I just want to be better. Sometimes I cry because I want to be a stronger mom. But it’s okay to cry in those moments. Sometimes I’m going to be helpless and sad but not all of the time. Most of our lives are the highlights – it’s those moments we seek out daily.
We are good moms because despite the things going on in our lives, we’re still trying. That’s a good mother.