When I was pregnant, it seemed that every mom I came across, even strangers, wanted to give me advice. They wanted to prepare me for what was ahead.
Sleep now. You’re not going to be getting any rest once your baby arrives!
Sleep when the baby sleeps.
The most important thing is putting your baby on a schedule.
The most important thing is not putting your baby on a schedule and just going with the flow
Enjoy your time with your husband now, because your relationship will never be the same.
Don’t let her get too clingy. Put her in her own room right away.
Some of this may be good advice. I thought about what they told me, but I didn’t dwell on these things too much. I was just so excited. All I thought about was that I was going to meet my baby soon. I knew life would change forever. After all, suddenly we would be a family of three instead of just two. Instead of stressing, I spent time quietly rubbing my belly and telling my little girl I would protect her and care for her. I told her I would support her even if she didn’t love art like her momma and wanted to be a chemist. I told her I’d be the best mom I could be.
What no one told me was that I would worry. A lot. There’s something so distinct about being a mom. You feel worry all the time and you can’t shake it, even if you know your baby is okay. You feel the worry in your bones. And you’re alone with it. You realize that no one else in the world will feel the love you feel for your child. And I don’t think it’s because you carried her in your body for nine months or endured through her birth. It’s not because you spend more time with her than anyone else. I can’t quite put my finger on it. Sometimes in the middle of the night while I nurse her, I stare at her little face, her little hands that flail about, grabbing at my hair, resting on her own head, and I wonder if she will like me. Will we get along? Will I know what to do when she has her first fever? When she wants to do something I never had the courage to do? Will I be brave enough to mother her wholeheartedly?
Becoming a mom for the first time is like getting a new job, one that you’ve had no training for. But it’s so different, because it’s not a job. It’s a privilege. It’s you taking on a whole new purpose, and you’re completely transformed. And I know she knows that I’m it. When we are in a crowd and she’s being passed around, she turns her head this way and that, looking for me. Then she locks eyes with me and stares me down. Panic sets in. She wants me.
And sometimes I feel like I’m drowning. It’s because of this overwhelming pull – an all-consuming need to be near her and care for her. Sometimes I feel like I need a break and I take one, but before an hour goes by, I want to be with her again.
Yesterday, Mgo fed her oatmeal. I watched as she reached for and squeezed his hand every time he brought the small, blue spoon to her lips. He opened his mouth and she watched him and did the same. She grabbed the spoon and smeared the oatmeal in her hair and stuck it up her nose. There were moments when she would sit back and just smile at him. And my heart nearly exploded.
No one told me that it will feel like parts of my very soul exist outside of my body but that the sight of my husband interacting with my daughter will make me feel whole.
No one told me there will come a time when you will realize you have got the hang of things. Suddenly you feel brave instead of scared. You begin to trust your instincts. You let go of your insecurities and embrace the fact that what you’re feeling is no longer worry.
It’s the final struggle before your old self meshes with your new self.
It’s the realization that you’re still you.