Packing Up The Newborn Clothes & Other Mama Heartaches

You know, I’m not sure anything has tugged on my heart strings quite as enthusiastically as starting the inevitable pack-up of my first child’s 0-3 month clothing (insert crazed mommy sob here).

I suspect that nothing could have prepared me emotionally for how it would feel to witness the speed at which my child is growing, and with every tiny, soft, sweet smelling item from his first wardrobe, I realize that, actually, from now on I’ll be living in a permanent start of sadness tinged joy. And so the new mom plot thickens.

How fast he’s developed and blossomed is only half of the reason that I feel so conflictingly blessed as a mother though.

Those wonderful first moments during pregnancy, labor and birth, as my son and I worked together as the ultimate life-giving and sustaining team, are, well, over. Slowly over time, as he explores and excites over life and learning, my role begins to take a back seat, leaving me permanently poised a step behind him, supporting but not always leading the way as I did in those first days when he entered my world.

How wonderful that is. And how heart wrenching too.

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Watching my son grow is surely the greatest show on earth for me, and I arguably have the best seat in the house, one I can genuinely say I’ll never tire of, but as my heart softens towards him and his own journey, it also begins to harden into that of a loving, and necessarily accepting parent whose children give her more meaning that she knew possible.

And so, I find myself plummeted into this entirely new world of clinging to life-changing memories of my own, and forming new ones for us both simultaneously. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt stronger or more fragile. Certainly never more enriched. Certainly never more purposeful.

None of the baby books cover this, as far as I can tell. This new terrain, where I can’t seem to keep from looking back, empowered as I was by my birth experience and the sheer exhilaration of forging this new path into motherhood, and ultimately into who I now am.

This new terrain where, looking onwards, also promises to create an ever-strengthening you.

After all, its not just the children who are born. A mother is born also. Continue reading

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On Learning To Breathe Again…

Well, here I am on a grey but warm Sunday afternoon, getting some much appreciated quiet time. It doesn’t matter that it’s in the front seat of our car, in a mall parking lot, while the baby snores away and the husband shops. The world is still for just a moment or two, and It. Is. Glorious.

This seems like as good a time as any to reflect on the last few days, in particular the joys and challenges that have wandered my way since Friday. It’s been a rough one folks, but baby bear and I seem to be emerging now, a little stronger overall and a lot better prepared for the next emotional hiccup that could head our way.

Thanks to a kick butt support system I’m back on my feet and ready for action, though not without a flurry of tears and a lot of passed way out, snoring, and drooling type snoozing, the kind that always helps to reset both my mind and my aptitude for unwavering patience.

I’m learning that everything looks more attainable in the daylight, and that sometimes it’s okay to say “You take the baby, while I regroup”. Actually, that’s the right thing to do, and makes for a much healthier learning curve as a new and flapping Mama Bear.

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At first I would fight the tears just hearing someone else tend to little man’s cries, figuring I was failing, since obviously I’m the only person on earth capable of sticking his paci back in his mouth and shushing him for 30 seconds.

And then I just stop. I breathe. I let go.

Let go of the expectations I, and only I, have placed on myself. Of the rigid believe (which I’ve acquired through waaaaay too many baby books) of what a mother really is. Of the often times compulsive need to control every second of this new journey. 

I breathe. I trust. I rest. And I start again.

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10 Things You Should Never Say To A New Mom

1. “Oh, my baby started sleeping through the night at just 3 weeks old.” – After you just shared that your 4 month old is yet to do the same. Sigh.

2. “So, are you going to have more kids do you think?” – 3 days after giving birth to this one. Ermmm, still shell-shocked right here, thank you very much.

3. “Are you having another already?” – Nope, that’s just the baby weight. Cheers though.

4. “Oh, breastfeeding was the most natural, magical, bonding experience I ever had with my child.” – As you juggle your screaming infant from cradle hold, to football hold, to nursing lying down and back to the beginning again.

5. “My labor was so enjoyable. As soon as I got the epidural I could just talk and hang out and savor every moment.” – After your labor moved so fast that pain meds weren’t even an option OR the epidural failed. Nice.

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6. “You look so tired.” – Blink. Blink Blink. Oh, well, imagine that.

7. “My baby was just so chilled out. He really never cried. Not like that, anyway.” – As said infant screams his way through a public place. Lovely.

8. “Oh, my child never watched TV. We don’t do that in our house.” – Lady, if I didn’t turn the TV on every now and again I’d never eat, use the bathroom or wash my hair in peace. Needs must, people.

9. “You’ll forget all the pain as soon as the baby arrives, it’s just so magical.” – Lies! Now, I agree with the magic, but the evaporation of pain? Did you see what just came out of me!!? Be real.

10. “You’re body will never look the same again.” – Well, true. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing, and I believe that you can lose the weight and own your new shape if you choose to. Life changes and so do we. That’s awesome isn’t it, though?

 

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