Becoming a Mom
Where to even start? I have been ruminating on this post for a while already, thinking of something epic to say. Because, truth be told, I’m not really up for being “just another mommy blogger”. I actually haven’t read many mommy blogs myself, and I don’t plan to but I’m sure almost everything has already been said before.
However, because this has obviously been the most life-changing thing I have ever been through not writing anything would be out of the question. So, I figure I’ll start with how I felt about becoming a mom before becoming one.
I thought it would be amazing and hard. True on both accounts. But what I didn’t realize is that when it happens, words take on meanings that they didn’t previously hold. For example, you’ve all heard that when you have a baby you experience a love you never knew existed before, a piece of your heart now lives outside of your body and things like that. Those things are all true, but when I heard those things previously I always thought, that’s nice, so cheesy, but nice *smiley face* moving on.
Now, it seems that those words just held the shallowest of meaning to me at the time because I didn’t have the experience that expands the depth of meaning held by them. A piece of my heart, yes, like a physical extension of myself that once was in my body, now lives on the outside. It is no longer just a romantic notion, its something physical I didn’t even realize I could feel.
I think that’s the main difference between what I knew before and what I know now. I knew romantic love before, even if I thought it was unconditional, and now I know a more physical, can never be broken even if my kid was the worst person in the world type of love (which he never will be, btw). This is the type of love that pulls in you in every direction at the same time.
I knew it would be painful, but I didn’t know how many different types of pain I could experience in such a short timespan.
I had a homebirth. That means un-medicated. It was hard, but it was amazing. It was my plan for a very long time to have a homebirth and I almost didn’t get to have it. It came down to the last day, in fact. I knew I could do it. I don’t think homebirth is for everyone, and the birth that is right for you is the one that makes you feel safe and most comfortable.
I am no stranger to pain. I had kidney stones at 5 months pregnant, and like other women have said before, I’ll take another un-medicated birth over kidney stones any day because at the end of labor, I get to have a beautiful baby in my arms and I know for sure that that is the eventual outcome. With kidney stones, there’s no pot of gold at the end of the pain-bow 😛
Anyway, labor was very painful in some parts for sure (like crowning), and the other parts were intense in a way that can only be described as pain because there is no other word that suits the sensations that over-take you. There is throbbing, stabbing, burning, pressing, exploding, and retching during labor. You can call me crazy, but I find pain fascinating. I have found a way to somehow remove myself from it by witnessing it. While it’s happening I examine the pain, think about what it really feels like, where it’s coming from and how interesting it is. My body is experiencing it but my mind is somehow separated. Its like I use logic to convince myself that I’m going to be ok, so the pain seems less threatenening. Anyway- I had a lot to pay attention to during labor lol.
Recovering from labor is also painful, especially if you have stitches.
Realizing that you are now responsible for the life of the beautiful soul that just came out of you is also painful. It’s so many things. I know that hormones have a lot to do with it but there were so many moments in those first few days where I looked at our little baby, eyes full of tears and thought about how incredibly fragile his life was, and how deeply it would hurt to lose him. So, there is now this ever-present anxiety that lives in my chest, which other moms tell me never goes away. I know that’s not pain, but it’s definitely not a pleasant sensation.
There is also this new type of reaction that’s coming up for me that I wasn’t expecting. I think it’s the innate, programmed-in, mother’s love that’s meant to protect her baby’s life at all costs. Again, it’s physical, not logical or intellectual in anyway. It shows up when tears just start welling up in my eyes when I least expected it and I feel these emotions from a deeper place in my body than I ever have before. It happened when our boy got his first shots.
It’s been a surprising, heart exploding journey so far and I know I’m only at the beginning. There will be so much more to learn, and so much more growth that I will experience as a mother. I’m really looking forward to it. I truly believe that our children are sent to us to help us grow in exactly the ways we need to in order to become better people.
What surprised you most about becoming a parent?