Almost exactly a year ago I wrote a post wondering how I would know if I was ready for motherhood. I had truly hoped that my hesitancy about parenthood would change with that positive pregnancy test, but it didn't. Less than a month after I wrote that post I was crying (NOT happy tears) at the two pink lines staring determinately up at me and really feeling like life was over. I battled fears, anxiety and honestly, regret for much of the next 36 weeks.
As it turned out, I was right. My life was over.
But it was replaced with a life that is fuller, deeper, and so much bigger than it was before. Every experience is magnified and intensified. I don't think Eric and I lacked or were at a loss before we had E, but our lives are different and truly better with him.
Lately, I have been asked variations on the same question,
"So, is motherhood what you expected?"
I have a hard time knowing how to answer that, because I don't want to gloat or sound insincere. I know for a lot of moms, it is harder, more overwhelming and more exhausting than they imagined.
But when I say that being is a mom is SO SO SO much better than I imagined, it is just scratching the surface.All of the bad things I dreaded either aren't as bad as expected or have become totally irrelevant. A lot of the things I was worried about not being able to do, we can totally do (this is coming off of a four-hour plane ride with a three-month-old after five days of family chaos, which we all survived really well). We can still travel, go out with friends, and have fun. And what we can't do right now, I hardly miss. I know we'll do those things again!
Before E arrived, I just knew that I was going to hate parenting an infant. The poop and the crying and the blobby-ness and not knowing what I'm doing. And then that infant that I had wrestled with for months and shared my body with and wished away more than a few times, was placed on my chest, I was just in complete wonderment. I was in love. Suddenly it didn't matter that I don't like infants in general, we had OUR OWN BABY HUMAN. Who needs me and knows me. That first wave of realization that I was it - the mama, the nurturer, was a game-changer. It still is.
I love being a mom.
And E. My sweet baby son. I could write pages and pages about the way he intertwines his little fingers and unfolds them again so that he always looks like he's cooking up a devious plan or really worried. The way he burrows his head in the crook of my arm and rubs his face until it's red trying to get just the right kind of comfortable for a nap. The desperately excited look on his face when he is trying to talk in response to Eric or I.
The love I feel for this kid is limitless and overwhelming. It's more immense and joy-filled than anything I could have expected. I have no idea what I'm doing. And at the same time, it makes perfect sense.
This is the kind of crazy talk I would roll my eyes at before I became a mom, so if you need to gag, I GET IT.
Motherhood just has a way of changing you...