So many things in my life have always been easy for me. In high school? I never studied and aced the test anyway. When I was teaching? Totally laid back, I could call an audible and wing it if something didn't work. My wedding? I called the vendors my friend used and just said, Do whatever it is that's done.
Then we decided to have a baby, and you know what? That was easy too. I had no problems getting pregnant, even though I totally expected to. I had a completely uneventful and easy pregnancy and a delivery that was almost TOO fast and easy (I'll have to tell that story another time).
So into this life comes Baby Girl. And on the surface, that looked like it was easy for me too. Baby Girl and I were immediately really good at breastfeeding (almost too good). She was well behaved in public, so I could take her anywhere. I made jokes. I lost all my baby weight in 6 weeks. Everyone said how great I was doing, what a laid back and calm mom how I was, how much they wanted to be like me.
But they didn't see me crying. They didn't see me searching the Internet all night long, thinking I'd find an answer to why she was crying. They didn't see the dark part of my head where I told myself I was doing everything wrong, where I second guessed every decision, where I was convinced I was a bad mother.
And the more people thought I was good at it, the more I felt like I needed to be. The more I felt like I needed to keep the fear and sadness on the inside. I was afraid to talk to people because I had nothing interesting and clever to say, and I didn't want them to know how sad and boring I'd become, or worse, to figure out that I didn't have anything under control. That for once in my life I was trying really hard, and I couldn't fix it.
I stopped writing. I stopped reading anything that wasn't about taking care of babies. I stopped being me.
And so, I've decided to finally tell the truth. I'm not good at this. I'm not a natural. I'm not a super laid back mom. And I'm sure there are new moms who need to hear this too, who are so afraid of what will happen if they aren't perfect: Being a mommy is wonderful. But sometimes it's hard.