I think the thing about being a second-time parent is gaining better insight since I’ve done the rodeo the first time. The first time you are just in awe because motherhood is a novelty and everything was fresh and sensations were new. The second time you know the jig. The sparkle is a little gone even though it doesn’t mean you love your second baby any lesser. But when your second time are triplets; I don’t know how to say this except in the plainest way possible…but it feels like you’re being punished.
As their mother I feel punished even more because having triplets have stripped me down to the least possible amount of options available that I have as a woman and as a parent. Because we have triplets I couldn’t breastfeed as well, I couldn’t afford help or daycare, expenses flow at a faster rate and my babies have effectively shut down, without prior warning, whatever plans I had for a career or life outside the home. Unlike fathers, mothers are punished more severely professionally, and what more a mother of four and a mother of triplets. I haven’t had a chance to acknowledge or discuss at length how resentful I feel about parenting a big family so suddenly.
I write a lot about overcoming our struggles and overcoming our odds but part of the healing process is also acknowledging my deepest and darkest feelings, and I believe we all have them. Its just whether we allow it to rear its ugly head and confront it head-on. Its important for me to share this even though it paints a very negative image of myself because as a person I am made up of so many contradicting emotions and to understand me, is to understand all these conflicting feelings. And I do truly feel resentful but I feel I have nowhere to shift the blame because my triplets did not ask to be born together. So I’m not even sure where to vent those feelings of anger and frustration when they come.
And then there are all those words of support from everyone and I know they come from a well-meaning place: “Oh you are so blessed, so many people can’t even have one child and you were given three at a go”; or “Oh, but it will be all worth it”; or “Oh, you are doing the most important job in the world”; and “Oh, they will grow up so fast and you’ll miss these early days.” They are all absolutely right and I do feel grateful, blessed and I do take motherhood seriously and wholeheartedly. But a little piece of me still feels a bit cheated and unvalidated. Its a bit like ripping off my arm without warning and telling me to be grateful I still have one more arm and how my life can still be full with that one arm. Probably a morbid comparison but its all I can think of right now.
I think I will probably close this open wound called resentment one day, and I plan to share it with my daughters when they are old enough to understand that being their mother was no picnic in the park. For better or for worst, I truly struggled. It might have made me a stronger person, maybe even a better and more efficient parent, but its also made me feel the pain of opportunity cost like never before.
This Mother’s Day, I don’t need validation from my daughters, my husband or my friends that I’m a good mother. This Mother’s Day I need to figure out what to do with my feelings of resentment.