Tanya Enberg: Unexpected Mother


Six Things That Surprised Me Most About Motherhood

The Ups, downs, and everything in between

Six Things That Surprised me about Motherhood

Almost everything about motherhood has taken me by surprise. Our son is now 16 months old, and this insanely fast-paced rollercoaster ride has been peppered with daily surprises.

If you’re a mom, you know this: The ups are better than anything you ever could’ve imagined, and the downs, well they’re pretty much hell. Why not be honest, right?

Here are the top six things that have surprised me most about motherhood so far.

1. The fear

The night I went into labour, I woke up in excruciating pain, which came in ebbs and flows, running through my body like calm water before erupting into violent waves. These were my contractions, of course. Yet, I wanted to finish reading the book Bringing Up Bebe before giving birth, so I locked myself in the bathroom and plowed through the final pages. Why, you ask? Truth is, I was terrified. I was about to meet the tiny human being who would one day call me Momma and this is no small thing. I am still surprised by my reaction because I was very, very prepared. Anyone else have this last minute, baby-is-on-its-way kind of panic? Or maybe that was just me ...

2. The things you can't learn from books

I followed our baby’s progression in the womb daily. He was the size of a grain of rice and then grew to the size of various fruits. He developed fingerprints and eyelashes, the art of sucking his thumb. I read tons of pregnancy and parenting books yet, shockingly, I was not prepared. Children are so unique and how we respond to them is an organic process, one that can only come from truly getting to know them. Getting familiar with these little creatures — what makes them giggle and cry and want to tackle hug you — is magical. And you won't find that in books. 

3. Hearing The word Momma

When I hear our sweet son say Momma, I sometimes think, ‘Are you talking to me?’ Yes, I still have days when I think 'Oh my God, I am somebody's mother!' It shocks me like a lightning bolt. Just writing the word momma gets me teary-eyed. There is nothing in the world like it.

4. Knowing that I wasn't alone

Flashback to the newborn months: I had originally imagined myself happily toting around our son, a proud new momma, confident and beaming. Of course I was surprised when this didn’t happen. Instead I felt shell-shocked, drained, scared, and completely alone. I didn’t know then about the powerful online resources and communities available to parents such as Playtex Mommyville.ca that could’ve helped me through those dark days. If you're a new mom and have at times felt completely lost, please keep these words close by: you are not alone.

5. The emotional impact of the daily news

I worked for many years in the daily news business covering some very gruesome happenings. My heart often broke for those facing unimaginable adversity, but nothing compares to the emotional impact I feel now. I am constantly surprised by what a blubbering, soft-hearted puddle I’ve turned into. Yes, my son has given me the best gift a person could ask for — true empathy.

6. I am a lioness...hear me roar

This love, oh this wild, impossible love. It is deeply and firmly rooted, a roar from within, and it is unquestioningly the most powerful and intoxicating kind of love I’ve ever known. I used to think I never wanted children. Needless to say I am floored by how strong my maternal instinct is. I would move mountains for my son, lift bulldozers and cars, go up against ferocious, hungry animals and run through burning buildings for him. I would give my life for his, and really that is all there is. 

What about you? What surprised you most about this whirlwind known as motherhood? 

For even more inspiring stories that celebrate and reflect on what it means to be a mom, visit our "YMC and Playtex Mommyville.ca Writing Contest Winners" page.