I felt the pressure of parenthood long before my baby entered the world. As soon as I discovered I was growing a human, I began to notice other parents, and wondered if they had felt the same pressure in the beginning.
To truly understand what someone has been through, one needs to experience it personally. This is especially true of parenthood – until you become one yourself, all you have got to go off are assumptions, opinions and second-hand knowledge.

Becoming a parent opens your eyes to what it truly takes to be a parent.

I was preparing to enter the world of parenthood, yet I felt unprepared and unsure. I spent my whole pregnancy wondering if I was doing the right thing.

Was I was really cut out to be a mother?

Did I want to create a mini-worrier and over-thinker?

Was I ready to face the beginning of a completely different life?

In conversations that I had with other parents, issues like labour, sleep-deprivation and teething were discussed. Having rarely heard anything positive about any of these three points, they made me extremely nervous. I didn’t want to go through labour, I adored sleeping and would have preferred my child to be born with a full set of teeth (although in hindsight, as a breastfeeding mother, it was probably a good thing she wasn’t – ouch!).

But these issues, they were fleeting. As horrible as they were, they would eventually pass. No one told me about the pressure of parenthood, and the fact that as long as you were a parent it would never go away.

My baby kept growing inside me, as did my fear about becoming a mother. So I read lots of books and overloaded myself with information – anything to make me feel like I had a handle on this tough job called Motherhood. In hindsight, I should have ditched the books and spent all that free time participating in relaxation classes, and trying to find real, practical advice like:

* how to deal with constant change and disruptions to an organised life

* how to accept that life would never be the same again

* how to spend time studying your child, and not books about other children

* how to cope with the contradictory feelings that motherhood brings

* how to let go of the idea of ‘perfect’ and realise that your own way is perfectly fine

Feeling the pressure.

When my beautiful girl was finally born, I found that the pressure increased. When Emmy did something that wasn’t textbook, or I did something that wasn’t considered ‘right’ by those various books, I would worry and stress that we would suffer in the long run.
Add that to the pressure I already felt about being the best mother, and not passing on my less than desirable qualities to this innocent and perfect child. This child that would be shaped and moulded by my influence.

The pressure I felt was crushing, my shoulders heavy from lugging around that worry.

Our job as parents is to mould our children into the best version of themselves.

I now know why people say that parenthood is the hardest job in the world. Once your child is born you step onto a rollercoaster that you can’t get off. Day and night you navigate the unexpected twists and turns that your child takes you on. And at the same time, you need to manage your changing emotions, making sure that your child sees and hears the best of you, so they know they are loved, secure and safe.

You need to hold it together, because being a parent means you have taken on the most important role in the world. You have a little human to shape and nurture.

I have recently read 9 Things: A back-to-basics guide to calm, common-sense, connected Parenting Birth-8, written by Maggie Dent. I have found this to be a great resource for learning about the crucial first years and how important it is to nurture our children’s growing brains. The way we interact with our children sets the path for their future selves, how they cope with the world and how they feel about themselves.

I so badly want to get this parenting thing right, so that Emmy can grow up to become the best version of herself. I want her to be resilient, assertive, brave, and confident. I want her to be filled with so much self-worth that she feels empowered and strong, able to conquer anything that comes her way. I want her to feel like she belongs, that her voice is important and her opinions matter. I want her to trust in her decisions and believe in her abilities.

I have the power to instil these qualities in her, to nurture her growing brain so that she is more likely to become this version of herself. But this is where I feel the pressure, because those qualities that I listed, I’m still trying to learn myself. Sometimes I’m impatient with her, sometimes I let my frustration bubble to the surface, sometimes I act before I think, and then I feel guilty afterwards.

Can I help her to become the best version of herself when sometimes I feel the worst version of myself?

Look at the bigger picture, and focus on the now.

Even with these feelings, and the pressure of parenthood on my shoulders, when I just stop to breathe and relax, when I just stop to be with Emmy, I think it will be okay. For the most part, we laugh, talk, cuddle and play. We have a bond so strong that I know the foundations are already solid.

I must be doing something right, because this kid sees past all my imperfections and still adores me. When she holds my face in her little hands and plants a kiss on my lips, when she calls my name in her sleep, when she runs to me when she is sad or hurt, when she looks at me like I am the best person in the world, I know it is all going to be okay.

My Emmy is only two years old, and already I see a happy, clever, thoughtful, capable, kind, funny, sensitive little soul, filled with the potential to become all I wish her to be and more. I will probably never stop feeling the pressure of parenthood, but that means I’ll never stop trying to be the best for her. I will love her with all that I am, and hopefully, this will be enough.

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4 responses to “The Pressure of Parenthood”

  1. Danielle says:

    Beautifully written Suzi. Your a wonderful mother ox

  2. Marie McLean says:

    Beautiful post. Parenting certainly is a tricky, constantly changing role. It sounds like you’re on the right track, and Maggie Dent is awesome – honest, straight forward advice. Enjoy every little joy your daughter brings – they will help get you through the hurdles.

    • suzifaed says:

      Thanks, Marie. Yes, it definitely is, and I don’t think it can be fully understood until one becomes a parent themselves. So many challenges, but also so many precious moments that fill your heart with love, and make all those challenges worthwhile. And yes, it is very helpful to have advice from Maggie Dent. I am going to two of her talks this week – can’t wait!:-)

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Suzi Faed Author Avatar

Hello& welcome to my blog, What If Warrior

Here you will find my multi-topic blog, told from my humble point of view. I write from the heart; for me, self-expression comes easier through written words. If you would like to read more about my inspiration for this blog, click here.