I have had this post swirling, tumbling, working its way around my head for several weeks. It is a kind of response, based on my experience as a mother now for two years, one month, and twelve days. It will not be easy to write, tears swell before I even begin. Deep breath.
I wish they hadn't told me...
That I would bond with my baby as soon as he was born.
The moment my son was handed to me, all fresh and warm and so much heavier then I expected, I looked into his dark little eyes, and I loved him. Yes, I loved him. But it wasn't the rush of emotion. The crushing, amazing, new love I had expected and been told about. It wasn't at all like I thought it would be.
Of course I loved him, I had already been his mama for over nine months. Felt his kicks and stretches and hiccups. But I didn't feel like I couldn't live without him, I mostly just felt overwhelmed and exhausted. Many times during the first four months of both my son and daughters lives I have felt distinct dislike for them, and the accompanying crushing guilt.
I wish I had given myself more grace. I wish I had realized that I won't always like my baby. I wish I had realized that some mothers (or maybe it's just me) don't bond instantly with their babies, and sometimes it takes time. And that's okay.
That nursing would be easy.
Nursing is not easy, ya'll. It's.not.easy. Maybe for some people. But I am definitely not those people. Nursing was hard, miserable, painful. So many tears and begging to not have to do it anymore. After Ezra I had several recovery issues, some caused my nursing issues, some not. I pushed through until a year with him, finding out halfway through a lot of our issues were caused by my own anatomy and tongue and lip ties. It never stopped hurting but I did it.
With Nora I had only had a break of about ten months from nursing, and when it started out worse then with Ezra I wanted to give up immediately. We made it seven weeks. Then I did give up. I just couldn't. Nora hated it and wasn't gaining weight, I was losing my supply and I hated it.
I wish I had known that nursing is not the be all end all of bonding with my baby. I actually think it hindered my bonding with both babies. I resented the pain, I resented them wanting to eat. I know that sounds horrible, I know it is horrible. It's just honesty. I love my babies, but for real. Having those little piranhas on me was so awful sometimes. There was beautiful moments of looking down and seeing them peacefully suckling, and I'm glad I have those moments.
But I am not one of those moms that I has an easy time nursing and I don't really enjoy it. And that's okay.
To sleep when the baby sleeps and I'll be okay.
Nope. Not really. I have never been so exhausted in my whole life as after Ezra was born. It does get better, but I was so tired I would just cry and cry. I wish I had leaned more on Christ for strength, and not just wallowed in my misery. I wish I had accepted more help and humbled myself.
I wish I had not pushed myself to take on more then I should have. I wish I had just said no and stayed in my pajamas.
Sometimes babies don't sleep, and you just have to try and survive. And that's all you can manage in that moment. And that's okay.
That I could never imagine life without my kids.
I still miss my "freedom". A lot. More then I should. But let's be real. This mom stuff is hard. Really darn hard. And sometimes you just want coffee dates, reading in peace, and travelling without packing all the stuff. I can imagine life without my kids, it sounds pretty nice some days.
I used to feel really guilty and it and try to force myself to stop wishing for it. I wish I had just given myself space to grieve over what I had "lost" and accept that some days I will still miss it. Two years into this mama thing and I can honestly say I could never imagine life without my kids. But that didn't come easily. And that's okay.
God never gives us more then we can handle.
God gives us more then we think we can handle. Every day. If we felt like we could handle it, why would we need Him?
Every single day I need Him. And a lot of the time it just feels like it's all too much. And it is. For me. I can't handle it all on my own. I need Him every second of every day. I still fall flat on my face. A lot. Thank God for grace, grace from Him, grace from my sweet husband, grace from my beautiful children.
I wish I hadn't gone into motherhood with the expectations that I would bond with my babies instantly, that feeding them would be as natural as it seems. That I wouldn't have some hard days and some easy days, but that every day would be hard in it's own way. That I wouldn't always be tired, but that eventually I would just be less tired. That I wouldn't miss pre-mama days. Because I do. That I could handle it on my own. Because I just CAN'T.
Sometimes motherhood is messy. Sometimes the house is wreck and dinner isn't even started when your husband walks in the door. Sometimes your son walks around in too small pajama pants and a dirty, baggy sweatshirt smeared with breakfast half the day while you play catch up from a week of exhaustion. Sometimes your daughter has to fuss in her bouncer while you take a sanity break. Sometimes you just need a day off of expectations to be a happy, cheerful, mama who adores her children every second. And that's okay.
I love my kids, I will never not love them. And that's what matters.