Wednesday, April 1, 2015

On How to Become a Mother.

A few days ago I took a nap with my precious girl. I don't generally do this but for whatever reason I did that day. As I tried to coax my overtired, cranky, beasty baby to sleep I thought about the last 7 months of having this girl in my life.

Ever since I was a little girl I couldn't imagine anything more rewarding than being a mother. I thought I wanted to be a doctor for a while, maybe a biologist, or even stay with firefighting. But none of those felt quite right because I truly wanted nothing more than to be a mom. When we found out that we were expecting I was beyond ecstatic; this was it! I was finally doing what I was put on this earth to do. I went through all the morning sickness, the first kick, the little baby hiccups, seeing our baby girl on the ultrasound screen and each time I felt this small feeling of excitement. But it was just that--small. I told myself over and over again that it was simply because I wasn't experiencing it with my husband and as soon as he was here to enjoy it with me I would be overwhelmed with excitement. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't dreading it (not completely because let's be honest who isn't terrified of becoming a parent and totally screwing up a perfect human being?) but I didn't feel like a mom. It just wasn't the feeling I expected.

Riker was able to fly home for her birth and they induced me to make sure he wouldn't miss it on his limited leave. Labor came on strong and hard (25 hours of it) and then suddenly I was holding this beautiful, perfect, squirmy little girl. "Here it is, finally," I thought, "I'm a mother.... But I don't feel like it still." I was holding this tiny human and I felt my heart connected to hers in a way I had never felt my heart connected to someone and yet I just felt...defeated.

Addi took to breastfeeding like it was her one and only purpose on earth (which I suppose for the time being it was) but I still got mastitis which turned to an abscess that had to be drained. But I stuck with it because I'm stubborn and just had to do it but I once again felt...defeated. It happened over and over again when I accidentally clipped her finger instead of her fingernail or when I put her diaper on inside out and I told myself once again that it was because Riker wasn't there with me to enjoy it all. Surely once we were all together as a family and nothing was missing I would feel like a mom.

While I was thinking over all of these things I fell asleep long before my little one. And when I woke up and I gazed at this sweet babe who had little dried tears in the corner of her eyes and her hand wrapped in my hair for comfort it struck me, "I'm a mother." And I didn't feel defeated. At least not until the next morning when I hadn't realized Riker had gotten out of bed because I was still asleep and woke up to the loud crash of Addi rolling off the bed. As I held my crying baby and tried to calm her down to no avail I felt that sense of defeat again. That pang grew even stronger when Riker took her from me and she stopped crying immediately (he is totally her favorite).

As I sat and watched the two of them, though, I felt that feeling rise in my chest again and I understood, finally, what a mother is. A mother isn't a perfect being (except for my mother, she totally rocks). A mother is full of love. A mother tries every day even if it ends up with her and her baby crying. A mother is learning. I had this idea that I would BE A MOM when I had Addi but in reality you aren't suddenly just a mother. You BECOME a mother. Some women feel that, "I'm a mother" feeling long before others but the truth is that you become a mother through each tear (either yours or your babe's), through each tumble (like when Addi rolled out of bed), through each giggle and smile, and each time she wraps her tiny fingers in your hair because that is her favorite place to be.

I'm becoming a mother which is something I never expected. I didn't think I would have all the answers but I also didn't realize I would have none of the answers. Some days I feel defeated and I eat leftover pizza for breakfast and I don't shower because Addi screams if I leave the room so I sit there and watch her play (because she doesn't want me to play with her but just sit there. Don't touch her toys unless you have permission!) And other mornings I wake up and I do yoga and I feel totally at peace and I totally rock the whole "mom" thing. I am beyond excited now. I'm overwhelmed each day by a myriad of feelings and they only grow more intense each day. I'm learning; I'm becoming a mom and it is totally as great as I expected.

Our Easter Bunny 

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely beautiful, Chelsea! Thank you so much for sharing.