Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Expectations of a new mom

When we decided to become pregnant it was a very exciting prospect and I relished the idea of having a child with my true love and best friend. We had always talked about having children eventually….both of us the oldest of three children, both of us close to our siblings and parents. I started taking folic acid, prenatal vitamins and quit my birth control and lo and behold three months after we started trying, I was pregnant. I had a wonderful pregnancy.  I left work two weeks before my due date because I was terrified that I would go into labor at work. I had never been off work for longer than two weeks at a time unless it was for a vacation. I organized the entire house in those two weeks and fielded phone calls from friends and family who were wondering if I was in labor yet? Feeling crampy? I went for a very uncomfortable ultrasound to measure the baby, I went for walks, I considered taking castor oil. And eventually my daughter was born and I became a mother for the first time. And I had a hard lesson to learn. How to slow down. I had sped through life up until then, working since I was 14, graduating high school, going to college and then commuting and working. Going to meetings, doing research, training large audiences and generally climbing the corporate ladder. All of a sudden, armed with “What to Expect the First Year” and a basic knowledge of babies, and I was a mother. I was elated and took it on as another challenge in life that could be measured, analyzed, researched and figured out. I was enthralled with my little girl and her little hands and toes, her wonderful little nose, her perfect little body. I loved doing her laundry and choosing her clothes everyday. But the part about being home, alone, with an adorable baby that I didn’t always know how to calm was sometimes challenging to say the least. And more challenging was all the spare time I had! A year of maternity leave stretched out before me and I realized I was bored. I didn’t start sewing, scrapbooking or crocheting, I joined a mommy group at the YWCA and I found a group of mommies online whom I corresponded with. There were so many questions I had outside of my “What to Expect” books and I wasn’t afraid to ask for advice. What I learned was you shouldn’t have any expectations. That you should just live day by day, get lots of sleep, eat well and take care of yourself and your baby first. I had always been successful in everything I tried and here was this little baby who was challenging me more and stretching my limits more than any job I had ever done. I would comment to friends years later that working for the President of a company was easy compared to raising a child! And in the next breath I would tell them how she has changed my life in so many wonderful and amazing ways. I remember every challenge I had raising her and how some days I would stand at the window willing my husband to come home so I could have a shower. Looking back on it now I realize what a humbling experience it was. And I would do it all over again for her and do it better if I had the chance. She and her sister taught me so many things about myself such as how not to sweat the small stuff, how to nap during the day, that babies never nap for as long as you would hope, and that putting a baby to sleep successfully and getting them to be good sleepers would be the most challenging thing you’ll ever learn. Being a mother is one of the hardest job’s I’ve ever done and the most selfless. Your wage is paid in kisses and snuggles and your recognition is a full heart when your three year old approaches you with arms outstretched with four single words “Mommy, I want you.”

1 comment:

  1. I love this post, and I understand it completely. Having a baby really does change your life, and it's hard to understand until you've been through it. But it's such a worthwhile journey.