I'm a MOM!!!!!

6:33 PM

Every once in a while, a person comes into your life who is meant to be there.  For me, that person is my friend Erin.  Erin and I met in high school, and became friends during a shared Spanish class.  I fell in love with her Daria-esque sense of humor.  Although she was quiet, she was wise beyond her years, and I always admired that about her.  

Over the years, we ran into each other here and there.  We shared a cup of coffee and talked about life when these chance encounters happened.  Three months ago, my husband and I walked into the waiting room of the doctor who performed surgery on Jane on the third day she was alive.  As I hovered over the twins, trying to get them settled, I felt a gentle touch on my arm.  After YEARS of being apart, there stood my old friend Erin. She looked exactly the same, but more at peace (if that was even possible for her).  Her big, brown, kind eyes were staring at me, and I immediately grabbed her and hugged her.  

Every day since, we have shared text messages about mommyhood, marriage, LBG blog posts, and life.  Over Instagram she shared a desire to write, and I immediately jumped on the opportunity to ask her to write a guest post for my blog.  

The following is her post.  It is achingly honest, and I have to admit:  By the end of it, I had tears in my eyes.  I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did, and that she will do me the honor of writing more posts for me to share in the future.  Hers is most definitely a voice that is meant to be heard.

I remember the exact moment I felt myself become a mother. I was sitting in a tiny bathroom, holding a pregnancy test in my shaking hand. I knew exactly what that stick was going to reveal, but I was in heavy denial. There’s no way, I kept repeating to myself. There’s just no way. But the little digital screen proved me so wrong. It read “pregnant” in miniscule yet terrifying letters. I could not have picked a worse time if I tried. And believe me, I hadn’t been trying. But the screen confirmed what my heart already knew. I was pregnant. I was a mother.

My husband and I were pretty much on the same page about never having kids. We decided we liked living selfishly, coming and going as we pleased. Kids weren’t really on the radar. Besides, we had just saved all of our pennies for the upcoming year. My husband quit his long-standing job, leaving his lucrative career to go back to school. I was going to support us for a while on my (significantly) lesser salary as well as carry our health benefits. All was going according to plan, until his first week of school when I decided to stop procrastinating and buy the pregnancy test. I had been conning myself for a few weeks, denying all of the signs and symptoms. I chalked them up to stress or a recent virus. Anything but the P word.
The moment I knew I really was carrying a baby and not some rare, imaginary tumor, I felt motherhood descend upon me like a slab of stone. There was no turning back. Even if something bad were to happen to this pregnancy, I had just felt myself become a mother. This infinitesimal shift which was as microscopic as it was enormous. Going forward, I was now and would always be a mother.

My pregnancy was smooth physically. I was one of those lucky few who never had morning sickness or even a swollen ankle. Emotionally, I was a wreck. I worried about everything from finances, to going back to work with a newborn at home, to how this little newcomer would affect my marriage. On and on, I frayed my nerves with worry. I cried myself to sleep more nights than I would like to admit. And then I cried some more because I felt so guilty. Wasn't I supposed to be overjoyed? Wasn't I supposed to be glowing with expectant radiance? I felt more like a thundercloud than a ray of sunshine. Heavy, gray, and ready to down pour at a moment’s notice.

My son’s birth was easy also. I labored for about 8 hours total, pretty good for a first-timer. I came away with no tears or cuts that the eye could see and the most perfect little boy I could ever imagine. His skin was untouched, not a mar or a mark to be found. His eyes were bright blue, and he had a blond curl right in the center of his forehead, just like a poem my grandmother used to recite to me. He weighed barely 6 lbs, and when they put him in my arms the first thing I exclaimed was, “He’s so tiny!”

I wish I could say it was love at first sight and all of my anxieties and fears melted away in that moment, but that would not be truthful. I did love the baby. He was the cutest little thing so sweet and dreamy. He slept most of the time while we were in the hospital, and my husband couldn't take his eyes off of him. I stared too. He was fascinating and beautiful. But I was exhausted physically and mentally. I knew he was mine and I was his, but I could not imagine how my life was going to go from here. I felt like I entered the hospital as one person but was leaving as someone totally different. Trouble was, I didn't know who this new person was supposed to be. What was she going to look like, sound like, act like? My future was a complete mystery.

It took time to figure it all out. And if there is one thing I could go back and explain to my former self it is this: it’s okay to take your time! Life after a new baby (especially a “surprise” one), is chaos. It is supposed to be that way. Everyone needs time to adjust including the baby. Take your time. I felt a tremendous amount of pressure to figure everything out right away. I wanted everything to be perfect before I had to return to work, as if we were all static like little dolls living in a plastic house. I want my former self to know that things are continually evolving, always, all the time, whether you have a baby or not. Life after a baby keeps unfolding and changing, rapidly at first. It was a little too rapid for me to keep my balance, but eventually, I found it and things really did get better.

My son and I are inseparable now. He turned one last month, and I feel that all-encompassing love and devotion that I wanted to feel back when he was a newborn. A lot of it has to do with being on a schedule and having some routine back in my life. That helped me to find the balance I was desperately seeking in the early days. And a lot of it has to do with gaining patience, which comes, I think, with experience. Every night I spent feeding him, every diaper change, every tear and giggle has stitched its way around my heart, and I find that I have grown to adapt to the situation. I had to let go of some expectations for perfection, and let me tell you, I had a death grip on those expectations. I had to loosen my grasp and let some air in. I had to reassess what was important to me and why. I found little pathways to do motherhood my own way. I found ways to still be myself and a mother both. And it took time. But I think the best things in life have to be earned.

I like to think that I am back to my old self now, only better. I still look like me, talk like me, act like me. I am wiser, more patient, and more loving. Becoming a mother stopped me in my tracks for a little while, and now I find that it propels me forward and inspires me to reach even greater heights. It’s a feeling I could never have imagined back in that tiny bathroom almost two years ago. It’s a unique, powerful feeling, and for it, I am forever glad.

You Might Also Like