Monday, February 29, 2016

Confessions of a First Time Mom

Motherhood has been the biggest transition of my life. More than the transition into college, the transition into a full time mission, or the transition into marriage. Not because it's more difficult (though some would argue that it is), but because there is just literally no way to prepare fully for motherhood. Other mothers explained their experiences. I read books. I took a class. But seriously, I might as well have just sat around eating bon bons for 9 months of pregnancy for all the good that did me!

Okay, okay. In all reality, I'm glad I did those things. They were helpful in their own ways. But nothing is like the hands on education you receive from just being a mom.

So here are my confessions. Things I have learned, discovered, and seen in these last 11 months of motherhood.



There is no way to explain the utter exhaustion that accompanies life with a newborn. 
Leaving the hospital, I had slept a total of 5 hours over the course of three days. Yeah. So I didn't start things out on a very good foot. 11 months later, and Kymri is still not consistently sleeping through the night. People said I would be tired. Exhausted even. But until you've experienced 11 months of sleep deprivation, you just don't get it. And yet, I'm okay. Granted, I have the most amazing husband in the world who lets me sleep whenever possible. Plus, I'm convinced that mom's are given amazing powers when it comes to functioning on very little sleep. #mombie


Sometimes I don't actually know what's wrong.
When I was pregnant, one of my biggest fears was that I wouldn't understand my baby's needs. People reassured me that I would. As her mother, they said, I would come to intimately understand each cry and what it meant. There would be a hungry cry, dirty diaper cry, tired cry. But here's the truth: sometimes, I don't know what my baby needs. There are times that she has been fed, changed, cuddled, rocked, sung to, burped, has taken a nap, isn't sick, and still cries. Sometimes when that has happened, I've felt like a failure. How could I not know what she needs? I'm her mom. I'm supposed to just know. But I came to a recent realization: sometimes, babies have bad days too. Sometimes they just need to cry. Sometimes I won't know what's wrong. And that's okay. I will keep rocking her and singing to her, and eventually it will pass. I will love her through it and some day she will be able to tell me what's on her mind.


I find joy in the smallest things.
Who knew that I would be so happy over something so simple as hearing the words ma-ma for the first time? Watching my baby learn to clap her hands. Receiving a tender hug. Sleeping 6 hours straight. Or even (I'm gonna go there) the exact right number of wet and messy diapers! It may sound silly to you, but that's happiness. I find joy in a smile, a laugh, and cuddle, a coo. Life has become beautifully simple.

Everyone has an opinion about what you're doing. 
The woman in the grocery store line? The one right behind you that you have never before met in your life? She will tell you that your child should be wearing a hat. After all, it's cold out there and don't you know that your child could catch something in this weather? And the mom of five who seems to just rock life in general, has every hair in place and perfect makeup every day? Yeah. She will laugh at your bulging diaper bag as she somehow carries only a spare diaper in her designer bag (to which I say, rock on). It will happen. At some point, someone will publicly tell you what you are doing wrong. And you just can't let it get to you. The first time this happened to me, I literally cried. I was doing my best. I seriously had no idea what I was doing, but I was trying. And the words stung. Clearly, I had ruined my child's life. But then I told Brad all about the experience and he helped me see that no permanent damage had been done. (Probably, no damage had been done at all). And I was able to move on. Try to smile through the criticism, knowing that people generally aren't trying to offend. They really do mean well. And then move on and laugh about it later.

Sometimes, I am the selfish mom.
As much as I didn't want to be a selfish mom, there are some moments that I just am. I try really hard not to be, but I have my shortcomings. Sometimes, Kymri has been crying all day and I just really need to use the bathroom. So I set her down in a safe place, use the bathroom, wash my face, and take 30 seconds to recharge while she cries for a minute. I feel totally bad about it, but it's necessary at times. It's hard to explain. It's something you just don't understand until you are in that moment. I do what I need to do, still hoping to be better next time.



I now take a ridiculous number of pictures. 
Seriously. I am not even sort of embarrassed to admit that I have taken over 2500 pictures of Kymri! You might think that's excessive. If you have multiple children, you might think I'm crazy. But I will totally own up to the first time mom title on this one. Every single thing is new and exciting, and I want to document it all. Do I need to take 10 pictures of the same moment? Maybe not. But I do it anyways. And I'm not even sorry. Cute face? Click. Learned something new? Click. Fun new outfit? Click. Eating? Click. Sleeping? Click. Click. Click. Click... And of course the world needs to see all of these pictures. #overgram


Chocolate solves many of my troubles. 
Brad's very wise Grandmother taught me that on the nights that I would be up long hours rocking a crying baby, nursing, and trying to catch a wink of sleep here and there, I deserved a piece of chocolate cake. Now is that wisdom, or what? So after a couple of hours of coaxing my stubborn little night owl back down, I would grab some chocolate, not even feel guilty about it, and drift into delicious slumber. Just to be awakened an hour later. But really, it helps. And it doesn't just have to be in the middle of the night. Did the baby wake up earlier than you had hoped? Drink hot chocolate for breakfast. Did you just change your fifth dirty diaper for the day? And was it maybe a blowout? Grab for the Hershey's bar in the freezer. Trust me. This is golden. Moms should simply always have a secret stash of chocolate on hand.

