“He doesn’t have any eyelashes! Where are his eyelashes?!”Of all the poignant and beautiful things I could have said, those were the only words I could muster as my newborn son was placed into my arms for the very first time. They were words of amazement, not observation. That a real live baby was actually in my arms; that we’d created an honest to goodness life. I didn’t know what I was in for, but I knew it was going to be something wonderful. From the very beginning, I didn’t want to let him go; I didn’t want my newborn son out of my arms, let alone out of my sight. I knew, from that first eyelash-less glimpse, that I would be smitten with this little boy from that moment on.
It was easy to fall in love with him. It wasn’t, however, so easy to fall in love with being a mom.
The sleepless nights. The exhausting days. The total flip-flop of my life. The lack of mental stimulation; the constant stimulation! The ever present need to give of myself fully to allow this little life to thrive. I loved my son, and I loved that he was my son. I loved being his mom, but I didn’t love being a mom.
From the very beginning I have loved my son with all that I have to give. I knew I would be lost without him. I found appreciation in all the little moments, but it literally took years — almost three — for me to fall in love with being a mom. To see and accept the true value of motherhood. Before it was just all-consuming; now it’s all-encompassing.
“Before” I fulfilled my motherly duties as just that: obligations. I did things because I knew I needed to or because it was the right thing to do. I was drowning in negative emotions: guilt, regret, and despair followed me around like a dark grey cloud, just waiting to unleash its storm upon me. I wasn’t unhappy or depressed, I just wasn’t ready to fully embrace motherhood for all that it could be. While I enjoyed my son, I was still aching for the things I was missing. I wasn’t ready to surrender myself to my new role as mom and all that it entailed.
Now, I yearn for extra moments with my son. For him to wake up from his nap or come home from school. I miss him even when he’s with his dad or his grandparents. I want to talk about him every minute I’m not with him and even when I am. My life, though it includes many other things, revolves around him.
The difference now is that I enjoy that. I want that.
Before I fell in love with being a mom, missing out on other opportunities was painful and I felt a loss. Now, while it may sting for a moment, it doesn’t hurt. I’m where I want to be and that’s with my son. I know these times won’t last eternally, so soaking them up while I have the chance is the option that keeps me happy and fulfilled. For the first time since my son was born, I’m not waiting for that break, that reprieve, or that hour of help. I still appreciate those things, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t count on them for my survival.
You’d think the terrible twos is when I’d start throwing in the towel in frustration or wondering what I’d gotten myself into, but it’s just the opposite. I’m finally relating to people that thrive on having kids and molding their days around them. It’s no longer a duty or an act to enjoy the things my son does or the experiences he has; it’s truly something amazing.
Before I was just wading through motherhood; now, I’m living it.