Wednesday, September 26, 2012

That Whole Mom Thing.

I feel like I need to take this moment to... just be honest:

Some women are really into the whole mom thing.

And some crazy women even love the whole newborn stage that goes along with it.

My daughter is 7 months and 2 days old, and I can NOW officially say that I love being a mother.

My pregnancy was hard, but not hard enough to damper my excitement of meeting my baby girl.

Even after the trauma of an emergency C-section, I was still elated that I had a tiny, warm, little baby to bring home. When the Social Worker came in to talk to me about post-partum depression and how to seek help, I was slightly offended, especially when she repeatedly insisted I was a young mother; is 27 really that young? I brushed her off and went back to paging my nurse for morphine.

Before the baby was here, Preston and I tried to prepare ourselves in every way for Emilia. We did a pretty good job on stocking up on diapers, parenting books, blankies, and onesies. But no matter how much advice we asked for and took, we just weren't prepared for the things that we found to be the hardest. Isn't that always the case?

Once home, and without the aide of a nurse, family, or friends, my husband gone at work, I'd look at my baby and cry, just a few tears. I was so filled to overflowing with love for her, but I was also filled with sadness, guilt, and grief.

In my first weeks as a new mom, I'd apologize to Emilia over and over. "I'm so sorry we didn't get you out quick enough." "I'm so sorry I didn't get to hold you for your first 4 hours." "I'm so sorry I suck at breastfeeding." "I'm so sorry I can't carry you down the steps so we can go outside." "I'm so sorry I am eating chocolate again." Guilt. Loads of it.

My husband would come home and find me in tears, kissing the baby and apologizing. "She doesn't know what you're talking about, Lauren. Go to bed." He'd remind me that she was ok, perfectly healthy and happy, and just glad to be with us.

The first month or two was the hardest. Months three and four were a bit better, but not much. I thank God that I have a patient husband, and that I moved to Cleveland - where my mom was waiting to help with Em so I could sleep.

Finally sleep. If I get jolted out of my sleep even a minute before I'm expecting to wake, I feel as though I've been morally wronged. I'm a fully grown adult woman with a master's degree and I still get cranky and cry when I'm robbed of precious dozing minutes.

After four months of wrestling with the fact that my baby just wasn't getting enough milk, I gave her a bottle. And she slept. She slept almost 4 or 5 hours, which was - to me- a luxury more fantastical than golden unicorns dancing on rainbows that lead to piles of whipped cream.

And then, one day when Emilia was about 5 1/2 months, I looked back at her baby book and realized I hadn't written much, and the things I did write didn't sound much like me at all. Maybe I shouldn't have gotten so upset at the social worker after all? However, I still don't consider myself a young mother, for real - that makes me sound 16 and pregnant. The thought finally crossed my mind, maybe these baby blues are the real deal.

My love for Emilia never wavered. From the moment I knew she was to be, I wanted her. I couldn't wait to see her face in the morning, I loved to hold her, and I would've done anything to protect her. But in all honesty, the first few months sucked real bad:

I had nightmares, had a minor tear in my surgery scar internally, a seriously bloated and hurting tummy, an entire apartment full of dirty laundry, and a Very. Gassy. Baby. I felt so alone. When my mom went back to Ohio, I cried for hours. I called and begged her to come back. Needless to say, the warm dinners brought over to us in those first weeks by people from church (some by other moms I didn't even know) are some of the deepest blessings I have ever received. I wanted to throw myself at the people on my doorstep and give them the biggest hug ever, except I couldn't really move.

When Emilia would go down for a nap, I'd pray "God help me please. I can't do this." I would sit there until the panic would pass over me, gritting my teeth and hoping for less pain and a better day tomorrow.

Now that we are about to move into our own home, I am beginning to feel the lightness of heart that I had forgotten. It's a feeling of peace coming over me that I have longed for for quite some time.

This morning, I went to get Emilia dresed for the day and it hit me. She is ok. I am ok. We are going to be ok. Also, this mother thing is really cool. Like, cooler than I thought it ever could be. And - in all sincerity, I am so so glad to have this baby.

What a relief.

Preston took us to the zoo, and every time we got to a new exhibit, I would exclaim "I've never seen an elephant before!" "I've never seen a lion before!" He let me go on for awhile until he turned to me kind of laughing and reminded me "Lauren. You are at the zoo. You aren't supposed to see these animals in every day life."

When we got to the flamingoes, I kept my confession a secret ("I've never seen a flamingo before"). I just smiled and took in the beauty, so happy to have a sticky little baby in a stroller with banana puffs stuck to her cheeks.

No comments:

Post a Comment