Only one child is a challenge, and that's okay. 
"Just wait til you have another one!" Oh, if I had a dollar for every time I've heard that one! Any time I seem to be struggling with something--getting out the door in less than 20 minutes, figuring out when to take a shower amongst all the mommying, or even just how to be a mom--someone is bound to tell me that the load will only become greater when I have more children. I don't deny this is true. I'm amazed at mothers of many children. Truthfully, I don't even understand how they do it. But I do know that being a mother to one can also be difficult. Everything is new and different and there is no way to prepare for it. So if you're a first time mom and having a tough time figuring it all out, that's okay. It's allowed. And don't worry. You'll get it.


Sometimes I need help. 
Before I had Kymri, I was slow to ask for help. I thought I could do it all. Most of the time, I at least stayed afloat. But after Kymri, I soon realized that I needed help. I had a bit of the baby blues and everything seemed so overwhelming. I remember crying over every little thing. I couldn't do it on my own. I needed help. And I had to ask for it. People are often willing to help new mothers, but just don't know how. Sometimes, it's okay to just ask. Do you need a hot meal? A chance to take a warm shower? A moment to yourself? Some adult conversation? Ask. It's okay.

I don't actually know what I'm doing, but God magnifies my every ability.
I have many weaknesses. Though I try my best, I often fall short and miss the mark. I mean, I've never done this before. But I know without a doubt that my work is noble. It is exactly what God would have me do. And so He magnifies my abilities. I give all that I can, all that I have. And He makes up the rest. He has taught me much about motherhood. I have looked to His example as the perfect Parent and He has taken my meager abilities and made them enough. I literally have no idea what I'm doing and feel like I'm in the motherhood crash course. But with the master teacher, all is well.


I have more love in my heart than I ever imagined possible.
Not only do I have an unexplainable love for Kymri, my love for everyone has grown. I truly can't put into words how much I love this little person. For me, it was instant. My heart grew. She filled me up. And that love has only grown more and more every day. It's a love that I couldn't even understand before Kymri came into my life. There is a special love you feel as a mother. When Kymri wraps her arms around my neck in the most perfect hug, I melt. When she gave me a wet, slobbery kiss for the first time, I literally teared up. The way she lights up when she sees me makes me happier than I can say. It's a love unlike any other. And loving her has made my love for others even greater. I've talked about how much more I adore Brad, even though I didn't think that was possible. The same is true for pretty much everyone. Somehow, I love them even more.


So yes, motherhood is everything they say it will be. It's wonderfully amazing, special, difficult, and fun. It's unlike anything I have ever done before. It is the most rewarding thing I have ever experienced. And yet, I had no idea of all this would be. Motherhood is something to be experienced. A journey to understand only by taking it. And oh, is it ever worth the ride.



22 comments:

  1. Such a beautiful post! I definitely take a million pictures of my kiddos too, and there's no shame in that!

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    1. Thank you, Cara! I don't think I will ever regret having so many pictures!

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  2. These are all so true! I'm right there with you on the only having one child comments, why can't people just be happy and interested in the one little beauty you've already got?! Great post Mama, captures my thoughts on being a new Mom pretty accurately.

    Erin, Attention To Darling
    www.attentiontodarling.com

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    1. Thanks, Erin! You are so right. Why not focus on the moment and all you do have with the one little?

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    1. Thank you so much, Stephanie! I had a good time writing it.

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  4. Beautiful post! I don't have any babies yet but this gives me some insight for when I do.

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    1. Thank you Brittany! There is really no great way to describe everything that motherhood is, but I do like to try to share my thoughts and experiences.

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  5. Beautiful post! I don't have any babies yet but this gives me some insight for when I do.

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  6. Ok. I'm crying. You always say things in just the perfect way (and we had a hard morning and I'm pregnant, so those things probably contributed to the tears). This is a beautiful post and tribute to motherhood! I see miracles every day and feel so blessed to have this wonderful, challenging calling. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
    ~Rhonda~

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    1. Oh Rhonda, I just love you! You are so great and such a wonderful example to me. Gotta love those pregnancy hormones! Hang in there, momma!

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  7. Love the honesty of this post! I'm 10 weeks from meeting baby #2 and I'm excited for the new challenges that will bring!

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    1. How exciting! Good luck with #2 Emily!

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  8. I absolutely love this. So emotional and so true! Beautifully said. I just had my second child and it's so different. Being a first-time mom rocked my world for sure.

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    1. Thank you so much Esther! I am in awe of mothers of multiple children. Keep up the good work!

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  9. So inspiring! Thank you for sharing your words of wisdom!

    xo
    Alice

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    1. Thank you Alice! I'm not sure how wise they are, but I enjoyed sharing my thoughts :)

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  10. Great post and all rings true! I always am reminded that babies are just little humans...things that we don't like they probably wouldn't either!

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    1. That is a great point, Katie!! Sometimes I think we expect too much of babies.

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  11. Yes, yes, yes to all of this! Being a mom is HARD but so fun :)

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  12. I love all of these Kailei! And I can agree with all of them, these are pretty much universal confessions I think. :) Esepcially sometimes that I have NO CLUE what on earth could possibly be wrong (What?! You've been fed, changed, swaddled, held... just go to sleep!!) and chocolate being a universal cure-all. :)

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  13. She is so precious! Yes, being a mom is all of those things—rewarding, difficult, stressful, fun, challenging, a blessing, etc.. I remember those early years and how you just have to learn as you go. Hands on experience is the only way. No book or class can ever prepare you for being in charge of a little human being. I have two who are entering their teenage years now and I must say that time flies by so quickly! Childhood is only for a short season so you have cherish it while it lasts!

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