I recently read an essay that a woman wrote about her first pregnancy and the things we forget about being a new mom.
“Can I see this little one?” said a smiling voice at my shoulder. I turned around so that the older woman behind me could peek at the tiny creature nestled against my poop-stained shirt. She sighed, looked deep into my bloodshot eyes, and asked, “Aren’t you just on cloud nine?”
I can remember people saying these type of things to me and feeling torn up because the response I wanted to give was, “No. Is that how I’m supposed to feel because right now I’m absolutely exhausted all he does is cry and eat and no one can help me feed him because he absolutely refuses to take a bottle. So, No, I’m not on cloud nine….Not even close.” Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved Emery with all of my heart, but being a first time mom was not “fun” like most people try to portray.
I can remember feeling SO alone. At the time we had just moved back to Missouri with a 2 week old baby and didn’t have a place of our own yet because we were waiting to hear from a few jobs until we decided we were staying in Missouri. When Emery was about 2 1/2 months old we finally settled on a job and were able to get our own place. That helped in a sense that if Emery was up all night crying, which happened a lot, the only people it was bothering was myself and my husband.
For many other reasons I still felt quite alone. Being a stay at home mom for the first year of Emery’s life was the hardest job I had ever had in my life. My husband had something close to his dream job and was getting to interact with people all day long and I was at home, rarely getting to take a shower or have a moment to myself. When my husband would come home and tell me about his day and what he accomplished I thought to myself I didn’t even get laundry done or I’m still in the clothes I was wearing yesterday.
I didn’t have anything interesting to say to my husband the only things in my repertoire were poop habits, if Emery took a nap, or what he had for lunch…
Now I’m faced with going through this a second time, but a few things are different this time. I now know what to expect bringing home a newborn. I threw away my rose colored glasses. I have a toddler to chase after in edition to being at Cecilia’s beckon call. We do have our own place and a stable job going into this. I am staying home with my children this time around not because we moved too late in the hiring season to find an elementary teaching job for myself, but because we’ve decided that this is the best route for our family.
I’m hoping that given what I know about bringing home a baby that I will be able to move through this transition with more fluidity. I do know that I have a soon to be 3 year old little boy that doesn’t need to see his mommy break down because his world is going to be turned upside down. I also feel like whether or not the first time was symptoms of PPD or just the newness and adjustment of being a new mother I am not afraid to ask for help.
I am self admittedly too hard on myself. I have for some reason or another felt the need to be this “perfect mom” someone who feels like her kids need to be on their best behavior all the time and I realize that it’s too much. It’s hard for me to release control and go with the flow because I feel like I need to have a handle on what’s going on in my life. I used to feel like I was such an easy going person and that if you needed someone that was pretty laid back, I was your girl. I would be lying if I said that today.
Children do something to you. For nine months you carry them with you and are able to keep them safe and dictate their every movements. Then, in the blink of an eye your baby is out in the world and it’s like your heart is on the outside of your body wandering around. It’s a very scary feeling.
With all of this being said, I am very excited for this next chapter in our lives. Although Emery was a very fussy baby, he is a wonderful toddler, so very loving. I cannot imagine my life without him. I know Cecilia will be a wonderful addition to our family as well.
I’ll leave a link to the essay I read that brought back so many memories that I hadn’t completely forgotten yet.