As a first time Mom, you have these expectations. From the desire to love every part of motherhood and this new journey to balancing it all to never losing yourself. Then motherhood happens and you find that things aren’t always going to be sunshine and happiness. It’s in those sleep deprived hours that you find yourself wondering what you’ve got yourself into. The next thing you know, your tired mind starts running wild and the thought crosses you mind “What if I’m not made to be a Mama?”.
Let that sink in for a second. This is supposed to be the happiest time of your life. You are a mother. You’ve experienced a miracle in that of growing a baby. You have this precious new little one to love and dote on yet you can’t kick the feeling that you might be in over your head. Not only has this been my mindset before but over the last 3 years, I thought this often. I wonder who God thinks I am to bless me with a son that doesn’t sleep, is the pickiest of eaters and likes to push limits on a daily basis. Why didn’t I get a child that was sweet as sunshine and easy to raise? Because God knows me and knows that I am not one to back down.
It’s when you are in the trenches that you often think, “I didn’t sign up for this!”. Your newborn doesn’t have that new baby smell. No, he smells like soy formula and acid reflux medicine from his constant spit up. Your 3 month catches a virus that lands him the hospital. Your chubby sweet baby gets his first 4 teeth all within a week while you are on vacation. Your toddler who loves the outdoors has the worst allergies this side of the Mississippi and no amount of medicine helps. All the while, you wonder what you did in your previous life to deserve such horrible luck?
Once that thought of doubt takes hold, more moments of “what if” sneak in. What if this is the wrong? What if I should have done this instead? What if we aren’t giving him enough this or that”. The flood gates of self-doubt have opened up and before you know it you are truly questioning your sanity, your intentions and looking for the nearest exit.
Not only are you doubting your ability to raise this little human but you’ve lost all track of who you are a person. Showering, working out, your hobbies, all become chores that you have to squeeze in. You start to wonder if you are ever going to be able to be “you again”, not realizing that the old you is gone and the new you – Momma, playmate, friend – is so much more amazing than you every realized. But you are so far removed from reality, thanks to little sleep and next to no energy, that you don’t see this as ever being the case.
But then something happens. He starts sleeping all night. You’ve showered 5 days in a row before 10PM. You even wore makeup once. Those rough phases, the ones you thought would never pass, do and parenting is sunshine and happiness. Day after day you make new memories, you learn that you can love even at your most unlovable moments. You find humor in moments that once would have brought you to tears. You discover and finally embrace that fact that you are exactly what your child needs. That God gave you the child He made especially for you. This child is the one you are to love, cherish, support and nourish.
In a blink of an eye, our little love went from being a newborn to a 3-year-old who gives the best “squeezes”, is amazingly smart and tells a killer knock knock joke. At times, I wonder how we got here. The answer is day by day. As a first time Mom, I didn’t have previous experience to get me through the rough patches. I didn’t know the parenting mantra of “these too shall pass”. What I did have was someone that I loved fiercely. Someone that loved me just as much.