Well, I missed my Mommy Monday post this week. Instead, I spent my Monday in my pajamas and did as many mindless activities as possible while the hubs and son had multiple Nerf battles and the girlies played with their puzzles and doll house.
The kids were so engrossed in their new toys they didn’t even ask for breakfast, which was fine with me (I’m thinking this could cut down on my grocery bill). And since tomorrow is Wednesday, I figured I’d combine the two days with some Mommy Words– a letter I’ve shared with expectant friends.
Last Monday, I shared my story about finding out I was pregnant the 1st time. That pregnancy progressed, and things went very well. I had little morning sickness and suffered from only minor pregnancy “issues” like gagging while brushing my teeth and become extremely claustrophobic to the point it was a challenge to even kiss the hubs. Unfortunately, delivery wasn’t as nice and neat (I’m happy to share the details if you really want to know). But when it was all said and done, I had a precious little baby boy.
And so life with a baby began.
(insert tired sigh here)
After about year, I found out a friend of mine was expecting her first child. Looking back at my first year of Motherhood, I decided that I would share with her a few things I wish I had known from the beginning. And so this is what I sent to her. I worried and worried that it may offend her, but thankfully she found it encouraging. whew. So I hope that’s what it is to you as well…even if you don’t have kids.
I feel obligated to write and tell you a few things that I wish I’d known…and I’d like to share my first month as a mother experience with you. I tell you this so that if you find yourself feeling like I did, you’ll know you’re not the only one:
You will love your baby, but for me those feelings were not immediate. J actually didn’t feel like mine for several days. However, my mother instinct definitely came out, and I felt overwhelmed to take care of this little guy. But along with my mother instinct came a whole pile of emotions—many caused by the upheaval in hormones, others caused by the sudden reality of having a baby. Yes, you’ll probably have the baby blues (I cried often for absolutely no reason and felt utterly depressed. And this will confuse your husband, so be sure to prepare him and explain during your crying spell that you’re probably crying for no reason—if you really are). However, beyond the baby blues, which people had prepared me for, I was overwhelmed with thoughts and emotions that I didn’t expect.
At first, I felt that I was totally incapable of taking care of J. Even though he was sleeping, eating, and having plenty of dirty diapers, I felt somewhat helpless. Then I felt, on many occasions, that I wasn’t cut out for motherhood. These feelings usually came during difficult times (2 am feedings, crying spells, not being able to do what I wanted). Along with feeling not cut out for the job, I often hated it. HATED IT. Hated everything about it. Loved J, HATED being a mother. I couldn’t take a shower when I wanted, couldn’t work on things I wanted, couldn’t cook dinner, and overall felt like a total failure as a wife because I couldn’t take care of my husband (laundry, dinner, normal conversation, etc). On top of that, I thought that J was probably bored with me…after all he did see me all day every day.
When I wasn’t thinking those thoughts, I wondered why I ever go married because if I weren’t married, I wouldn’t have gotten pregnant and wouldn’t be in this situation. Then I thought about leaving—“I could just leave”—and it was a serious thought and very tempting especially when the car was sitting outside!
There were SO many thoughts that just kept coming—and it seemed that they wouldn’t stop. Constantly, I found myself thinking “I hate this, I hate this, I hate this” Until one night, I felt God tell me that I needed to stop thinking those thoughts; I needed to think the truth. The TRUTH which was “Children are a heritage of the Lord.” So every time I had that negative thought, I countered it with the Truth. But it was a struggle for the first month…until one day I woke up, looked at J, and was excited about what the day would hold.
Then I found joy in being his mother. As Oswald Chambers writes in My Utmost for His Highest, I learned to “sing in the ordinary days and ways” (June 4). But I think much of that joy came about through my husband’s prayers for me to find joy in motherhood. So tell your husband to start praying for you to have joy! Yes, You’ll still have tough days, but overall, there is joy that colors every moment. It was hard, especially when I had one good day and thought they would all be good from then on. But reality is sometimes hard to accept. Motherhood, more than marriage, will make you realize you’re selfishness; it will challenge you unlike anything you’ve ever experienced, but after the initial shock, you’ll find joy; you’ll learn to sing.
Now, six years later, I wish I could say the transition between the last two paragraphs has been as smooth in real life as it appears on paper. It is still a constant battle, but it IS getting easier. So keep your chin up. As my mother says, “this too shall pass”.
And just in case you think I’m crazy for feeling the things I did, here’s some more proof that you and I are not alone: