7.22.2015

state of the motherhood address, part 2



One year ago today I found out I was pregnant. It had been like any other Tuesday, except it felt like my body was going haywire and I was devouring bag after bag of salt and vinegar chips. I came home from work that evening and whipped up some veggie enchiladas. James handed me a box of pregnancy tests and told me to take one. I took one, but it malfunctioned. It gave no indication if it was positive or negative, so I took it as a sign that it was negative and finished making dinner. I finally took the other one awhile later, and as you all know by now, it was positive. I gave a shriek of terror. I cried. I jumped for joy. I started shaking. I laughed. I started thinking about college tuition in 20 years. I cried again. And then I cried for the next five months, mainly while lying on the bathroom floor after throwing my guts up.

I couldn't even begin to fathom holding my own baby. A baby was all I had ever wanted, yet I was in complete denial about my pregnancy until I was sent to the hospital a week later after failing to keep down even a sip of water for days. When I had my first ultrasound at almost 7 weeks and saw a beating heart, it was the first time in nearly 2 weeks that I forgot about the nausea. Sometimes I still feel like I'm babysitting her and wondering when her real mother is coming to pick her up. The mother who has to worry about how to raise her and discipline her one day. That's not me, right?



But I'm so glad it is. When I quit my job, I wondered if the lack of adult interaction during the day would drive me insane. And while I miss the banter and joking around, I don't miss anything else. Except not being covered in spit-up. This is still exactly where I want to be. Unless we're talking about a cabin in the mountains with a live-in barista, in which case hook a sister up. But these slow days at home with a baby are a perfect fit for me. They aren't easy, but they're exactly what I want.

Sometimes I miss my freedom. A lot of times I miss it. I miss doing what I want, when I want. I miss showering without worrying if the baby woke up from her nap or planning my errands around her eating schedule. I miss sleeping as long as I want on the weekends and reading whole books in one sitting. But once I finally get an hour to go out by myself, I find myself missing her and feeling like a vital organ has been removed. Some days I count down the hours and minutes until bed time, and then after she's been down for an hour I watch every video of her on my phone and James has to restrain me from running into her room and hugging her.

A lot of moms talk about how desperately they want their baby to stay little and not grow up. Much to my surprise, I don't feel that way at all. Yes, I cried the first time she slept in her crib. Sure, I look at her newborn pictures and get emotional over how tiny she was, but I love that she's growing up. The older she gets, the more fun it gets, the more natural it feels. I look forward to taking her to the park, pool days in the summer, bike rides around the neighborhood, and family movie nights. I want to teach her how to cook (once I teach myself...kidding! sort of), I want to teach her how to play the piano if she's interested. I want to teach her how to read. I don't want her to stay a baby forever. I want her to grow up. Just not so grown up that she moves out. That I will forbid.

So many things have changed this past year, from my body (oh how it has changed) to the spare room, once full of guitars and drums and an air mattress my friends and family would sleep on while visiting, that has been turned into a nursery (pictures finally coming atcha next week!). I've weeded a lot of people and things out of my life and let others back in. I'm learning that I'm a better mom, wife, and person when I carve out time every day to do something I love. I sleep much better if I clean the kitchen before I go to bed. I'm learning more and more how to keep my wits about me while I'm starving, because it never fails that the second I sit down to eat something, the baby needs me. But show me a picture on Instagram of a sleeping baby while mine screams her head off in the crib and I'll pull your hair out. Yesterday was a bad day, ok?

Everything is a phase. I read that somewhere while I was pregnant, and I repeat it to myself every day. The nursing strike is a phase, just like the eating-every-45-minutes-during-a-wicked-growth-spurt is a phase. The sleep-deprived newborn days are just a phase. The all-day fussiness is a phase. Sometimes reminding myself of that is the only thing that gets me through the day.

And when all else fails: cookies.

13 comments:

  1. Never not jealous of her hair, March 2015-present.

    I had a ~moment~ last week when I found myself looking through pictures of my nephew when he was a baby (he'll be 4 (!!!!) in October. I almost lost it, but then I remembered how fun it is to be able to do stuff with him now that he's older, and how fun it will continue to be.

    Except it wasn't fun last Sunday when he beat me at Wii bowling. Like, all by himself beat me. That wasn't fun. Well, for him, maybe.

    I need to meet Gracie ASAP as possible.

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  2. This. All of this. Except I am a working mom (which sucks, but that is a whole different topic). I have turned into "that person" that won't shut up about her kid. and Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn!

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  3. That photo of her in the crib casually looking over at you could have been peeled from the pages of a Pottery Barn Kids catalog. I know I say this every time you post a new photo of her, and I'm going to keep saying it because it's still relevant- I DIE. Every time.

    I totally understand what you're saying about Gracie getting older being bittersweet. I feel that way about my brother. I have a photo of him when he was maybe 6 or 7 years old on the pin-board next to my desk at work. Sometimes I look at it and want to cry (some days=most days) but when I see his 18 year old self-now, I wouldn't trade the last ten or eleven years of his successes and his joys to have back the baby version of him. But I'll never stop looking at those baby pictures, and you shouldn't either! :)

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  4. I absolutely love your take on her growing up so quickly. We have phases of our lives that we all go through, the next will be just as fun as the last. I love how much hair she has!!! You're doing an incredible job miss!!!

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  5. Beautifully written, my friend. I'm also excited to see that you're going to post about her nursery because I was admiring her blue crib and wondering if you painted it!!

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  6. This is so true. I feel the same way. Also, how cute her nursery is! Love it!

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  7. I can't sleep without cleaning the kitchen, either - dirty dishes in the sink when there's room in the dishwasher = anxiety.

    I need to have a kid soon so you don't forget all the baby advice you're supposed to give me when the time comes...

    Also, I see nothing wrong with being happy that your kid is growing up a little bit and getting to be more fun. Nothing wrong with it at all. People who miss having a tiny infant that badly should just have another tiny infant...heheh.

    ALSO, tell Gracie to share some of her hair with me, please. It's about the same color, and she has plenty to spare.

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  8. Her nursery is just the cutest! And that last picture of her...yeah, it's too much. I too, look at pictures and watch videos of my baby after she has gone to bed. And I wonder what is wrong with me the whole time I am doing it. But, I loved this post. I love your thoughts on these early stages of motherhood. I am loving the 3-4 month age, but I agree with you: it's just going to keep getting more fun.

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  9. Her hair is just like.
    Can't describe it.
    Awesome.
    Thanks for your honest and always witty state of the motherhood addresses. I'm right behind you!

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  10. I love reading your blog. I always leave here feeling good. I'm so happy for you and I really value your perspective as a mother.

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  11. I love watching my kids grow, LOVE IT. Yeah, sometimes I miss the "easy" baby stage, when my daughter has an attitude, or is running away from me (gosh, how can such a small person be so FAST?) But mostly, I love seeing her learn and grow, do more things, and me teaching her to do things. It's amazing to shape this little person.

    And I forget what I did before kids. It's been nearly four years, and this is my new normal. I like it. This is what I do now.

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  12. Glad to hear I'm not the only mother thinking these thoughts. My kid, my baby girl, will be TWO in a few weeks. TWO. I'm sorry, but didn't I give birth to her yesterday? I'm not overly sentimental about her growing up either, except now I look back and think, I'm here already? She's speaking in phrases and sentences and knows more words than I can count?

    Yes, you are also totally right- everything, good and bad, is just a phase. And before you know it, they won't need to nurse first thing and you can sleep in while your husband handles her (!!!!). Life will get easier (and harder) in lots of ways. It does continue being awesome.

    I am catching up on these posts after my vacation and I just cannot believe that your child is the hair twin of my own. I feel like we could have lengthy conversations about the comments strangers make, having to have a first haircut at 4 months old, having bald-headed babies' mothers look wistfully at your child, and trying to figure out what to do with the general awesomeness of that much hair. In due time, I imagine. :)

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  13. I hear you on enjoy the new phases. For the most part. I like understanding him more now and not worrying about every little thing. I also like that he can entertain himself now, even if it is just talking to the wall for half an hour. I'm really looking forward to the future, though, even the near future when he can hold his head up all the time and be interactive. I love his little judgemental face, but I'm so excited for him to smile and reach for me and cook me dinner and give me foot rubs.

    I'm sure Gracie's just going through a developmental jump and she'll come out on the other side of it offering to give you a foot massage.

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