moth•er•hood (ˈmʌð ərˌhʊd)
1. the state of being a mother.
2. the qualities or spirit of a mother.
3. mothers collectively.
Sounds about right. For the majority of my life, I wanted nothing to do with it. I had come to the realization that I was one of those women who could probably live her entire life and never have children and be completely happy with that. I was in no rush to experience pregnancy, certainly not birth (didn’t that hurt REALLY bad??) and I certainly did not want to surrender my perky breasts to some baby that cried and pooped and woke me up at night. I did not want toys in my living room, food smeared on my counter tops, high chairs crowding my dining room or bath toys in my guest bathtub like every other house where children lived had. I didn’t want to give up riding horses, traveling or drinking wine. The entire thing sounded horrible and highly disrupting to my life. I actually pitied pregnant women when I saw them walking down the street thinking, “that poor woman has to get that thing OUT of her!!!”.
Then, on June 17th of 2011, I unexpectedly discovered I was expecting…a baby. Not a new job. Not a new car. Not a vacation. But a BABY. There was a baby brewing in my belly. Oh shit. Now what? Totally unplanned. Total one-time “oops”. How did this happen? I did the math on who, what, when, where (so to speak) and, to this very day, I still have absolutely no idea HOW I got pregnant. Yes, I understand how the birds and the bees work blah blah blah but, without getting into too many TMI details, the timing really didn’t add up.
I stared at that stick and tried to decide whether the positive line was “faint” or not. Whether I got a false positive or not. Whether maybe I was in a dream and I was going to wake up any minute. Nope. This was the real deal, y’all. The best part? Baby daddy had just left for his first deployment only a week prior. I was going to have to break the news to him over the phone and when he returned home six months later, I would be a fat cow. That 10 pounds I was going to lose while he was gone? Yeah well, how ‘bout I gain 22 instead?? Ha! I took three more tests just to make sure. All positive. I sent a snapshot of that “faint” line to my friend, Lauren, to see if she thought it was faint too….she immediately replied, “that is not a faint line! That is a LINE!”. Confirmed. I was indeed pregnant. Here we go.
Fast forward to now…baby girl is fourteen months old, going on two years old, I swear…! She is crazy awesome, energetic, happy, curious, smart, healthy – everything you want your child to be. She wears me out, tests my patience (I don’t have a lot to begin with), pushes me into frustration, makes me cry, pulls my hair, hits me, scratches me, nurses A LOT (i.e. has completely taken over my breasts), sometimes wakes me up at night, interrupts my social life, keeps me from reading and writing when I want to, breaks stuff, climbs on things I would rather her not climb on, ruins her cute clothes with food or dirt, yells, throws fits, throws food and otherwise completely alters my life. BUT she is the best thing that has ever happened to me. She pushes me in directions I never thought I wanted to go. She makes me stop and smell the roses, literally. She shows me things I used to be “too busy” to pay attention to. She has given me the opportunity to take charge of my health and make changes to my diet for the better. She brings me smiles, laughter and love every. single. day. She is an innocent. She is pure. She is genuine. She is smarter than me. She is more than I ever though I would produce in offspring. She is more beautiful than anything I’ve ever seen before. She is the reason my heart beats every day. She is the purpose of my being now. She is my everything.
I never thought I’d say those things. I was always annoyed by people who posted ten million things about how great their kid was on Facebook or how many times they pooped that day (okay I still think that is weird) or what words they said that day etc etc. Who cares? Oh. Right. I get it now. YOU – the parent – do. You think that is the coolest thing that has happened all day. Because it is! For me personally, you grow this tiny being in your own body for months. You feel it begin to take shape and move. Then you bring this little angel Earth side. However that takes place, it is absolutely incredible. Birth, for me, was the most empowering and incredible achievement I have ever experienced. Nothing even comes close to topping it. I got up from 19 hours of labor and birthing my little girl and thought, “I can do ANYTHING now if I just got through that!”. The confidence and strength that came from the rite of passage of birth is indescribable…I cannot even find words to begin to describe it. A total game changer for life.
I am so glad that I “accidentally” got pregnant with this little joy of mine. “Accidental” is debatable – I think the universe knew what it was doing when the stars aligned just right to conceive my perfect baby girl. I never thought I’d nurse a baby much past six months. Until I did. It is the single most important thing I feel I can do for her. And it really comes in handy for temper tantrums and meltdowns! Do I feel like my body has been hijacked by a tiny person? Most definitely. But I keep reminding myself, these months in the grand scheme of my life or her life, is nothing but a small slice of the pie. There will come a day when it will end and I will miss it. (I had to remind myself of that just last night when I really wanted to go to bed and she had other plans…)
Motherhood is crazy. Motherhood is exhausting, especially when your baby daddy is deployed. Motherhood is exhilarating. Motherhood is incredible. Motherhood is painful. Motherhood is empowering. Motherhood is a journey – every day is new. Motherhood is out of control most days. Motherhood is the exact opposite of selfish. Motherhood is a daily sacrifice of personal wants and desires. Motherhood is the greatest reward and the most humbling and educational experience of your life.
I wouldn’t trade this chapter of life for anything. Okay, maybe a few nights out shakin’ it on the dance floor of a loud and crowded club would be great…! No, but seriously, this has been one helluva ride for the past couple of years and way better than I ever expected or though it would be. Now when I see pregnant women walking down the street, my previous pity has turned to all smiles, goose bumps and joy thinking, “she has no idea how great her life is about to get”.
Watching my baby girl learn to smile, roll over, crawl, laugh, walk and now talk is amazing. Unbelievable. She studies everything she sees. Birds, trees, flowers, dogs (or any animal for that matter) are the coolest things she has ever seen and worth spending a good 10-15 minutes learning about and absorbing. What happened in adulthood that WE stopped doing that? Why are we so busy we don’t notice flowers, birds and trees? Why don’t we say hi to everyone we pass by? Why don’t we think putting shoes on is the most fun part of getting dressed? Why isn’t bath time a total blast for us? Why don’t we stop and take a nap if we are tired? Life gets too busy. ‘To do’ lists take over the things that should be the most important in order to live a fulfilled and enriched life. (I HATE ‘to do’ lists!)
Raising a baby/child makes you stop and focus on the things that are most important in life…which is why this post is a day late – I have a very hard time finding time to write (or read!) since this baby girl has started walking and talking. She is not real cool with me ignoring her and typing on my computer, understandably. But she is way more important than any blog will ever be no matter how cool my blog might get one day ☺ And she is growing faster than I am cool with.
Happy Mother’s Day to all my mommy friends, family and mommy-to-bes! Cheers to you that put your wants, needs and desires on hold to be there for your babies and help them become the people they want to be. Cheers to my own mother for always rubbing my back to help me fall asleep as a child and for always allowing me to try anything I wanted to while growing up. Cheers to my mother-in-law for raising a strong, confident and charming son to be the father of my baby. He was born to be a Daddy and I know he learned that from his childhood. Cheers to mothers everywhere doing the very best they can to raise the best babies they can.
And now, maybe I will get a bathroom break ALONE today….here’s for hoping, right??
Newborn baby girl
A six-monnth old baby girl
Mommy and Me through the past six months…
Can’t get enough of this girl!