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My Introduction to Momhood

By Erin McCrea

I am going to write about my experience with Mom Life. I want to tell the truth about my experience with Mom Life – the good and the bad. All stories are different, and while this one is specifically mine, I hope that something I write helps another momma know they aren’t alone.

Before I start my Mom Musings, I need to talk about something else. I wasn’t always a mom. In fact, it took me thirty-five years to decide I wanted to be a mom. Before my son was born, I lived a full life. I travelled across Canada straight out of high school in a group called Katimavik. I attended university and came out with a BA in English (which wasn’t exactly a ticket to landing a job). I lived in South Korea for a year, and spent a summer in Taiwan and Thailand with a friend. I received a diploma in Broadcasting and worked in radio for nearly ten years. (I was a creative writer for most of those years.) Until I moved to Saskatoon six years ago, I never lived in the same place for long. I bounced from place to place, trying to find the best fit.

I strived to live my life with no regrets, but I made mistakes.

In May of 2016, I became a mom. And my life changed. There are certain things in my life that I never imagined ever happening. For one, I thought I’d be the working mom who does it all. Instead, I chose to be a Stay-at-Home Mom… or, rather, a Write-at-Home Mom.

The truth is I never imagined myself as a mother. I’m sure every once in a while I thought about it, but not in the way others think about it. I’ve had more than one friend say to me they were made to be a mom. I’ve never felt like that. I never imagined that I would start writing about life as a mom (in fact, I wanted to stay away from it). I don’t speak for all moms, but hopefully my experience resonates with someone.

Since becoming a mom, I have become a firm believer that being honest is the only way to go about it - especially with the presence of social media. Life’s certainly not perfect, and instead of posting the perfect photos of your family, and judging other moms, why not just tell some mom truths?

The first couple of weeks of my son’s life, I posted so many wonderful photos of him sleeping and looking adorable. Looking back, I don’t remember him sleeping; I remember him crying. Life wasn’t peaceful, and there’s nothing wrong with talking about it.

So there’s my first mom truth. Being a mom is the hardest and most frustrating thing I’ve ever loved.

This isn’t to say all I do is complain in my social media posts (although lately it feels like it at times). Some days are tough, and motherhood is less lonely when you can talk about the hard moments. Believe me when I say being a mother is sometimes the loneliest job you’ll have. I’ve talked about the difficult aspects with friends and on social media… and it’s helped. Most people understand. They give advice. They listen. Having an actual mom friend is the KEY to surviving motherhood.

I want to tell my story. I want to share the humour, the truth, and the ‘I’ve been there’ moments.

The first time I actually considered becoming a mother was when I was twenty-nine; however, it wasn’t a moment I was expecting. By that, I mean I ended up pregnant, and I wasn’t expecting it. I was in a relationship. It wasn’t serious. We weren’t as careful as we should have been. I know the risks I took, and I ended up pregnant. It was an unplanned pregnancy with a man I had no plan of building a future with.

Suddenly, I was expecting a baby, and our lives would be connected forever. Even though it was a surprise, I feel like I embraced the pregnancy. I was excited. I thought the baby would be something wonderful. I let myself imagine what my life would be like as a mom, and I already knew I would love the baby more than anything.

Then, just like that, I was no longer pregnant. I had a miscarriage at eleven weeks. It was over. I was no longer connected to somebody who really was looking worse all the time, and I was no longer having a baby on my own.

Being a mom still wasn’t my biggest goal for a few years, but, after that experience, I was able to picture it more clearly. That’s what I took away from the short pregnancy and miscarriage, and it took me until now to figure that out.

I was really confused. I didn’t understand why it was there… and then it wasn’t. The miscarriage itself was physically painful and included a hospital stay. The emotional aspect of it was also tough, and it went on longer than needed.

The strangest thing at the time was how many people began telling me that they had also had miscarriages. It was almost like it was something you couldn’t talk about. Before I had the miscarriage, my boss at the time had shared with me that he and his wife had experienced one years before. I was glad he had told me. After the loss of my baby, many others opened up to share their experiences with me (along with the unnecessary “it was meant to be” comments).

I slowly realized miscarriage is a taboo topic. I guess that’s another reason you don’t tell people you’re pregnant until you are comfortable. I told a lot of people, and then I had to tell them that I was no longer pregnant. I don’t regret that, but because it was a subject people don’t seem comfortable talking about, I didn’t talk about it. And then, one day, I felt I needed to. That year was the hardest year of my life. It wasn’t just the miscarriage, but that was certainly part of it. I was unhappy. Ridiculously unhappy.

I decided to blog about my miscarriage. I wrote about the entire thing from beginning to end. I didn’t want MY experience to be taboo. This wasn’t my first blog, but it was my first time talking about something so serious, something so personal. I usually stuck to travel stories, but this was not a travel story. It was also the first time I found that writing in a public forum could be healing -telling my story helped.

Looking back, my experience wasn’t the worst. If I had dealt with it right away, it would have been easier for me. I know others who have had miscarriages after trying to have a baby. I know others who have had sad and awful experiences, and I hate that people have to go through it. I let it overwhelm me at the time, and it wasn’t until I finally wrote about it that I started to heal.

Nine years later, I had found the man I wanted to be with, and I was ready to try to become a mom again. Making the decision wasn’t one we took lightly. We decided to try, and if it didn’t work, we’d be okay with that - that’s what I told myself. We had a house and a dog and a life, so we were ready to try. (I was also thirty-five, so it was time to start.)

We were lucky. It only took us three months to get pregnant. I appreciate how lucky we were. I took a test every month, and I can’t even begin to imagine how heart wrenching it would have been to see that negative result time after time.

Because of my one and only prior experience with pregnancy, I did not want to get my hopes up. At the same time, my hopes were up. We already had names picked out for both a boy and a girl. I tried not to become too invested during the first fourteen weeks, but it’s hard not to. It was a nerve wracking time. I was lucky enough to not be hit with any morning sickness, but I was constantly exhausted. I checked for blood on every single washroom trip.

I went for an ultrasound at twelve weeks. My partner was working away, so my mom came with me. I almost wanted to go alone because I wanted to deal with the grief on my own if it didn’t work out. Luckily, they spotted a healthy moving fetus. I had tears in my eyes; I was so relieved the baby was real.

Before the ultrasound, we had told a few people. The first time, I told everybody. This time, I still told a few friends and a few family members. It’s not a choice I will ever regret. I actually think it would have been harder without support.

I promise my musings will soon delve deeper into mom life, but my ‘before’ story is just as important – it’s how I came to be a mom. Some parts of the before were tough (and pregnancy wasn’t a walk in the park either), but I can say honestly say that being a mother has been the hardest thing I’ve done.

But that all will come later. I’ve got so much more to share, including a story about my last trimester, and, of course, a story about birth. Don’t worry, it’s only slightly horrifying.

This is the story of my mom life. I don't want my Mom story to ever end. The Mom Musings will continue.