My husband has an affinity for superheroes and I, by proxy, have grown fond of them as well. Little does Zach know, several months ago he started living with a tried and true superhero of his very own.**
Last year, on our 1 year anniversary honeymoon, I got pregnant and we welcomed our son into the world this past June. Motherhood has truly been a wild ride and one of the clear lessons I’ve learned is that mums are basically superheroes. I know, I know – veteran mums everywhere are thinking: “Duh, Rebecca.” But I have to admit that it wasn’t until I became a mum that I gained a new insight and appreciation into the true identity of mothers. So I thought long and hard about this mum-superhero comparison (initially at 3am and then again during regular day time hours) and I’m confident that it holds true. Here’s why:
1. Alter Egos. This one is obvious – Clark Kent is Superman , Tony Stark is Ironman, Rebecca Wallace is: carrier vessel, milk making feeder, diaper changer, developmental stimulator, baby researcher extraordinaire – the list goes on!
I’m not running a multi-billion dollar empire like Stark, but some days taking care of a baby, maintaining (I use that term very loosely) our home, caring for the cat, and being a functioning person in society makes it feel like I am. Alter ego names for your consideration – Mega Milker, Diaper Maven, The Breastfeeder.
2. We do some of our best work at night. We’re up all hours working like stealth ninjas to keep tiny humans alive. Our bat signal baby monitors call us to duty without limits and then, as dawn breaks, we have to be prepared to operate during regular business hours as well. That’s some Bruce Wayne s%it, right there.
3. We always go back for more. Have you breastfed (or bottle fed) a baby all day, every day for at least a few months? Have you ever been scratched, pinched and/or bitten during the process? Have you ever used a breast pump? Have you ever used one every day? Have you ever cleaned up poop after poop, with an odd sense of pride that your milk is actually working?
Throw everything at us, no holds barred. We’ll take it on and keep coming back for more.
4. We have an abundance of special powers. Pregnancy, labour and delivery, breast milk. ‘Nuff said.
5. We’ve been known to become the Hulk. While pregnant or breastfeeding, if I suddenly became too tired, hungry, or overwhelmed I would become a different person. And, if you asked my poor husband, I’m sure I resembled the angry green guy more than once. Like the Hulk, I always feel terrible once the attack is over but it is truly something that I cannot help. Honey, I’ll try to eat, sleep, and let things go more…I promise.
6. We sacrifice ourselves, no matter the cost. You would do anything for your kid. I mean, their life starts with pushing them out/being cut open to meet them and somehow that’s only the beginning!
And, since I’m here anyway, I experienced a medical emergency 12 days postpartum and ended up having surgery. As I was being wheeled to the OR, 12 day old babe in my arms, I thought “this is madness – how am I ever going to survive?” I wasn’t even thinking about the surgery – I was thinking about parenting! I returned to my room, post surgery, and the first words out of my groggy dry mouth: “Did you have to give him any formula?”
My little story is very small potatoes compared to what some mums have experienced, but I think it shows that motherhood means that you are consumed by thoughts of someone else pretty much all the time, even when under anesthesia! Then, as time goes on, you realize that you’ve still got needs and you have to try to address those without be plagued by guilt. Neither task is easy and mums amazing at getting it done.
7. We work with other heroes. The Avengers are a bad ass hero team and every mum has their own posse. My husband, my mum, family members, friends, online forums that I scour in the middle of the night to find out why oh why (!!!) my child will not sleep – they all count! And trust me, if you’ve had someone bring you a coffee or a meal, let you shower or take a nap, or helped you through a scary surgery or worse, you know that you’ve got other heroes in your midst.
I’ve had the pleasure of watching lots of special women bring babies into the world, with particular attention paid to those shared the experience with me this year. Each one of us has our own unique trials and tribulations, but there is a sameness among us as well. A connection that is super human and extraordinary, every minute of every day. So congratulations, mums! You’re kicking smooth little baby butt all the time and I think you’re (we’re) amazing.
(**Props to my Hubbs, he really does think I’m super)