In honor of Mother’s Day, it seemed only fitting to share my fourth essay in my [raw] motherhood essay series. The first weeks of motherhood are unlike any other days a woman has experienced before. This post is dedicated to my son and the truth about my first four weeks of motherhood with him. (And you knowwww I keep it real over on instagram too!) I am linking up with some wonderful mom bloggers for this one. Be sure to head through the loop with the link at the end of this post! (Before I begin, yes, I see the irony that some of the main photos are of Hadley and not Emmett. My photo skills were not up to par at his birth 😉 ) Also, if you haven’t entered to win FREE diapers, do so now. Giveaway is still running!)
My first Mother’s Day as a mother was three weeks after my son was born. I will never forget someone saying to me that day, “Isn’t it so wonderful being a mother?” So badly did I want to share in her obvious joys of motherhood and reply with something like, “This is everything I have ever wanted and the best thing that has happened to me.” But instead I felt none of that. I felt frustration. Uncertainty. Part of me felt as though I’d signed up for a life-term sentence of no sleep or date nights and the sound of music drowned out by crying. Yes, I loved that baby and would have done anything and everything for him. But those first few weeks were a huge learning curve that shifted my entire way of maintaining life.
As a blogger and instagrammer who is daily immersed in the social media lives of other young moms, I read a lot. I see captions from new moms that say things like, “She was up all night, but it’s worth it” or “I haven’t showered in sixteen days, but his smile still lights up my life.” I’m not here to judge the authenticity of those comments. Whether it is true or not, I don’t know. But if that’s not you, that is OKAY. It is all right if that is not how you feel or felt…because that was not how I always felt.
My first three weeks of motherhood began with a labor and delivery that, as ultimately fine as it was, was not what I had hoped for. I ended up pushing for so long that my bladder nerves were shot and I was sent home with a catheter. For a week I wondered if I’d ever be able to go to the bathroom normally again (thanks to practically zero information online pertaining to my “condition”). Our son cried a lot, because as the naive parents we were, we didn’t want to introduce the pacifier just yet. (The moment we finally broke down and gave him one was magical.)
So no, motherhood was not grand that first Mother’s Day. My emotions and hormones took turns raging. The postpartum body was in full swing and there were bags under my eyes. My sweet, sweet husband wanted to give me the day to myself to do what I wanted but as a breastfeeding mama, we all know how that goes.
There always needs to be an “and then.” There is always sunshine after the rain. The bad sometimes comes first followed by the great.
I remember a friend at the time coming over about a week after Mother’s Day. She shared with me how to give my new crazy, upside down life some form of composure and semblance of a routine. Her encouragement to begin “now” instead of later revolutionized my then version of motherhood.
I started that moment. Wake, feed, play, sleep. Repeat. It took several days but we slipped into a routine pretty quickly. All of a sudden when my son would cry, I knew why. I knew the answer to “why” so much more. I knew what was happening. As I eluded to earlier, we introduced the pacifier in a moment of frustration around the same time and that changed sleeping and the witching hour. We were beginning to function half way normal as new parents.
I am not sure when it happened. But sometime in that first year, I began to realize that I was made for motherhood. It was something I could do. Something I was good at and genuinely enjoyed. The bad days still happened, but the good days were becoming frequent visitors. The bad days were okay though and normal. Not something to fudge over. It was okay to address them and not hide them. Because that is motherhood. The good days and the bad days together.
The bad days make us dig deeper and the good days make us smile harder.
My son turned out to be joy in my life. His smile lights up the room when he comes downstairs after nap time. His sentences and conversation make me laugh. He teaches me lessons routinely. He makes me strive to be a better human being.
He makes me mom. And now his little sister does too.
This essay is part of a wonderful Mother’s Day Loop! To continue reading inspiring motherhood stories, head over to these awesome bloggers: