I’m sorry. I’m so sorry for not understanding how important it was for you for me to meet your daughter almost 10 years ago. I’m sorry I asked you to come over to my place because I was too busy at work. I’m so sorry to have called you 1001 times to tell you about work, my partner, my problems with my mother, and not taking the time to listen all about your then newborn daughter. I’m sorry, my dear friend, for not acknowledging how important it was to be there for you when you first became a mum; today I know that motherhood is demanding and isolating.
I don’t know my friend’s daughter, but I’ve seen pictures of her on Facebook. She looks like her mum and has two siblings – I don’t know them either. On those pictures, my friend looks gorgeous; she seems determined and seems to have a motherly wisdom that I do not have yet. I wish I could give her a call and ask for advice because sometimes I feel lost and don’t trust my gut.
As I had never before witnessed what life with a baby was like, I thought it was easy – how hard can it be to feed, dress, and play with a tiny person? Misguided by myriad ads, I thought having a baby was like having a party and that the first year was filled with play, cuddles, love, and then more cuddles.
And indeed there are cuddles and love and play, but there are so many naps and sleepless nights in between; so many feeding sessions that end with a sore breast or a bruised nipple; so many questions without answers. So many mistakes … so many.
It’s with motherhood that the word ‘selfish’ acquires a different meaning. You stop having time for your friends and squeeze a few minutes out of every day to be you, to rejoice in who you are, and discover that underneath the mummy uniform there’s still a woman who has a lot to give to her offspring and the world. Selfish means being you, even if it’s just for a few seconds.
I understand now my friend why you stopped talking to me. Today I understand why you didn’t go to my wedding but nonetheless sent a present I carried with me to a different continent. I understand why you didn’t comment on Facebook when I first posted a picture of my son.
Today I know motherhood is a lonely business. Friends without children rarely understand what really goes on behind closed doors, and the ones that seem to understand don’t really know what’s happening to you – they are the ones who hurt us the most.
I’m sorry my dear friend for not being there for you. I’m really sorry.