I had a conversation with my mother-in-law recently, during which she referred to those days when the kids are really small and you sleep way too little as ‘those days with balcony moments’. You know, when in the middle of the night after what feels like the one thousandth night in a row you find yourself pacing up and down the hallway with your bawling, kicking and screaming child in your arms. When you have tried everything and there is nothing left to try. When you are so tired, you feel like your legs will not carry you any further, let alone you and your child. When you cry with your child in unison and when jumping from a balcony (with or without child) has crossed your mind, even if only briefly.
Luckily, we are past nights with balcony moments. Also, we live in a ground floor flat. But I remember feeling so tired and weak at some point, I had to wake Big M regularly in the middle of the night for him to take the screaming baby away from me, fearing I couldn’t physically hold her any longer.
I also remember talking to one particularly annoying other mum who countered each of my confessions of early motherhood’s struggles with the words ‘but aren’t they such a blessing?’ It used to freak me out – seeing her bleary eyed, teetering at the edge of abyss that is PND, knowing that she had cried for the better part of the day (and night). Why couldn’t she admit that motherhood sometimes is bloody hard, no matter how beautiful and healthy your child is, no matter how desperately you wanted a baby?
We are not making it any easier for ourselves by covering up how shitty (poo nappy, anyone?), lonely and exhausting motherhood can be at times. Why pretend? Why pass on your irrational feeling of guilt to someone else? Why deny the existence of balcony moments?