Holy sh*t, I'm a MOTHER… and other revelations on motherhood by a very tired Jessi Cruickshank
"There is ‘tired’, there is ‘exhausted’ and then there is ‘newborn twins’. I think it’s a medical term."
"What do you want to do for Mother's Day?" my husband asked on Friday night, before we rolled over and went to bed at 8:30 p.m. "I don't know," I replied adjusting my nipple pads, "send flowers?". "Sure," he said "but what do YOU want to do?"
I have been breastfeeding and diaper changing and keeping two infants alive for 8 months and yet this was the first time it really hit me. I AM A MOTHER. I am the one who gets the flowers. This year and for eternity.
That night I couldn't sleep, not because of crying babies or leaking bosoms, but because I was paralyzed by this new sense of identity. I am not just a carefree young lady who happens to have twin babies that make adorable Instagram posts — I am their MOTHER. I have officially entered the club I only ever reserved for my mom and my grandma and women who like cropped haircuts and pleated pants and Michael Bublé. MOTHERHOOD.
While I may only have 8 months of experience, I do have two babies and that full sleepless night contemplating the meaning of motherhood under my belt. So, in celebration of all moms — rookies and veterans alike — here is what I've learned about motherhood, so far.
Throughout my pregnancy, I only ever thought about childbirth as terrifying and painful and bloody and traumatic… turns out it is all of those things. But it is also f'ing HEROIC. Pushing a human being out of your loins is more epic than The Rock in every The Rock movie combined.
I gave birth to two babies in under 30 minutes. I screamed and cried and pushed with every muscle in my body while breathing through an oxygen mask and trying not to pass out or throw up. My husband stood there and watched. And they say women are the weaker sex.
I've never felt stronger, more powerful, more indestructible. Like I had unlocked a secret superpower that moms have possessed for eternity. And when it was all said and done, I felt like running up to the hospital rooftop, with my gown blowing in the wind and shouting "If I can do THAT… I can do ANYTHING!" Instead, I wheeled myself to the bathroom to refresh my adult diaper.
Have you ever had a job where you had no prior experience, no formal training, you weren't allowed to quit and people's actual lives were at stake? It's called motherhood.
The fact that you need a license to drive, to buy alcohol and rent a car but NOT to raise a human child, is insanity. And when the doctor told me I was "All set to take my babies home!" I looked at him like he was indeed, insane.
My babies were born premature and spent 2 weeks in the intensive care unit. This is common with identical twins, but that didn't make it easier. Every day I watched regular moms take their regular babies home, while I spent 16 hours camped out beside my tiny boys' incubators, watching as the hospital staff fed and changed and cared for them.
I couldn't wait for the day when I could officially take over. When my sweet babies wouldn't have to be hooked up to feeding tubes and heart-rate monitors and motion detectors. And when that day finally came, I PANICKED.
"You're telling me, you're just gonna unplug them?" I asked the doctor in horror, "We're just going to take them out of these highly regulated incubators in this fully-staffed hospital and send them home to a one-bedroom apartment with questionable air conditioning and two people who have never done this before!?" The doctor smiled calmly while I stammered, "Is that... even... LEGAL!?"
He informed me that it was legal and that we would be "just fine".
Of course, 3600 diapers, 2800 bottles, 1900 Google searches, 850 panic attacks and 240 sleepless nights later, we are… just fine.
I've had a lot of jobs. I've had a paper route, been a camp counselor, I even spent a summer as a 'Pirate Wench' (actual job title) at Canada's Wonderland… but no job has been more challenging, gruelling or exhausting than full-time mom.
You can try to tell me that working construction, being a police officer or doing brain surgery is harder... but even brain surgeons get lunch breaks, police officers get days off, construction workers get to go home at the end of a long shift. For moms, the shift is FOREVER.
With twins, we had no choice but to put our babies on a schedule — every 3 hours we would feed, burp, change and soothe one baby. Then, we would wake up the second baby to feed, burp, change and soothe him. By the time both babies were fed, happy and sleeping again, we'd have approximately 1 hour to rest before having to wake up and start the cycle all over again. 24 hours a day. Around the clock. There is 'tired', there is 'exhausted' and then there is 'newborn twins'. I think it's a medical term.
When my boys were 6 weeks old, I got sick… like, runny nose, fever, full-body ache, stay in bed and watch Wendy Williams all day kind of sick. That was the first time it hit me — I can't be sick. I can't just hide under the covers and ignore my work obligations because my work obligations will DIE.
Motherhood is infinite. There are no excuses, no lunch breaks, no sick days. And so I wiped my nose, sucked on a lozenge, fluffed up my breast pillow, looked down at two of the sweetest, most hilarious babies on the planet and clocked-in for the rest of time.
Motherhood isn't just a full-time forever job, it's a full-time forever part of who you are. I am a lot of things, but the thing that I am the most proud of, is that I am a mom.
I always feared that being 'a mom' wasn't 'cool'. I worried that having kids would change my identity. Turns out, being a mom is the coolest part of my identity. Sure, I go to bed at 8 p.m. and I had to Google "Who is Cardi B?" but I am busy raising two awesome people from scratch, ok? As my mom might say, that is pretty darn cool.
So this Mother's Day, I will happily accept your flowers. And I will happily start to embrace the fact that I have entered 'MOTHERHOOD'. I am a part of the exclusive club reserved for my mom and my grandma and the most bad-ass women on the planet. I have never felt so honoured.