Reflections on motherhood

It’s the final eve of 2016, and it’s going how I never expected it to go. Instead of drinking my face off at a party with friends, I’m sitting in a rocking chair, holding my precious babe. Instead of turning up at the stroke of midnight when the New Year officially begins, I’m shoving Kleenex up my nose until I look like a tissue walrus, so that I don’t wake up my baby by blowing my stuffy nose. Instead of raging until the 3 am hour, I anxiously watch the clock at 8:45 pm, hoping to get to bed soon and fall asleep fast. No, New Year’s Eve isn’t at all what I had ever seen myself doing. Yet it is the happiest I’ve ever felt when starting a new year, sober and so in love with the life my husband and I created.

Pregnancy and motherhood have been unique challenges. I’ve written about my identity loss during pregnancy, my extreme difficulties breastfeeding, and the isolation and anguish that having a new baby can cause. I’ve also written about how motherhood has made me a better person, and how I wouldn’t change my new life for the world. Every new experience is scary, and every challenge overwhelming until we’re in the thick of it.

I wouldn’t say that I’ve nailed this parenting thing, but at least I feel settled in my new role. I quit my career and found my new calling in helping women just like you.

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An irrational and insane move to everyone but me, I started my blog when Baby T was just a few months old. I had found my calling, and I wasn’t going to waste a second of it. You see, when I was pregnant, I often felt misunderstood and alone. I didn’t love pregnancy, and I felt like a freak because of it. When my baby was born, I wasn’t immediately in love. Deep rooted attachment, yes, but not love. I felt even worse. I often felt judged for my decisions I was making as a mom (no visitors, hypersensitivity to germs, and choosing to breastfeed despite my pain) and once my mom and parents-in-law left, I had never felt so alone.

It took me awhile to find the support I needed in moms’ group and to allow in the support from my friends, and once I did I felt relief. My daily walks were my metaphorical Xanax, and I felt I could go on. Not that I didn’t have really fucking hard days—and nights—but at least I knew I could keep going. Those beautiful baby smiles that were just for me in the mornings and the sweet coos of my little guy weren’t too bad to receive either.

It was all of these challenging experiences that motivated me to write to you. To you, the pregnant woman who is emotionally struggling, and struggling to keep it together. To you, the new mom who can now only find solace in the two minute hot shower (even though you feel guilty as fuck when your baby starts crying when you are only halfway through it). To you, the mom who perseveres or chooses another feeding method when the pain is too much, and your nipples too chafed to go on. To you, the mom who feels like an outcast because her parenting decisions are against the “norm.” To you, the mom of older kids but still doesn’t quite fit in with the Lululemon wearing, Kate-Spade toting tiger moms—okay I have a Kate Spade diaper bag, but I swear I’m not one of them!

I couldn’t find the support when I needed it most, so I want to create the space for you. I want to create a community of bad-ass mama-jamas that can feel the best when they feel themselves. Motherhood is the most joyous, yet hardest, experience I’ve ever had.

It’s not all rainbows and home-made playdough, with pictures of happy, clean faces and tidy houses. It’s on-and-off storms, diaper blowouts, spit-up in hair, and messy houses. Not many moms want to share that side. Maybe because it’s hard to show that side, the side that makes us feel like failures, the side that makes it look like we don’t have it all together. I’m here to tell you it’s okay to not have your shit together—and to be far from it—with mom hair and yoga pants.

Motherhood is more than that. It’s the sleepy newborn smiles in the middle of the night that make it worth it. It’s the first time baby laughs for you. It’s the first time baby sits up all by himself. It’s the first time baby and daddy engage each other in pure love and joy, and your heart melts and your tears of happiness say it all.

If you have no one else to turn to, you have me. You’re not alone. You have the mothers and the mothers before them, doing the same things you are doing, facing the same self-doubt, and celebrating the same triumphs. We are all in this together.

Happy 2017 mama, let’s make this a year of parenting triumph and joy, and kick-ass while doing it.

3 thoughts on “Reflections on motherhood

  1. Reading your reflections on motherhood made me think of this character in Emma Straub’s Vacationers: “Nudity was nothing more than a collection of hard-earned scars and marks.” I love that you’re embracing a new body, whatever shape that may be, and I hope more moms see their rolls and dimpled flesh as the warrior marks that they are. I know that I’ve never felt so powerful as I do today until I became someone’s mom. In our photo-filtered, hashtag culture, it takes courage to bare those marks…to reveal those scars…to stand naked. Thanks for sharing your reality of motherhood with us and creating a platform that validates all women and their authentic experiences. You are my she-ro!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Why I’m actually happy to be turning 30 | Surviving and thriving in the (sur)reality of motherhood.

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