September 3, 2013

What No One Tells You About Becoming a Mother.

I'm so glad to slowly come back to this space after a nearly 4 month hiatus. I started writing  another post about motherhood before this one. In that piece, I talk about the lessons I've learned being a mother. It's much more fluffy than this post... But I couldn't share it- not yet. I couldn't even finish it. The words felt fake. But I was inspired by this post to speak my truth- not that what I was going to share before this was lies, but I knew I needed to share my whole self, for my sake. So I could finally begin to heal.

I was terribly excited about becoming a mother.

What started out as fear, grew into Love. I was going to be a mother, and it would be magical. 
I imagined myself breastfeeding with a smile. I wouldn't get stressed out or angry when the baby would cry. My transformation into motherhood would be sacred. I would be a beautiful new woman. 

Alexa Eva was born May 22, at 6 something in the morning. My labor was nothing like I thought it would be. Nothing went the way I planned. I imagined a blissful birth in the tub, but ended up on my back in the bed, holding on to my husbands hand for dear life. I did try the tub thing though- I ended up hating it. I ended up hating a lot of things. However, it was beautiful in its own way. Funny enough, the last time I felt beautiful was when I was in labor. That was the last time I truly felt like a woman. I've never felt more present...I've never felt more primal. But boy was that a painful transformation.

What no one tells you about being a mother*

No one tells you the rush of good loving feelings will not last-
When you're struggling to breastfeed, while dealing with "baby blues", while you're bleeding all over yourself, dealing with unwanted company, paranoid about every single thing the baby is doing/feeling- no one tells you the stress makes you feel disconnected from your child.

No one tells you breastfeeding is worse than labor. 
No one tells you the hormones released from constantly feeding your child in the beginning can make you feel like you've gone batshit insane. 

No one tells other people to stop telling you to sleep when the baby sleeps. 
That's easy at first, but over time it just doesn't happen that way. No one tells you that it's still very possible to have insomnia even though you've barely been getting any sleep to begin with.

No one tells you how sleep deprived you'll truly be-
When you're nursing every two hours, and you aren't introducing a bottle to the baby yet, and there really is no such thing as a break... not now. 

No one tells you that you'll break down and loose your shit sooo many times. 
I have screamed and cried right along with my child. I have screamed and cried when she wasn't crying. You'll cry because you haven't slept in weeks and you're in your own custom-made version of hell... and babies don't come with receipts- you can't give them back (not that I'd ever want to give her away). 

No one tells you how bad you'll miss your old life. 
You'll sometimes wish she wasn't around. No one tells you how shitty you'll feel for thinking that. No one tells you how you'll feel like you fail at life because you can't be the supermom you imagined. You have to push back yoga teacher training (again), you'll stop writing for a while, you can't paint, you'll neglect your business, and you'll feel like all the hard work you've put in to creating the life you desired was for nothing. And then you'll try to shut out those thoughts but they won't go away.

No one tells you how much you'll blow people off. 
You'll forget to say thank you to everyone for all the gifts, and sometimes you'll remember, but you won't feel like talking to anyone. You'll take a week (or more) to respond to messages, you'll fear that people now think you're unreliable and won't want anything to do with you anymore. And again, you'll feel shitty. You'll feel alone.

No one tells you that you'll ooze with jealousy every time your spouse leaves the house to go to work. 

No one tells you how messy your house will get, and how lousy you'll feel when someone else cleans it for you. 

No one tells you that sometimes you'll really hate being a mom. 

No one tells you that you really can't prepare for motherhood.

But that burst of Love? That Love you felt in the beginning when your baby was laid on your chest? The Love you thought went away when shit got super hard? That's what gets you through this. That's what fuels you to try again every couple of hours even when your nipples feel like they are about to fall off. That's what keeps you from giving up. Because even though it hurts (for now) you'll get help. You'll breath through it. You'll cry through it. Because you want to give your child what's best for her**And later on you guys will be in sync. You'll have your own flow. And then something will mess up that flow, but you two will always get back to it. 

That Love will be the reason why she barely leaves your arms. And you'll want to put her down, but you won't because you realize in the grand scheme of things, this time you have together is crazy short. She will never go back to being this age again. 

And when she smiles at you - a for real smile- just for you, for the first time? It makes your entire life. And every time she smiles after that will fuel you. It will reenergize you. Every time. 

My kid is the air I breathe. She is everything to me. I'm still confused by where she's taking me right now. I've never felt this way before. There are days when I am frustrated, pissed, depressed... but there are even more moments filled with joy, gratitude, and always Love. 

Always Love.

So here I am, recreating my life. Change can be scary. Change can also be exciting. Part of moving forward for me, meant acknowledging the dark moments. It meant acknowledging that I'm not the only mama who has felt this way. 

I guess this means I'll be writing blog posts at 3 a.m. when I can't sleep, or while breastfeeding. And going to the grocery store alone feels like heaven on earth. And yes, yoga teacher training will be delayed, again. But every morning I wake up next to a smiling giggling baby. Every. Single. Morning. I haven't been disappointed yet. And one day that may be replaced with a groaning teenager who does not want to get out of bed. And the thought of doing yoga with my kid fills me with much more joy than yoga teacher training. I'm looking forward to that so so much. I think in the long run, the trade off was worth it.

I'm really lucky.

She's teaching me to love in a whole new way. Because of her, I can love others in a whole new way, too. I can truly love with my whole heart. 

And for that, I am grateful.

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*I'm perfectly aware that this is my experience. Not everyone feels this way, and that's okay too.
**I am not saying those who choose to formula feed are bad mothers. Every mother/baby/situation is different.


Raven said...

No one told me I'd want to stab my husband in the eye every time he tells people "The first two weeks were hard, but now we sleep fine" because he's always been snoring through it & we're still up half the night. And then I'd love him so much it hurts the next time he's playing with her & they look so damn adorable.

Oh, this is certainly an unexplainable whilrlwind we're in, but those girls are just so stinkin' beautiful you can't help it.

Lu Mueller-Kaul said...

This is beautiful. And what great pictures!

Brandi Nabors said...

I love this post. I have two girls - both natural births, both breastfed (still nursing my youngest) and believe me no one told me anything either! But, I will tell're doing it all right. And you/we will all make it through. Love and blessing to you and your amazingly stunning Alexa Eva. Congrats Mama!

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