Sunday, March 16, 2014
It's been four whole months since Stella was born and I still don't have the words to adequately express how excited, tired, incredulous, scared, and humbled I feel to now be her mama. While I realistically knew it wouldn't be bliss all the time, I had seriously underestimated the of hard work, self doubt, and of course sleep deprivation that would become our norm. It's been helpful to realize that most everything (the good and the bad) are just phases and will pass, and to learn to be flexible and adapt as you go along. This is especially difficult for a creature of habit, schedules and routines like me but I'm learning slowly. Most of all, my choice in how to view things has made a large difference. On a bad day, I would feel like the baby was taking me hostage, catering to her every whim. And on a good day, I would be able to tell myself that responding to her needs helps strengthen our bond and that a secure attachment will ultimately give her the confidence to explore and be independent. She can't know she's deliberately keeping me away from my sleep or household chores or online shopping, she simply just needs her mama.
Near the end of my pregnancy, I started feeling more introverted and wanted to keep my world quite small and protected, probably in anticipation of the baby and the total chaos that would ensue. After she was born, our world opened back up and I felt so supported by family and friends who encouraged us every step of the way and marveled at Stella along with us. There was great advice and not so great advice, all given with good intentions. And slowly we are learning what feels right to us and the values we want to have as parents. Navigating new parenthood can sometimes feel isolating and yet there is also great comfort knowing others who have walked the same path. In the beginning when things were just so new and difficult I couldn't wrap my brain around how other people did this and even had multiple children! Were their babies just better sleepers? Did they have selective amnesia? Now when I am up for the 4th time at night with Stella, I think about other mothers somewhere around the world that are up at that very moment with their babies as well. And if it's 5am, I think about my friend Jill who is probably up with her baby just a few miles away from me. And this helps me feel less lonely and more brave to join the ranks of these women who have come before me in loving and raising their babies.