I know this is all so fresh. It's all new. It's a world you hoped for and when it came, it unlocked a part of you that you didn't know was there. It unlocked a lifetime of love, all stored up for those big, blue eyes.
I nursed my son for two years and I hope to do the same with my daughter. I fully believe that "breast is best" (at least most of the time), and I will gladly talk your ear off about the benefits of nursing. But would you believe me if I told you that I hated nursing so much that I almost quit?
Before I got pregnant, I spent more than a decade dieting, picking apart my every flaw and obsessing over my jean size. But now, as my daughter celebrates her first birthday, I'm happier than ever with my body. Yes, even the stretch marks.
I've always thought that if I complained, asked for help, or took a break that it somehow meant I was giving in and letting my struggles get the best of me. Thankfully, I'm here to tell you that that's just not true. It really is OK to complain sometimes.
This is what motherhood did to me. Motherhood turned me into someone else. Someone who, on most days, I don't recognize. Motherhood took the former me and shook her up a bit. Rocked the ground on which she once stood.
Someone who has just given birth deserves some care. Some rest. Without worrying about anyone's expectations, wants or demands. Without anyone telling her that she should be doing something different or, God forbid, more.
I'd like to offer an alternate spin on what to expect after having kids -- one that errs on the side of gain rather than sacrifice; one that I didn't hear much about while I was pregnant and pondering what life would be like after children.
I've been a parent for over two and a half years now, and I still don't identify as a mom. I mean, I know I'm a mom. I have the stretch marks, sippy cups and sleep-addled brain to prove it. But I don't quite feel like me in this new mom skin yet.
The reflux DOES go away, your baby WILL start sleeping through the night and yes, she WILL learn to take the bottle. So while everything may seem chaotic right now, after about a year that haze will lift and you will actually laugh about some of your current worries. Promise.
I know that it's good for us to be apart. I know she thrives when socializing with other kids and developing relationships with family and close friends. But I feel horrible for abandoning her, and wonder if she internalizes it as "mama cares about something else more than me."