Motherhood. I was a little late joining this hood. It had always seemed like an elusive and exclusive club where I didn’t know the lingo or the handshake. Some moms I knew handled motherhood like they were born for it. Some moms made me surprised their kids survived each day. I knew my journey of pregnancy would one day end in motherhood. Questions continually loomed in my mind…Would I be ready? Was anyone ever ready? Was my entire life about to change in ways I couldn’t even imagine?
My first month of motherhood was awful. I could try and sugar coat it and find the good in it, but I’ll be honest. It was the hardest thing I’ve done in my life.
I went two weeks past my due date.
I was in labor for 4 days.
I eventually had to have a C-section.
My baby lost a pound of weight in the hospital so we had supplement formula until my milk came in and feed her every two hours. Wake her up and feed her every two hours.
A week later, I got shingles. Couldn’t hold my baby without gauze, tape, and a scarf covering my infected skin.
My baby couldn’t latch to nurse because of a tongue tie & lip tie, so I was pumping to bottle all. day. long.
I began to fear that I wouldn’t be able to bond & connect with my daughter.
My incredibly helpful husband got the flu during one of the deadliest flu seasons in Florida’s history.
And I had a newborn.
And I was learning how to be a mom.
And I was trying to get some amount of sleep every night.
That was the first four weeks of my baby’s life. I can hardly remember a minute of it. Somewhere in there was Christmas, New Years, newborn photos, and family visiting from out of town. I wanted out of this new hood immediately.
My baby got her tongue & lip tie corrected and could nurse really well.
My shingles healed.
My husband didn’t have the flu and could resume sharing the responsibility of parenthood with me again
My baby gained weight and we could let her sleep.
My baby began sleeping over 8 hours a night before she was 2 months old.
I began to feel human again. It’s amazing what sleep and a shower can do for your outlook on life. I began to bond with this little human until she permanently embedded herself in my heart and soul. Maybe some moms are attached from the moment they see their little one. It took me a few weeks. But now, I fiercely love my little bird like only a mama bird can.
Motherhood has changed me, but not exactly how I expected. I am still me…with my own dreams, desires, identity, and passions. But I’ve been expanded. I’ve been added to. My dreams & desires now have a spot for this little girl. I see myself including her in my passions & vision for life. She doesn’t define me, but she has broadened me.
No, I can’t sleep uninterrupted until 11am on a Saturday anymore. I can’t pick up and go at moment’s notice. I really can’t be away from her for more than 2 hours without having pumped breastmilk over a few days in advance. I can’t make decisions without thinking about how it effects her. My body looks nothing like I wish it would. But I can feel new joy when she smiles at me. I can experience protectiveness when something bothers or hurts her. I can laugh out loud at the smallest things she does. I can sit for hours watching her. I can take hundreds of photos of her. I can inspire her to be bold, wise, creative, funny, and kind. What an honor.
With each passing month I learn a little more about this babe in my care. I am learning the quirks of her personality, her expressions, her cries and her laughs. And she is learning about me, and her dad, and about the wide world around her. As we prepare to move back to the country where we’ve made our home, I’m full of concerns and worries. But I’m also full of excitement and anticipation. I can’t wait for her to grow up in this new culture. To be bilingual from birth. To have a view of the world that I didn’t have until I was an adult. I know there’s going to be more hard months, maybe even as bad as that first one. But as each day goes by, I feel more equipped to handle those hard moments. I’m not in this alone. I have a faith that grounds me and a husband who supports me and helps me raise our daughter. I have a community of resources and a peace that passes all understanding.
Many songs have filled my heart and sustained me during this season of new mommy hood. Songs that I’ve danced with and songs that I’ve cried with. But the one I continually play on repeat and sing over my little daughter is called “Life” by Sleeping At Last.
There is so much to tell you.
There is so much to see.
We will show you the oceans, and everything in between.
What a privilege to love you,
To teach you all that we know.
To watch you build a collection of dreams that you can call your own.
Stay tuned for more posts about our little world traveler!