How are you enjoying being a mom?
It’s such a strange question to ask because it requires such a complicated response, but no one is really asking for a genuine answer. So, I smile and say it’s been an adjustment, but it’s great. And that’s all true except for the fact that it’s not as easy or simple as it sounds.
When I told my mom I was pregnant she told me that everything would change, rather that my life would forever be more complicated now. I knew she was right, but I still wasn’t quite prepared (maybe you can’t be until it actually happens).
In the first moments of quietness and solitude, after giving birth, something (motherhood?) settles over you. Almost like wearing a veil through which the world is completely different.
It started from the minute I left the hospital. Holding Baby Bean in my arms and praying that we got her home safely, then when we got home wondering momentarily what on earth I was doing – what qualified me to suddenly be in charge of providing care for a baby?
Suddenly I was a “mom.” I rushed through meals and showers knowing I had to be at the beck and call of my babies little cry. I haven’t slept through the night in months. I’ve been vomited and pooped on. I no longer carry a purse (just the handy baby bag), wear dangling earrings, drink alcohol, read actual books, or even get dressed without thinking about nursing compatibility. And all of this happened to me overnight.
Yet, none of that is the hard part. For me, the most difficult part of being a new mother, perhaps of being a mother, is the worry. It could be because I’m generally just a little more anxious than most, but being a mother has added new levels to my worrying mind.
Is she eating enough? Why hasn’t she pooped? Why is the diaper leaking? How do I burp her? Does she weigh enough? Do I need to go to the doctor? Is she developing at the right pace? Is this normal? Is that normal? Why is she doing that? How do I do this? Why won’t she sleep? When will she roll? When will she sit by herself? Do we need a stricter schedule? How do I sleep/potty train? Is she breathing? Why is she so quiet? Why is she crying? Is she okay?
This list (and more) of questions I ask myself daily, and the things I try to keep track of is enough to drive my overthinking self into overdrive and exhaustion. The first few weeks I used a baby app* to keep track of everything (feedings, diaper changes, sleep) and I felt like I was going crazy because here I was examining the diaper to correctly code in what type of poo there was! And yes, this is all important to do and think about- but it has to be done in moderation, and I was not doing it in calm moderation.
The biggest thing, is that more than anything I want my baby to be okay, and I am worried that I will fail her. That I will mess up, make a mistake, and harm her because I am not perfect and I am still learning how to be her mother.
I mean how do you live with the knowledge that inevitably you will fail someone who needs you so much?
I’m still trying to answer that question myself, but for now I’m working on building up my survival kit so that I can be the best for her.
- I enjoy Baby Bean as much as I can. Babies really do grow up so fast. It’s 6 months now and she’s more than doubled in size and personality. I could spend my time worrying, or I could spend my time being with her snuggling, giggling, playing peekaboo, and watching her grow. I’m choosing to do the later.
- I pray. I know that might sound ridiculous to some, but so much of raising a child is out of our hands. We cannot be everywhere and we cannot control everything that our children do or that happens to them. However, we can pray to the one person who can. So, I do everything that I can to care for her and then I pray. When we’re struggling with sleep training and teething. I pray. When I start to worry. I pray. And no, it doesn’t automatically fix everything, but it puts me a ease -because in the end God is the one who will protect her and take care of her when I am simply not enough.
How do you survive?
*I really recommend the Baby Sprout app for first time moms in the first few weeks. It really helped me learn what to look for and helped me keep track of everything until I got the hang of it and established what was relatively normal for my Baby Bean.