musings from a mom in the making. from pregnancy to birth experience, from fitness fallouts and feeding frenzies to oxytocin-induced ramblings, i'm sharing the highs, lows and woes of my maternal experience as i learn to love the person my daughter has made me become.
ever since having phoenix, i’ve felt a connection to other mothers — other women, really. the experience of pregnancy, of growing life — a feat performed without conscious effort — has given me a new appreciation for the female body and what it can both accomplish and endure. it is beautiful by design, inside and out, regardless of how our media-addled brains misconstrue its curves and bumps, or lack thereof.
then comes the first newborn cry, heralding instant and total life change. the endless uncertainty: why is she crying, is she eating enough, should i wake her, is she too hot/cold, should i let her cry, should i call the doctor? the nights lamenting the lost relationship with sleep you once took for granted. the dynamic shift in your relationship with your significant other as you figure out how to revolve around this amazing creature you’ve created without knocking each other out of orbit. the eclipsing love that dwarfs all the things, including your own needs, and both sustains and torments you on an hourly basis. that first tiny smile that offers the connection you’ve been starving for and gives you a glimpse into who this little person could be. the images, locks of hair, outgrown clothing, and other mementos that surround you like casualties of time, which is hurtling forward no matter how hard you will it to slow down so you can see one last tooth-free smile, enjoy giving one more bath in the sink, savor one more night with the bassinet by your bed. it’s never enough. you want to live and breathe these moments over and over again. because you can’t imagine that what happens next will be as profoundly amazing. but it is. only more so.
and then there’s the internal struggle — something i wasn’t prepared for, if i could be prepared for any of it: having a child makes you realize how damaged you are. all the mismanaged relationships, self-esteem issues, and other debacles along your life’s journey suddenly surface after years of living through, with, around, and in spite of them — motherhood holds up a mirror that you can’t turn away from. if i want my daughter to accept and love her body, then i better stop complaining about mine. if i want her to have a strong sense of self, then i should stop doubting my own strengths. if i want to her to engage with the world around her, then i ought to start making eye contact with the other parents at our “mommy and me” classes. if i want her to understand unconditional love and have healthy relationships, then i need to let go of my own experiences and repair my own. just when i thought i found the sweet spot in my comfort zone…
this parenting thing is hard — and i’m only 6 months in. but the fact that i’m pretty sure all moms go through some degree of this is rather inspiring: millions of women becoming better versions of themselves in order to lead future generations toward greatness. at least, that’s the idea. some of it gets lost in translation, but the point is, every mom you see loves her kid(s) the only way she knows how. ways passed down through mothers before her, shaped by her own hopes and dreams for what love can do. kids don’t come with manuals. and the manuals that are out there aren’t always written in a language that speaks on an individual level, and babies are as individual and unique as their fingerprints.
i know many women celebrating their first mother’s day today, myself included. while these words were written to honor all mothers and the connection we share, i want to especially acknowledge the new moms and the overwhelmingly intense love they are feeling for perhaps the first time in their lives. let this love guide you, more so than any physical guide you might consult. there is no wrong way to love your child. your child, with his or her own timeline for meeting milestones and particular behaviors to cue you to their needs that only you can decipher. you are doing a good job. i promise.
be courageous and believe in your love. because love is what gives us all courage to do great things.
happy mother’s day!
Rainy day naptime. (Don’t be fooled. This doesn’t happen very often. Her #naptime is usually when I frantically try to cram being an adult into my day.) #rainyday #cuddles #snugglingsthebest #baby #cute #loveher #dontgrowupplease
Adventures in eating. So far, #paleo baby seems insulted by bone broth and is only mildly tolerating of egg yolk. But the new dinnerware is a huge hit. #baby #paleomullet #foodbeforeoneisjustforfunright #noms #cute #happygirlie #love #paleoparenting #primalparenting