Honestly

I think I’m too honest. I don’t mean in a trust-me-with-your-life-savings way (though please feel free) but in a will-actually-tell-you-how-I-am way. So when people ask how I’m coping with two so close together I might reply ‘It’s been the hardest year of my entire life so far’ or more likely with a comedy rictus grin and high-pitched ‘yeah it’s great!’, indicating quite clearly how it’s actually going.  I’m even blogging about how I’m (not) coping with having two so close together, as you can see.  It’s a fine line between honesty and moaning, though, isn’t it?

As women we’re taught to not really moan about stuff.  I mean, yeah, we can moan about the weather, and the fact that we want our boyfriends to know what we want for our birthdays without us having to send emails with links to the relevant Amazon/lovelybags.com/Tiffany&co webpage in them.  We can moan about our jobs and our mothers and our mothers-in-law and the fact that our best mate always leaves her mobile switched off and in the boot of her car, but when it comes to the stuff that’s actually really shit, we generally clam up.

If a childless or first-time pregnant woman asks us what childbirth is really like, are we honest?  No.  We say it hurts, yes, but it’s a ‘useful’ pain and not like somebody’s jimmying  your pelvis open with a crowbar and then making you squeeze a lit Jack-O’lantern through it.  We don’t mention that after this unbelievable feat you have to stay awake continuously for about two months, jamming your boob into the squalling creature’s mouth every time your eyelids drift shut for a second.  When somebody asks how we are after the birth we don’t mention feeling like a snake that just sicked up an alligator.  We stay silent about the stinging stitches and we keep quiet about the piles which are making us terrified to even catch a glimpse of the toilet out of the corner of our eye.

Nope.  We sketch over childbirth and talk instead about the immense and surprising love we feel for our babies (it’s true, we really do).  We don’t admit we felt frightened and bewildered and wished we had just got a hamster in the first weeks of our baby’s life but we say it gets much easier at twelve weeks (true, in the same way that taking a paracetamol eases the pain of an amputation).

Once we’ve been through the awful bits we’re happy to gossip about it to each other but seldom to those who haven’t been through it.  I sometimes wish we were just a titchy bit more honest with each other about what the difficult bits of motherhood are like.  If we could learn to be, fewer women might find themselves in the doctor’s office, like I did just after Pickle was born, asking ‘have I got post natal depression or is having two kids under two just really shit?’

See? I’m too honest.  I’m worrying about it now.  Everyone’s different.  Some people sail through childbirth and take to looking after babies like ducks to water.  I can’t think of any more watery similes to make my point.    I’m having a tricky patch but I love love love my babies and they are funny little companions as well as squishy dimpled bundles.

Of course, additionally, you could call this lack of honesty just Being Positive.

 

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About vickola

Bad housewife.
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9 Responses to Honestly

  1. Lisa W. says:

    Vickola, I am all for more honesty in all aspects of life.I had a mentor in college who I respected enormously not because he was perfect but because he was flawed. He was real and it allowed me to be real. He told his truth and in turn I had the courage to tell mine. We can learn a lot from each other and recognize we are not alone.

    Keep telling your truth. Keep being real. That is who we love.

  2. Zoe says:

    I think we need more honesty about this kind of stuff. Why don’t they warn you that the first 3 months are a bit crap? My little girl is 1 now and looking after her is a joy right now because she is developing at an amazing rate and seems to do something new every day and it’s so much fun. But the first 3 months were awful. I too ended up in my doctors asking if I had post natal depression. I discovered that it was just lack of sleep in the end once she stopped waking up every 2 hours at night. It was still horrendous. And yet I remember everyone asking me if I was enjoying it. I thought I must be a terrible mother because honestly I didn’t. And if I’d known that there were other mums who were struggling just as much as me, well I would have found it just a little bit easier to cope with.

  3. I love your blog and what I love most about it is the honesty. I have a 2 year old and have another one on the way. If I’m being honest I feel far more anxious about having this one than I did with the 1st, maybe it is knowing what is store for me when the baby is born and having to cop with another one. Some days I stop dead in my tracks and think what on earth am I doing…but it is nice to know i’m not the only one.

  4. Thanks for admitting that it’s tough sometimes – makes me feel less ashamed for finding it difficult too at times! Thank goodness for chocolate, coffee and CBeebies, I say xxx

  5. Tamsin says:

    Everything you have said is so so true for me as well and my 2 girls are very close in age (15 month gap) and mostly it feels like constant hard hard work and I keep wondering when it ends?! But at 4 & 3 it’s getting slightly better, occasionally.

  6. Amanda says:

    Ditto what everyone else has said, and can I also add that now mine are 5 & 7, I’m sooooo glad that I had them close to together (they’re only one school year apart), because they play really well together…. most of the time 🙂
    It’s such a relief not having to entertain one or the other of them constantly anymore. We’ve just got back from holiday, and as I sat at the edge of the pool, reading a book, I thought to myself more than once, thank god they’ve got each other to play with, else I’d have to be in there!

  7. mummybigbum says:

    Hope I’m not butting in here….I’ve been silently reading your blog for a while now but have only just set up my own and wasn’t sure if I was allowed to comment without it.

    Just wanted to say I hope you’re feeling better, I wouldn’t say I’ve ever had postnatal depression, but that’s not to say I have had MAJOR down patches. Sounds to me completely normal. Hats off to you for having a second to deal with too – I would loooove to be in that position but as a single mum it wouldn’t be the best situation to get into…would involve luring some unsuspecting man back to my flat for unprotected hanky panky and I don’t think even my level of broodiness would allow that! It does make me sad tho – I’ve got a 2 year old and the horizon is bleak for him getting siblings close in age to him. My mum had 6 kids in the space of 8 years and it meant our childhood was fantastic. Really think you’ve done a good thing by keeping to the small age gap!

    Keep trooping x

  8. vickola says:

    There is no butting in here!

    It’s always helpful to hear that other people find it hard too. Sometimes I think I should be the supermum-never-let-your-guard-down type. Not me though.

  9. Tara says:

    This post was terrifying (because, yup, I’m very newly pregnant) and hilarious! And made me miss you very much. Thanks for the honesty 🙂 xo Tarz

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