Lessons in Motherhood
This is a list I'd never thought I'd write. I hoped I would. I prayed I would. But honestly, after eight years of trying to have a baby (including three years of waiting to adopt), I stopped believing.
As I type this, I'm watching my baby sleep in her swing. She's chirping and squeaking the morning away as I work. This little miracle is almost three months old.
When you wait so long to become a mother, you discover some things are exactly as you imagined, while others are a total surprise. This new role has changed me, yet I'm also still very much me.
So what have I learned?
- I didn't know what to expect when the nurses placed her in my arms for the first time. She was less than five pounds, yet I really wasn't afraid or unsure. Much to my shock and amazement, I felt like she was always mine.
- New motherhood is like being in love. You can't wait to see them, smell them, hold them. But you're also tired, distracted, and your whole word is turned upside down - in the best way possible.
- Sleep is NOT overrated. The first six weeks of motherhood kicked my ass but good. It was as hard as I thought it would be at 44. And even when you do sleep, you're never fully at rest. I'm guessing it will feel this way for at least the next 18 years.
- My anxiety hasn't taken over. It rose to the top when I thought she had a fever the first week or cried for two hours straight, but it's also been much more manageable than I anticipated. Being busy and exhausted probably helps.
- The strain on your relationship is real. We played a daily game of "who did more". The lack of time together, the exhaustion and 24/7 baby duty was a challenge, particularly as we both tried to manage working from home together.
- My husband is a great dad. This one is not a surprise. He's great with young kids - the fun uncle. But that guy isn't always confident and nurturing with infants. Turns out, he is and it has made all of the difference for this mom.
- I still had a life. I've been to two movies, a brunch, the spa, one dinner and a work happy hour. I still texted my friends about frivolous things like Ben and Jen's reconciliation and Charlie Hunnam's new movie trailer. And I don't plan on changing that.
- I never really bought the whole "can't take a shower" thing. I thought it was overdramatized. Well, I could not have been more wrong. I looked like a homeless person for two months straight. Mea culpa mammas.
- I wasn't sure how family and friends would welcome and accept a baby via adoption. I knew they were supportive etc., but I never imagined how much they could love her. Just like that.
- And finally, this. I'm an outgoing person. I have a great network of family and friends. I knew this. But I never imagined the immense outpouring of love we would receive from friends, family and acquaintances near and far. The fact that our story and our baby could touch so many people is part of this miracle.