Sunday, 12 April 2015

A letter to myself--Dear new mom to be

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So I've reached the point in this pregnancy when meltdown city starts to happen. When I can barely walk since I'm already a few cm dilated and feeling every single painful step as I manoeuvre my way through my days. When the contractions are coming on so strongly, so frequently--but so inconsistently that it is just a painful tease. When I can't get up off the floor after bending over to brush little people's teeth or get them dressed in the morning. When sleep is non-existent since the pain in my back burns every time that I move. It's the time in this pregnancy when my patience wears thin since I just can't wait anymore to meet our little son or daughter. I just can't wait.
And everything that I'm feeling is everything that I'm sure every mom has felt at the end of their pregnancy, so it's something that I knew I should expect--but somehow you forget, and all of a sudden it's a surprise again. So I decided to look back to my other pregnancies for some inspiration. For some perspective. For some comfort. Because when you're at this point of wanting something so badly, it's good to be reminded of the small details that make it so amazing, so incredible and so hard, all in the same breath.

So when I scrolled through some of my old blog posts, I came across this post that I wrote a while ago. A post (a letter, actually) that was intended for new mom's-to-be...but really, it should be for anyone who is about to have a baby...their first, or (for us) their third. Because it reminded me of what to expect, what we have to look forward to and the reality of the challenges that undoubtedly come with having a new baby. So this one is for me--to give me my perspective back. To give me some clarity and patience as we wait for that incredible day that we are so blessed to be able to experience again. That day that I'm dreaming of and wishing for--because this baby is going to be welcomed into many outstretched arms who have been waiting patiently for him or her.

So, here it is...a little perspective and clarity for me...


     Dear New Mom-To-Be,
     Hi. My name is Erica--can I give you a hug? I know you'll need it because that's what we do when we both congratulate someone and when we need to comfort/support someone. Two of the things that I know you'll need lots of in the next little while after that sweet little baby of yours is born.

Over the past two years a lot of my pregnant friends have asked me what they should expect when their babies are born, and it's been hard to explain in full. I'm not sure that I even know how. But I thought I'd give it a try. A tiny, small fragment at least, of some of the things that you might experience as you approach this new world of motherhood.
Now let me start off by letting you know that I'm no expert.

Not. Even. Close.

But I am a mama of two who loves her babies hard, who has survived bringing two babies home from the hospital and who is still learning how to do it all (if that's even possible)--each and every day.

So, here it is. The reality of what you're about to step into, from one mama's perspective (and one mama's perspective alone). We all have different experiences, which is why it's so hard to explain to people sometimes what it's really like...but I'll try, from this mama's point of view.

Here you go:

You are about to experience the most incredible love that you've ever felt in your life. Your baby will be placed in your arms for the first time and your head will be spinning from the experience. You won't even be able to process what has just happened. This miracle will lay in your arms and you'll look at him/her and try to take it all in...but you won't be able to. It's too incredible. Too deep. Too amazing. But you'll try. Because you'll want so badly to breathe in every moment of it. Every second of it.

And yes, before you get to hold this precious little being it will hurt. It will hurt like nothing you have felt before. But you can do it. You're strong. You're brave. You're born to do this. Your body will do the work that it is designed to do, so don't worry if you don't know how to do it. You just breathe, listen to the nurses or your midwife and you'll be fine. Whenever I hear of women going into labor I'm so envious of the experience that they're about to have. I want to do it over and over again. A lot of work, pain (and some cursing) is all working towards the most incredible miracle in the world. It's completely worth it. I promise.

The pain that you were feeling just moments ago is now gone (well, mostly gone) and you'll hold that little bundle and try to examine every inch of his/her little face. You'll lock eyes with this little soul and you'll try to let the experience sink in. And you'll breathe. Because you did it. It's over. Good job, mama.

The first few days will be a combination of wonderful, scary, incredible and exhausting. Your body will hurt. But give it about 10 days and you'll start to feel better as your body begins to heal. It will get better.   

Carter-first week {at hospital}

As you hold that sweet baby you'll try to figure out what life is going to look like now. But you won't be able to, because it takes a while for life to settle into any kind of rhythm again. And that's okay--because a miracle has just been dropped into your arms. How can you expect that life will be anything as it used to be? A new normal will start to emerge though, and although it will be different, it will be great. It will be so so great.

Mya-first week {at home}
 "Enjoy every minute of this--they grow up so fast", you will hear. And you'll want to. You'll want so badly to enjoy every minute of it, because if everyone is saying it, it must be the goal of this whole mothering thing. But it's not. Just know that it's not. The goal is not to enjoy every single minute.

It's about enjoying the great moments and learning from the hard ones.

Don't feel bad if you're not soaking up every blissful moment of motherhood, because motherhood is not supposed to be 100% blissful. How would we ever learn, grow and teach if every moment was wonderful? Motherhood is sometimes hard. Really hard. But it will ultimately show us who we really are. What kind of person, behind closed doors, when noone is looking...we really are.

Mya {a few weeks old}
You'll discover things about yourself that you never knew before and you can't possibly discover those things if every single moment of mothering was incredible. But those wonderful moments? They're incredible. More than incredible. If you are completely present with your child and soak up every inch of them, man do they ever make the hard times fade away quickly. It's what will keep you going. Keep you smiling and keep you loving. 

And nighttime? Well, it's not always easy. You thought that you were tired when you were pregnant, but you will never experience anything like the exhaustion of being woken up and having to comfort a little human being multiple times in the middle of the night. It's okay if it doesn't feel like bliss. It's hard. So hard. But look at that bundle crying in your arms at 3am and breathe. You can do this. You're so lucky. So so lucky.

Do you know how many people would give everything that they have to be able to be woken up in the middle of the night with a baby of their own? You're so blessed. Go to your baby. Hold your baby. And when you're too tired to do it again, take a moment outside his/her bedroom door. It's okay to feel like you just can't do this anymore. We've all felt it. But you can. You can do this. And you know what? There won't always be sleepless nights. One day you'll look back and it will be a fleeting memory.

This too shall pass. So although it's hard, try to enjoy those sweet quiet moments in the middle of the night when your baby has finally settled. One day those moments won't be there anymore.

This wild ride of motherhood feels like your heart is all of a sudden completely exposed. Open and raw. Bursting with a love for your child that you can't even describe. But easily broken with even the slightest thought of any harm coming to your baby. Your heart will beat for your child and sometimes it will really hurt. Your child's pain will be your pain, multiplied by a million. Your child's tears will turn into your tears as your souls entwine and his/her hurt or fears become your own.  

You will never be able to describe how it really feels to others. I can't even begin to try.

But just know that life with this new little being, although different than what it once was...although harder than what you might have expected...although more wonderful than you ever anticipated is all worth it in the end. Hang in there, mama. This ride of motherhood is going to make you love like you have never loved before.

Erica xox

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