I put on a good show in front of others. But on the inside, confusion and guilt racked my brain. How was it possible, I wondered, that I wasn't completely enamored with my first born child?
It has been a full year since my daughter first gave me a glimpse into her stubborn and impatient personality. A full year since she showed me that in life, not everything goes according to plan. While that may have been the first lesson I learned as a mother, over the following year I picked up many more.
I know everything feels undone. I know being a grown-up sucks. I know your house is a mess. I know you have writer's block. I know you feel behind. I know you wish you were superwoman. I know. I know. But. You just had a baby.
If you take nothing else away, I've boiled it down to this: Tune out all the judgment, trust yourself, try not to worry so much, laugh, give yourself a break, be flexible and don't Google anything!
Suddenly, all those years playing defense against the ever-persistent sperm brigade seemed a monumental wasted effort. According to the drawings and descriptions of the complex and interdependent biological processes involved, getting pregnant was nearly impossible.
I was ignorant to most of how this all worked, and Kelley had to explain a lot along the way. To me, I thought our first try would yield an instant positive on the pregnancy test and then we just wait it out for nine months. Go ahead, laugh, and if you see me in person, laugh in my face; I'll understand.
I am writing this exactly 35 days, 4 hours and 51 minutes into my life as a father. I can attest to the experience being grand and challenging. Incredibly pure joy and intoxicating elation felt for the smallest moments shared, of smiles and stares (and silence). Incredibly trying sleep deprivation creating zombie-like states and hair-trigger moods for my wife and me.
Having a baby can be such a wonderful, rewarding experience! Except when it's not. High need or not, we all love our babies. However, these extra-sensitive, passionate little babies do make life... interesting, to be sure.
Parenthood can be an emotional roller coaster. With a new baby on the way, your family will experience changes. Therefore, the best way to combat anxiety is to prepare for the challenges you may face.
No one should co-opt your C-section story for their birth agenda. Just like shaming women about how they breastfeed or formula-feed is anti-feminist, so is shaming them and questioning them about how they birth.
Though I'm overjoyed to be reveling in what I feel is my "complete family," I can now say with complete confidence that having two kids is no freaking joke.
My carefree life had already been obliterated with the birth of our first child. We'd barely notice the addition of a mere 8 to 10 pounds' worth of additional human in our household. This was what I told myself, along with a few other handy lies...
I love my stretch marks, because they are a constant reminder of who I am. But they are only a part of what defines me. I am so much more than a mom. I am a woman, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a wife, a thinker, a writer, a deep feeler, a dreamer, a doer.
Many years ago, while still full of life, my boobs raised eyebrows. Now they are flat like pancakes. If only they were still round like pancakes.
You have somehow transported yourself into a different dimension where everyone talks about themselves in the third person, as in, "Mama needs some time to herself, like, for real..."
Over time, you find that the love isn't split into three, it's multiplied by three, and that sharing isn't sharing anymore; it's a way of life that is so natural, beautiful and fulfilling that you can't imagine any other way.