As I make my way through this journey called motherhood, so much has been revealed to me in three short months. It is everything I expected, and everything I didn’t expect, all at the same time. I love my little boy so much that it hurts; I have never experienced anything like it in my life. Oftentimes, when I’m holding him, I think of that line from Love, Actually, where Mark tells Juliet “to me, you are perfect”. That part of the movie always made me feel like someone was squeezing my heart, because it was so achingly beautiful, and now I really know how that feels. While it sounds all flowery and poetic, I’m not saying that every minute of every day has been perfect. Far from it, actually. It’s just that, no matter what happens, the tears (his AND mine), the spit-up, the diapers, and the all-too-often monotonous routine, at the end of each day, I am in awe about the kind of love I have for my son. A true unconditional love that supersedes any of the frustration that comes with being a first-time mom, and makes you excited (ok, maybe “excited” is the wrong word when you’re still waking up in the middle of the night…) to do it all over again the next day.
Up until very recently, I held on to a pretty big secret, as far as motherhood goes. It nagged at me on a daily basis, but I didn’t dare talk to anyone about it, for fear that I would be viewed as a bad mother. Like something was wrong with me, or that I wasn’t doing it “right”. This may come as a HUGE shock to those of you who know me, but I can be pretty tight-lipped and secretive, in terms of what’s going on with me. I will often reassure people that everything is “fine,” when that really isn’t actually the case. I don’t like other people to worry, or feel like they need to help me “fix” something. I know that I am an extremely capable person, so when something goes awry, or doesn’t go as planned, I feel the need to make it seem like everything is ok. And that is exactly what I had been doing for the last three months. When you’re pregnant, and after your baby is born, everyone tells you how wonderful and amazing it all is. And it is. Just not all the time. I was really struggling with the fact that there were times during the day that I did NOT find wonderful or amazing. I was getting stressed out, and would occasionally be brought to tears, because he was extra fussy, and nothing I was doing seemed to help. I started being plagued by guilt, because I was getting frustrated and wasn’t enjoying every single minute with him. Before he was born, I assumed that I would have some “down time” during the day, and I soon found out that this “down time” I was seeking was quite elusive. Apparently, newborns are quite demanding. Who knew?! 😉 In any case, I felt like I must be doing something very wrong, and it wasn’t until I opened up about it (“opened up” is code for “it started pouring out of me in the form of tired tears”) that I started to hear that I was not such an anomaly after all. Apparently, other moms DID get frustrated! They also had times during the day that they did NOT enjoy! You do now know how happy this made me, to find out that I really wasn’t that different after all.
It’s always so cathartic for me to admit things, as hard as it might be for me to get to that point. Once I overcame that, and let go of the pride associated with doing everything just right, I instantly became happier and felt like a much better mom. Hearing people’s “war stories” was so beneficial to me, and they let me know that I really am doing just fine. As I sit here, looking at my sweet little boy, I am unshowered (and very likely, have spit-up on my shirt), but my heart is so full, and I know that I am doing it just right.