After I wrote How is Motherhood, a friend of mine sent an email where she asked me very sincerely and honestly:
What story do you want to tell?
When I wrote my How is Motherhood post, I wrote it from a place of still trying to figure out my response to the question. I was unsure of the answer I needed to give and the answer I wanted to give. But she simplified it for me, there are no expectations except for the story that I want to tell, and I get to decide how beautifully honest it is. And beautifully honest is what I’ve decided my story is.
Becoming a mother has been one of the most mentally challenging experiences I’ve gone through. When I found out I was pregnant I felt completely detached from the little baby growing inside of me. I knew there was a piece of me that loved her, and when we were told she might be sick I knew I loved her more than I was willing to admit. But I still felt like I wasn’t supposed to be doing this, this wasn’t my dream. When she was born, it wasn’t love at first sight (I had prepared myself for this) and when I looked at her there wasn’t a moment of recognition either. My thought was, ‘there you are, and here I am – let’s do this, I guess’. There was a lot of hesitation and a bit of anticipation.
Then there was the newborn stage, those crazy six weeks of intense crying that seems to get worse with each week that passes. I knew she would cry…but this was something else. Thank goodness someone told me it peaks at six weeks then starts to back off, I had an end in sight to work towards. In between those cries there were sweet moments of just staring at her and cuddling her tiny little body next to mine. Wrapping a itty bitty diaper around her waist and feeling like it was too big for her (new moms, tuck one of those diapers away for a keepsake, you’ll thank yourself later). And in those moments I felt that I can do this, and I can enjoy every moment of the good and bad.
I had assumed, because I had never wanted children, that I’d hate every moment and I had prepared myself for the worst case scenario possible. I had never dreamed of this and knew that raising a baby isn’t easy, that our life wouldn’t just be the two of us, our time and attention would constantly be pulled between our wants and what she wants, that traveling and staying out late will become less spontaneous and more planned, and the endurance, the fact that it never ends, will take a toll on me and my relationships.
But there I was, actually enjoying the simple sweet moments and the hardships of a baby while loving being a mother. It took me awhile to allow myself to admit, that I truly loved being a mother and wouldn’t have it any other way.
I do feel like I was born to be a mother, day in and day out. A lot of what I do in intuitive and from experience of helping raise my brothers. There are hard moments and some days I do want to run away as fast as I can, but somehow I always find myself pulling her close to my chest to breathe in the sweet scent of her instead.
The biggest thing I’ve learned is to take it moment by moment. When I was labour, it was a moment that I knew would end and it helped me get through. When she cried from her digestive issues, I would hold and cuddle her because I knew eventually, perhaps momentarily or an hour from now it would end. When she would sleep on my chest in the first early weeks, I would soak it all up as I knew one day she wouldn’t fit there anymore. When we started sleep training, again, I knew some day she would be able to fall asleep on her own. When breastfeeding was horrible and painful, I cried as I fed her through the pain, because I knew one day she wouldn’t need to suckle from my breast any more.
Each day is somehow filled with sweet joyful moments that shine away the moments of desperation and confusion. Once I started to take away the noise of advice from baby books and expectations of others I’ve flourished into the type of mother I want to be.
This is my story of Motherhood. Something I never dreamed of wanting, but has become the best dream come true I didn’t know I needed.