The need for PERFECTION
The desire to be perfect has long been my greatest hurdle in life. From a young girl, I had this indescribable need for everything to be a certain way, and I fell down hard whenever things didn't live up to the expectations in my mind. It's proven to be both a blessing and a curse, but as a parent, it is most definitely proving to be a curse.
From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I felt an incredible pressure to do it all 'right'. I wanted to control my weight gain, continue to be able to exercise and 'look good', have a nice bump, not be sick, not have any problems. I wanted a textbook pregnancy. Funnily enough, it turned out the pregnancy itself was basically textbook, although my physical experience of it was definitely not (you can read about it in my birth story post HERE). But even when my body was finding it tough, I was panicking that people would know I wasn't perfect. I'd ban #thelove from telling anyone I was having a rough time, and outwardly would make light of pregnancy being tough, but ultimately show I was doing great, when I wasn't.
And then Tilly arrived, and my need to be perfect just went through the roof. I was terrified I was going to be a failure. I was afraid I'd fail at feeding, afraid I'd fail at soothing, afraid I'd fail at healing, or holding myself together. I expected it to all just work instantly, and when it didn't I began to fall apart. I knew that babies lose a bit of weight after birth, but I knew it couldn't be too much, so I worried about the day they would weigh her, that I'd have not fed her enough and they'd see me as a bad mother. I worried that when I was feeding her, that I'd be told I was doing it wrong, and they'd see me as a bad mother. I worried that when I cried- again- that #thelove and my family would think I was weak, and see me as a bad mother. Or on the whole, just as a bad person. Less than perfect.
The struggle continued when we got back home too. And funnily enough, my mum made a comment one day that seemed to snap something in my brain and helped me see the light- she said to me, 'no one is marking you on this, you're not being tested on it'. And I suddenly realised that was what I was fearing. That I was going to fail the 'test'.
Motherhood is not a perfect journey. We can't be perfect. For starters, we're dealing with another person, and even though in our eyes they are perfect, the fact remains that they are human too, and therefore not perfect. Each day- although they feel about a year long- is only a day, and there have been SO many times when I've had to remind myself (or #thelove has had to remind me) that she has only been here for a couple of weeks. Our learning will continue every day, for ever.
And little by little (and I'm definitely not there yet, believe me, I have 31 years of a habit to try and break), I can see the perfect moments within the great big imperfection that is our life. The way she looks at me, the quiet moments we do have. The simple fact that she is here and she is healthy. They may not be the 'perfection' I originally thought I needed, but they are. And in the moments when it's all just going to shizz, and I'm ready to run out the front door, I have to force myself to look in the mirror again, see the magic that is my body, which birthed this feisty and oh-so-amazing little girl, and see that perfection is actually found in the imperfect.