Being pregnant left me a lot of time for anticipating that moment. You know the one.. where my child is finally handed to me in a euphoric climax of nine months of expectation. Hormone filled ecstasy and pure exhilaration as my eyes lock with my child’s for the first time and the boundless love of motherhood becomes a realisation.
Naturally that’s what social media told me it would be like. I stared in awe and excitement at the beautiful pictures on my Instagram feed, the updates of new mothers on my Twitter and read articles shared about ‘the moment’ on my Facebook.
Except it didn’t quite work out like that. My slimy wriggling daughter was thrust upon me to hold awkwardly, whilst I attempted to shift my body weight to alleviate the persistent throbbing back pain, birth my placenta and request glasses of water to wash out the lingering vomit taste in my mouth. Don’t get me wrong I was able to glance down and see this little thing I had created, and was so thankful she was finally here. Big black alien eyes stared blankly past me. Then after a few minutes she was taken from me and just like that I realised I had missed it … the moment… again.
See this isn’t the first time that modern society has told me exactly how I am supposed to feel for a moment in time. Getting engaged… finding out you are pregnant… holding my child for the first time. In every circumstance there are the social media posts describing the overwhelming emotions that collide for women at these times. The welling up of tears when you realise that you are actually standing in the dress you will get married in – and that’s how you know it’s the right one.. because you have the moment. But what if you don’t? What if you are anticipating it so much that it doesn’t happen? Have we set ourselves up for failure from the very beginning by not allowing and permitting feelings to just be as they are? Standing in my wedding dress (that I have to admit I still think is stunning), I desperately willed the tears to come for a “say yes to the dress” moment.. but my eyes remained dry… nothing.. . zip.
I can tell you as a new mum I have now had many emotionally joyous and overwhelming ‘moments’. But they are not the ‘big’ ones. They are the unexpected quiet times when I catch a glimpse of my husband holding our daughter, they are her morning stretches as I unwrap her, and her milk-drunk smile after feeding her. Whist I consider myself a confident and self assured person, there is occasionally a voice that creeps in to my head questioning whether there is some deficit in me for not feeling that thing that I am ‘supposed to’ at certain times. The pressure to experience an insta-worthy moment for followers to like becomes so much that perhaps I have even succumbed to post-event updates seen through rosy-glasses. Updates that subscribe the formulaic approach of a filtered shot sprinkled with just the right amount of hashtags; #soinlove #bestmomentever #cantbelieveit
I’m sure some women do experience those rushes of emotions at just the perfect snap-worthy moments. But for the rest of us, lets remember not to let the absence of these movie-like scenes make us question the reality and validity of our own journey. Happiness comes in many forms and sometimes the nicest emotions creep up on you and hit you when you least expect it. A smile, a smell, a look… now excuse me while I get my insta-camera ready…