I became a mom 12 weeks ago and it has been amazing and hard and gloriously transformative and I don’t think I really understand it all. But I love it. A lot.
It was a hard start for me. I had the Baby Blues kick in for me about 4 days after I had my daughter and then also dealt with high blood pressure and anxiety, neither of which I had struggled with before, adding to the feeling of new. The emotions you come off of after pregnancy are no joke and there is really nothing that anyone can do to prepare you for it. You just have to walk through it.
That made my role as mother feel very hard and confusing at the start of Ellie’s life. Every day for 2 weeks I felt really sad about how my life was changing and that totally confused me. For 25+ years I was convinced that my dream job was to be a parent and a stay at home mom. Then here I was feeling nothing but dread at the thought of it. I actually longed to go back to work and feel normal again. To feel secure in something I knew how to do. I didn’t know how to take care of someone else like this and I felt deep selfishness and longing for what David and I had before she came. I am thankful I never resented Ellie or felt bitterness towards her, but I definitely wanted my circumstances to change.
So, it was a hard start. I shared that those feelings lasted strongly for 2 weeks and then things got better. Ellie and I got into a routine at some point and she made a little more sense to me. I realized I could do this hard thing and I would somehow survive. Turns out she’s a great sleeper! #wedontknowhowgoodwehaveit
I posted on Facebook yesterday how I don’t feel like I’ve earned my mom badge yet because I haven’t had to deal with kiddos who don’t sleep. A sleeping baby makes for a happy well rested mommy and I’m beyond grateful that at 1 and a half months she was sleeping 8-10 hours a night and so far hasn’t regressed. I hear that comes month 4 so we’ll see how I’m doing in 4 weeks! One thing I know for sure…God gave her to us like that. I take no sleep training credit. She just likes sleep.
I have come to understand something about myself. I don’t feel close to someone until I have lived life with them in some way. That goes for friends, new family and this new baby. She didn’t feel like mine and I didn’t really start feeling like I was hers for awhile. We had to go through some hard things together and it was out of those things that my heart seemed to understand who she was and how sweet that truth was.
I get to be Ellie’s mommy. She’s my daughter.
I say those things outloud to myself sometimes to make it feel more real. I’m a feeler and I see the world through my feelings and my feelings shape the way I think about things. So, doing what I can to have my emotions stabilize and participate in what my body was doing every day to take care of her was the beginning of acceptance for me. I’m learning more and more about what this new identity is and I’ve moved from questioning it and dreading it to loving and embracing it and really wanting to do it well.
I love seeing how God has shifted my perspective. It’s actually something I’ve prayed for since the hard days at the beginning. “God…give me your eyes to see this little one for who she is and help me understand what my role is with her. Help me love her.” I’ve learned through the years that God tends to answer those “change my perspective” prayers every time I ask, but never right away. I seem to realize He’s answered my prayer for change in the weeks, months or years after asking Him. I’m glad this prayer is one I can see answered sooner than many months or years because I think I would be missing out on all the fun of watching her grow up and learn new skills and smile. Oh my. Those smiles can make all the hard stuff worth it.
I felt like being reminiscent today. I’m feeling thankful for these past 12 weeks, all Ellie and David and I have been through and how much more we feel like a family. I love my people and feel honored to call them mine!