It is so interesting to me to read and hear about other Mother’s experiences with their child (or children). While motherhood is much the same, it’s also that much different as every baby, family and experience is different! Today’s post is about the experience one of my best friends, Katie, has had. I hope to share others experiences and to hear the positives each parent has taken from them.
“Motherhood is daunting. From the first moment I found out I was pregnant… I’m not sure what to say about it. I was up and down and went back and forth about whether I was actually happy to have a baby. I did not enjoy my first trimester AT ALL, and I also did not enjoy being a plus size pregnant woman and having to tell everyone I was pregnant instead of it being obvious, but I did enjoy knowing what was happening inside of me. I was creating a human! I always wanted to know if I could do that, I wanted to experience everything I could as a woman. Aren’t we incredible creatures?? Having a baby, no matter your experience, makes us feel connected to something bigger than ourselves – almost like a higher power, but feminine instead of the masculine God we worship.
“By the time I was due I was ready to have my baby, but not ready in the sense that I was necessarily excited to have him. I was just done being pregnant and I was anxious to see if he was okay and healthy. I was anticipating being able to have him normally-vaginally, what have you, but it turned out that my body did not corporate. So, I had to have a C-section which completely broke my heart. I know, I know, so many women must get a C-section and at least my baby came out healthy (oh yeah, I didn’t mention that everything went fine), and it is not my fault that I couldn’t push him out and I did everything I could, etc. But, I wanted to experience ALL OF IT. I wanted to know I could do the hardest thing that women have ever done! But I couldn’t. I didn’t get to experience such a quintessential part of motherhood because my body refused to work right. Miraculously, however, modern medicine was able to save both me and my baby-without it, who knows, we both may have died. I am grateful, at least, that there were no complications and baby boy came out just fine (if a little big- 9lbs 3oz!).
“Once he was out, I wasn’t sure how I felt. I loved him, but I did not feel that he was mine. It was surreal to say the least. The panic didn’t set in at first, the overwhelming fear that something would happen to him, that I was responsible for another human being. I was even sleeping fine in the hospital, what with him being in the nursery and all the meds I was on. But as soon as we got in the car with him it washed over me. “What if he suffocates in his car seat? What if I can’t produce enough milk? What if he dies during the night and I wake up to him not breathing? What if I drop him? What if we get in a wreck? What if he has a deformity they didn’t catch in the hospital? What if he doesn’t sleep well?” The list, as I’m sure you all can attest, went on a on. It still goes on a on and I don’t think it will ever stop. I am constantly worried about him, and worried I’m not doing enough or not doing a good enough job helping him meet his milestones.
“After a week, I knew what all the fuss was about. I understood all those parents who told me, ‘you’ll never understand until you have a kid of your own.’ I had to admit, begrudgingly, that they were right. I never knew how much I could love something or someone. Gosh, sometimes he irritates me so much I could scream (and sometimes I do)! But he is perfect, and magical, and funny, and fascinating, and cute and squishy and so full of beauty that I cannot do anything but love him deeply.
“After eight weeks I had to return to work. Thank the gods up above, I work from home and can watch him while I’m working! It’s not easy, sometimes it’s impossible, but it works (so far). He was a complete angel for the first month back at work. He slept good, was quiet when he was awake, he fed every two hours like clockwork. It worked. I thought, ‘Hey, this is going okay. I wish I didn’t have to work, but it’s not so bad.’ Then at about 3.5 months things turned topsy turvy. He stopped sleeping like a champ. He wouldn’t take naps, he wasn’t sleeping through the night, and he seemed to be almost constantly hungry.
While you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking of all the reasons he could be fighting sleep. I’ll be honest, I had NO IDEA WHAT TO DO. I read and read and asked for help, but nothing worked. That is the most frustrating thing about being a mother – not knowing what the hell you’re doing. It is so easy, too, to look at all the mothers around you and believe that they have it together. It really seems like it, doesn’t it? That mother is so good at soothing her child (and everyone else’s child), that mother is so great at nursing discretely, that mother keeps her cool, that mother really knows how to discipline her older children, that mother really has nap time down pat. But all of us must start somewhere. We’re all going to fall short in some way or another. Take a deep breath, cry a little, cope in some way, and then get back in there and figure out YOUR way to calm him down or get him back to sleep or make him laugh or get him to eat.
“One of the most difficult things in today’s day and age is the over-abundance of advice and theories regarding parenthood. There is too much. The never-ending, often contradictory information can be more frustrating than your problem is sometimes. EVERY baby is different, EVERY pregnancy is different, EVERY parent is different. It is impossible to know which way to go or what to try. I myself am having a very hard time staying consistent because something will work one day/night, and then stop working. Then I’ll try something else and it doesn’t make any difference the first time so I try something new. Should I have kept trying that one technique, or am I right to keep trying until something sticks? Do I keep trying to get him to take a nap if he keeps waking up over and over and over again, or just let him be awake? It is impossible to know. The only thing to do is…just do what you can.“
I love viewing from a different perspective. Katie is such a strong and caring individual, and I appreciate the time she has taken to share her story. Also, did you catch that her baby was over 9 pounds?? That’s an entire pound more than my own baby was… ouch!
Having a child can definitely be overwhelming – especially with all the things that could go wrong. But let’s not forget about all the things that can go right. Every Mother wants the best for her child, and we will do our utmost to make that best a reality.
We don’t know everything about being a parent, but we are learning, and forever will be, because that most precious baby will never stop growing and will never stop changing. As Katie says, the only thing to do is… just do what you can.
Here in the Mommies Corner we believe strongly in Community and we would love to hear about experiences of raising a baby from all the Mothers, Fathers, Single Parents, Foster Parents, Aunties, Uncles, Grandparents, LGBT Parents and more.
Send your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org!