PERFECT PARENT: MY THOUGHTS ON MOTHERHOOD.
Happy Wednesday! I have missed writing so much and am glad to be back at it this week! I did not realize that I took off all last week until my mother notified me that I had not had a post in ten days!! Honestly, I have so much I want to share with Perfect 10 readers, it is just hard to find a chunk of time to sit down and do it. When I have a few minutes here or there I have a hard time getting in the writing mode-- something I've never struggled with (knock on wood). Put a pen and paper in front of me and I will just go!
On Monday night, however, I had the wonderful opportunity to get a massage and come home and write like a mad woman. I was answering emails, writing posts, and organizing my thoughts. I was in heaven!
Here are some of the posts I have been working on and you can expect to see: a typical day for Little Miss and Me, my greatest struggle as a new mom, breastfeeding tips, sleeping tips, postpartum success tips, baby product reviews, adjustments in marital relationships and more!!!
The past nine weeks have been the most amazing weeks of my life. I can wholeheartedly say that I LOVE BEING A MOM!!! The transition to motherhood has been smooth--much smoother than I anticipated. I will be sharing more about what made it so smooth later because right now I want to focus on my views on motherhood.
While pregnant I kept trying to picture what it would be like to have a baby in our lives. Several times a week I would stop Jesse and say something along the lines of, "holy moly! Our lives are going to change so much with this baby girl" or when we were sitting on the couch watching The Mindy Project, "Jesse, our baby is going to be here 24/7!!!"
Nothing could have prepared me for the feelings of motherhood. Nothing. No matter how many times I would pester Jesse to try and grasp what it would be like could have prepared me for how magical, amazing, thrilling and natural it has been to have Lillian join us.
I also spent a lot of time reflecting on my own identity. Like, a lot of time reflecting on it. How would I feel being a mother?? I felt like all my sex appeal, the little I had, was on its way to zero-- fast! How would I feel that a label and preconceived notions about moms would be thrust upon me? I had moments where I questioned if I was going to like or dislike having an identity that I could not change.
Pregnancy is amazing because it prepares you for so many aspects of postpartum life. Being pregnant helped me slowly identify with the woman I was growing to be; as my body changed and prepared to welcome Little Miss Lillian, so did my heart. When she arrived I spent the first day in disbelief. True disbelief. How was this real?!
As soon as we left the hospital I had lost the identity of "pregnant woman" and had donned a new identity-- "new mom". (My mom is going to kill me for saying this because she always says keep the blog classy, but...) I F-ing LOVE being a MOM!!
I love having Lillian July in my life. I love being her person. I love that I know her so well. And I love that I will have the fortune to keep on getting to know her and see her grow into a lovely woman. I love breastfeeding and the secret handshake we have as she's in my arms. I love making her smile. I love holding her and thinking to myself one day she is going to get married. I love wondering what her profession will be and what city she'll live in (puh-lease let it be San Francisco!). I'm curious to know if she'll be fluent in another language or if she'll have a favorite subject in school that takes her down an incredible path.
The funny thing is that I also wholeheartedly love the every day tasks of motherhood (this might piss people off)-- I love getting up in the middle of the night for feedings. I always feel like it's our time together and we are the only two in our little world. I love changing diapers. I love burping her. I love folding her tiny clothes. I love giving her a bath or a lotion rubdown.
Most people think of newborns as just enormous blobs that need someone to take care of them 24/7. I realized pretty early on, at about two weeks, that Lillian is a person. I see her as an individual who is slowly revealing herself to me. I can't describe it more than that. I feel no sadness at her growing body, unlike other moms who I have heard say with sadness, "he's gotten SO big!!"
Just like I never complained about my pregnancy, I never complain about motherhood and the daily duties and long term goals. Each day is a gift and I am so happy and grateful to see more of my daughter.
I sometimes feel like that scene in Field of Dreams when Kevin Costner crosses the line and he can't go back. I have crossed the line into motherhood and feel like I have been enlightened. I call my sister Caitlin daily and apologize for my lack of understanding and criticism I naively cast upon her BC (before children). I sometimes get caught in a long winding daydream about all of these past memories I have and now they seem to click into place and I finally understand.
My coworker and friend Gina said to me that after having a child you feel incomplete until your child is back in your arms. She said this to me when Lillian was just a few weeks old. I have learned that nothing is more true than Gina's statement. My heart aches when Lillian and I are apart. It truly aches. But I always answer that ache by asking myself, "what is best for my daughter?". I know that when she is in the arms of friends and family who love me and love her even more, than I can stand a little ache for her growth.
When I run into a store and Jesse is outside with Lillian I want to tell everyone, "I'm a mom! My baby is outside!!!" because now I want people to know I am a mom. It's the biggest part of me. I get why moms wear necklaces of their children's names-- something I used to scoff at-- it's because it's a symbol of saying I am mother, hear me roar!
While being a mother has brought me such great joy these past few weeks, it has often left me struck with moments of deep sadness. Like I said, motherhood has brought me enlightenment and as a result I cannot help but feel deep pain for mothers who have lost a child, or who's children disown them or children who hate their mothers, I mean truly hate them. The intense love of motherhood also opens up the potential for severe heartbreak. Something I pray every day that I can avoid with my relationship with Lillian.
Finally, motherhood has given me a genuine appreciation, fascination, and admiration for my own mother and the women in my lives who have been like mothers to me. My mom made it look so easy. And EVERY TIME I see my mom I ask her how she had five kids. Growing up it seemed like it was no big deal. But now as I contemplate the love I have for Lillian and our new family of three, I am in awe of the authentic and consistent love my mom gave all of us. I hope to pass on all of the love and heart to my Lillian.
With lots of love and appreciation that you took the time to read this,