Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Mother Of All Mothers Of A Post

A year ago today I didn't know something that would change our lives forever. I spent last Mother's Day sad and depressed because we had just decided to give up on the possibility of having a family. I figured I would never experience someone making me clay hand prints painted red and construction paper cards reading "I Love You Mom," and I was trying to be okay with that. I would use this special day to honor the important women in my life, my mother, my grandmother and my MIL and know that I didn't need to be a mother myself to enjoy the day.

Little did I know I would be here, one year later, with an almost four month-old beautiful baby girl, ready to celebrate my first of many Mother's Days to come. It is amazing how quickly everything can change. How so completely your life can be one thing one minute and something else entirely the next. I think back one year ago and I feel like a different person from that sad woman who was trying to convince herself she didn't need a child to feel whole. But now that I am a mother I can't ever imagine not being one.

That being said, it hasn't been a whole bucket of roses. Being a mom is awesome, yes. Most of the time. But parts of this new job I "volunteered" for, frankly, suck. I knew there would be challenges, hurdles and set-backs, but in my idealized Disney-loving mind I never fully grasped how hard things could become. Silly me envisioned cute clothes and brisk walks in the stroller, people ohhing and ahhing over our cute little pint. And that sunny picture does happen. But the dark side never reared its ugly head in my fantasies. Even with all the babysitting and nannying I did for fifteen-odd years did nothing to prepare me for the first time I really felt like I wanted to throw my baby across the room.

*gasp* Things are getting real here.

Don't worry your little heads. I would never EVER hurt my baby. NEVER. But that doesn't mean the frustration of her failing to latch, screaming her head off and me having little sleep didn't make that thought pop into my head. And I immediately put Babycakes in a safe spot and stepped away to catch my breath and of course felt like a horrible horrible person and the worst mother ever after. I even ended up crying as much as she was and apologized to her over and over for even entertaining a negative thought about her adorableness. I was shocked, shocked, to have such a thought enter my brain. And here was my first lesson in motherhood. It's not always sunshine and smiles.

The whole first month of Babycakes' life I struggled with these feelings of inadequacy and failure. Our troubles with breastfeeding (More on this soon. Yay a whole post about BOOBS!) were some of the toughest days of my life. Tougher than anything I had to do in school or with my job. Because it was just all so frustrating. I was trying to feed her. Trying to HELP her, and she fought me all. the. time. There were times I would yell at her "Don't you understand it's for your own good?" while sobbing over her own frustrated cries. And yet another lesson in Mommyhood. Kids often don't do what they should. I was going to have to work with her and help her and be patient. Patience, admittedly my worst virtue, is something I would have to work on. Somehow I found the strength to push through and find that patience and we finally succeeded. Another mommy lesson learned, don't give up. Patience and perseverance. I'm sure I'll be using both of those traits often in the years to come.

I'll admit there were times I didn't really like my daughter. I would wonder what we got ourselves into as she woke up again after only sleeping a half hour and demanded more MORE from me. Or worry we made a huge mistake when I had to change her clothes for the fourth time in one day due to some hazardous substance oozing in all the wrong places all over her cute outfits. Charming and I were happy as a couple. We had a good life. Why the hell did we want to upset that? But there was no going back and we were stuck in this life and would I ever be happy again? Because in the whirlwind of her birth and NICU stay, I hadn't really had the time or energy to stop and consider my feelings toward finally being a mom. And then we dropped headfirst into breastfeeding troubles and fears and issues and I began to wonder would I ever settle down and start loving this? Would I ever stop feeling like a cow/disposal expert/sleepless zombie and bond with her? Did I even WANT her now that she was here? Did I still resent her for not being a boy? I worried I was seeped in postpartum depression. That the reality of a baby was nothing like my fantasy and I didn't want this life changing thing anymore. I worried that I was never going to feel like a mother to this screaming, inconsolable, needy thing. I was never going to be a real mom.

And then one day, Babycakes looked at me. Nothing special about it except that it felt like she REALLY looked at me. Like she was saying with those big blue eyes of hers, hey you, I'm here now, love me. And I looked back and drowned in the sea that is her eyes and was lost. I fell hard and fast and realized all the frustration and worry and problems stemmed from this incredible, bottomless love I felt for this defenseless creature. I loved her so much I wanted everything to be perfect and great because she deserves the best and I couldn't deliver. In that instant, the depth of my love for her consumed me and allowed me to see that no matter what happened between us, no matter how many times I felt like I was failing her, I would always love her and she would always love me.

And with that one look I discovered the best part about being a mom. And not just any mom, but Babycakes' mom. My baby. My darling. My heart. My little everything. I love you and I'm so happy you picked me to be your mom.

Happy Mother's Day to all the incredible, hard-working moms out there. You all make it look so effortless but I now know the real work behind the scenes. Every day you fight to be the best mother you can be. Here's to me one day kicking ass too!

And to my own mom, I love you and I'm sorry for any trouble I ever gave you in my whole life. I am paying for it now ten-fold (much to your glee I'm sure.) I also see how hard you worked at letting me be me and I hope I can pass along the same wonderful lessons you gave me to my own daughter. Love you mom! Thanks for everything.

2 Sprinkles:

Jen said...

Congratulations! and HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!!!!!!

You made it!

Anonymous said...

I got something in both my eyes, after reading not just this post but part two of birthing....must be all the dust here in Hawaii


Carla E