After reading this article recently, I felt compelled to pour out a little advice onto the pages of my little corner of the internet… not because I’m an expert- not even close. Simply because it’s fresh in my mind and I hope to never forget it…
There are things no one tells you about motherhood. Perhaps they’re worried that if this information were to be shared with the world, the population would cease to increase in number. Nevertheless, and never one to shy away from self-disclosure, I feel the need to express these things. For example, veteran moms won’t often tell you about the daily shower of bodily fluids that land on their clothing, or the struggle to get their child to sleep/ eat/ poop. They rarely mention the fact that their bodies are no where near what they used to be, nor the fact that it will take you approximately 1.5 additional hours to get to any destination. This includes the pharmacy around the corner.
No one tells you that you will cry. OHHH you will cry. That surge of hormones in the first few weeks after delivery may make you question your sanity and capability and consider admitting yourself to a mental hospital. They neglect to inform you that it hurts. I mean, yes, we’re all aware that delivering a baby hurts, but the recovery really is a six week process. And it’s difficult. It’s difficult to be in pain, but it’s also difficult to not be able to just bounce back and be your old self again especially now that you have a lot more on your plate.
While you’re pregnant, you will hear plenty of advice- some of it welcome, and some of it notsomuch. You will read a thousand books (or maybe none) and Google a million different things, but no one tells you that most of that advice can be thrown out the window once your little one actually arrives. Why? Because you go into survival mode. No matter how much you highlighted or dog-eared or book-marked, you won’t remember to turn to page 254 of your beloved “What To Expect…” book. You might not remember all that sound advice your sister gave you about soothing a fussy baby. And even if you do remember, it might not work. You do what works to keep your baby healthy and your family/ sanity in tact.
There’s no mention of missing your former life and the freedom that came with it- even for just a split second. I’m not even talking about the freedom to go and do and be seen. I’m simply talking about the freedom to get up and go to the bathroom without feeling guilty because your child is still screaming in the other room from gas pain, or the freedom to have time to brush your hair or change out of your pajamas- oh, the pajamas. They probably didn’t tell you that you might go to bed in the same clothes in which you awoke that morning AND the fact that these clothes will probably be covered in the aforementioned bodily fluids. Realizing this fact might also throw you back into those fits of tears.
God forbid we say it aloud lest the other super moms think we’re doing it all wrong, but motherhood is not always fun. It’s not always enjoyable. It’s not even bearable sometimes. There are days when the simplest things seem the hardest (“Child, just EAT/ SLEEP/ POOP! I promise you’ll feel so much better!”) and there are certainly moments when I cry more tears than my six-week-old daughter. They don’t tell you that there will be emotions that come with those tears that you didn’t expect- anger, frustration, confusion, fear, doubt, and a healthy heap of guilt just for feeling all those things to pile on top… but also another emotion emerges from the motherhood fog… joy. Unspeakable joy.
I never knew that I could be so in awe of such a tiny little thing- That her smallest accomplishment would feel like my accomplishment too. I didn’t expect for her to feel like an individual- especially at only six weeks old. It was difficult to realize that she is not me. She’s not even an extension of me. She is her own unique being with emotions and thoughts and opinions and needs. I never imagined that I would choose to stay awake and watch her do nothing but sleep rather than sleep myself. I didn’t’ anticipate just how incredible she would be. I’m not biased at all, and I have to tell you, it’s very possible that she is the greatest, sweetest, most adorable and smart little six-week-old in all the world. Yes. Very possible.
And those tears that I mentioned before? Yeah. There will be plenty. But some of them are cried at the most beautiful moments. Sometimes when it’s dark and quiet in the house and you’re bleary-eyed and cursing this newborn eat-every-two-hours-phase, you look down and see her beautiful dark eyes gazing up at you… and you realize what God has done. He’s set you on the path to be a better person. He has provided you with a gift over which you are commanded to be a good steward, just as any other gift He gives us. And that’s another thing no one mentions… that it’s not just her that’s growing… you’re growing too. While she’s becoming who she’s supposed to be, you’re doing the exact same thing. More patient. More loving. More selfless. More understanding of Christ’s sacrifice for us… They don’t tell you that you’ll never be perfect. No where near it.
Just better. So much better.