I remember feeling so handicapped when Hooper was a baby; like every outing was now some sort of huge undertaking. Even going to the grocery store felt like an ordeal. I had all (or most) of the gimmicky stuff — the diaper bag, the stroller that I’d whip out to wheel him into a restaurant from the parking lot, an assortment of pacifiers that I never ended up using (the list goes on).
It isn’t until the second, or better yet, the third, comes around that you see just how easy you had it with one. How nothing that you thought was a big deal was, well, a big deal. How all the things you said no to – “no, sorry, can’t go on that camping trip because we have the baby” – were as doable as they’d ever be.
I recently visited a friend who is a first time mom and those early days – and all the emotions surrounding that time — came flooding back. The drastic change of going from none to one, feeling like breastfeeding owned me, the resentment I felt toward Willy.
If you’re a first time mom, or even a mom for the third time around, these words are for you:
It’s okay if you don’t goo and gaa over your child immediately. Sometimes the best relationships are the ones that grow with time. Or better yet, over a few consecutive nights of good rest. Or even better yet, when personality comes into play.
It’s okay if you hate breastfeeding. It’s not as romantic as some make it. And it’s not that people lie or try to portray it as something more glamorous than it is, it probably has more to do with the fact they’re in a different time or place than you. And that’s okay, too. It wasn’t until Sonny that I can say I truly love breastfeeding and am not overwhelmed by the commitment it entails. It also wasn’t until I grew into my role as a mother that I learned it’s best not to judge. And freeing, too, to let said judgments go.
The distance you feel from your husband is normal. It most likely stems from resentment, which is normal too. After all, our lives, our bodies, our priorities as women change tremendously. The role of a mother is one you grow into. What once felt like a burden now feels like a privilege. So if you don’t love all your new responsibilities and you feel bitter about the unequalness of it all and the mere question from your husband of how the night with the baby went makes you quiver with disgust because you wish you could bite off a chunk of the bliss that comes from his ignorance, that’s okay.
And if the time it takes your husband on the toilet is the same amount of time you’ve been longing for to sneak in a shower or rub lotion on your dry legs and you’re resentful because of it, you’re not alone.
If you want to punch the little old lady who comes up to you in the grocery store and tells you to ‘enjoy every minute’ in the face, know you’re not alone. Also know that by the time you’re her age, you’ll have forgotten all the hardships and be telling new moms the same thing she’s telling you. There are seasons to motherhood and that sweet little lady is simply in a different season than you.
And perhaps the best advice ever given to me, from my own mom no less, is that it’s all temporary. All of it. Even life. So if what feels permanent today and never-ending, know there is an end and that a change will come. Our troubles today will be traded for different troubles tomorrow. Same with our joys. And so find some sort of peace in knowing that none of it – not the good or the bad – will last forever.