Hello, and Welcome to Motherhood. If you’re reading this, chances are you’re new to this gig and haven’t the slightest clue as to what you’re doing. (If you do know what you’re doing, great job! I hope to get there too . . . eventually.) Not to worry, fellow Momma, for you are in good company. I myself am a brand-new Mother and I promise that I will not judge you on this journey.
I sit down this evening with a glass of silky red wine with hints of berry, chocolate, and faux-wood branch or something (. . . it’s what the label said. I don’t judge my wine, I just drink it) and a snoring baby monitor (KNOCK.ON.REAL.WOOD), to bring to you not what I know about Motherhood. Oh no. There is bounteous babble online about that.
I sit down this fine evening to bring you all that I do not know about Motherhood.
1.) Baby Weight: I don’t know how some moms lose their baby weight so fast. Seriously. What is their secret? July will mark my son’s 1st birthday and I still have a good 15 pounds that was supposed to just camp out, but now has made itself right at home on my stomach, butt, and thighs. I eat (mostly) healthy, I exercise-ish, and I get a full five-to-six hours of interrupted sleep per night. Overall, I’d probably rank my lifestyle as a solid 4 out of 5 stars.
You see, pre-baby, a fit and athletic physique was the only body that I ever knew. My go-to was a size 2. But my size also impacted my ability to conceive. Today, I’m learning to embrace a bit of extra squishiness. I’ve never done well with change, but Motherhood is slowly teaching me that change is not only inevitable, it is a healthy and a necessary part of life. Squishy parts and all.
2.) Socks: I don’t know how to keep track of baby socks. I’ll be honest, most of my son’s socks don’t have mates. Once, I looked down to find a baby sock actually stuck to a glob of dried spit-up on my shirt. The other sock? MIA. This is real life.
3.) Body Fluid: I don’t know how it’s possible that one small baby human can secrete so much body fluid. Spit-up, pee, poop, vomit, snot, sometimes all at the same time . . . you name it and I’ve been covered in it. I’m sure you have too. See? We already have something in common here. #solidaritysista
4.) My Schnoz: I don’t know why my son likes to grab my nose. It must be large and grab-worthy.
5.) Sprightly Toys: I don’t know how parents tolerate the frenetic personification of electronic kids’ toys. My son has a Disco-Pup toy that is always happy and wagging his tail and throwing dance parties. Disco-Pup breaks it down from 9am-5pm. After that, I turn him off because I’m tired.
6.) Sleep: How do I teach a small human to sleep? Where is that in the New Mom Manual? And don’t get preachy on me about this book or that book or “he said” or “she said.” I need a solution and I need it yesterday. Let me be clear: I love sleep. I craavveee sleep. Sleep to me is a beautiful thing. But for my baby? No thank you, tired Momma.
7.) PPD: I don’t know how I’d make it through the week without our babysitter. She came to us when my son was only two-months-old and I was battling severe Postpartum Depression (PPD.) The kind of PPD that leaves you stuck in your own body; that weighs you down with heavy sandbags and holds your head underwater, gasping for air. The insidious illness that makes you fight with every ounce of anything that you have left just to get out of bed, nonetheless take care of a brand-new baby. She was an answered prayer during some of the darkest hours I’ve ever lived through. (But that’s a post for another time. Be gentle with me, I’ll get there.) Here’s a little nugget of certainty that I’ve taken away from my postpartum experience: if someone offers help to you, take it with grace and gratitude—it’s okay to need help, to ask for it, and to accept it.
I don’t know how it’s possible to love someone so deeply that their smile makes your heart swell and their laugh fills your eyes so that your cheeks are wet and your shoulders shake because you’re laughing too. And yet it does. But I guess that’s what Motherhood is all about. It’s about learning. It’s about patience. It’s about letting go and also embracing at the exact same time. The contradictory feelings of Motherhood are something that no book, no blog, no expert, nor even my two cents offered here today could ever prepare you for. But that’s Motherhood. It’s learned. And at the very same time, it’s instinctual.
Being a parent is the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I’m only nine months in. And yes, there is a lot that I do not know. But I do know one thing: when I look at my son, and I can see happiness radiating from his bright brown baby eyes, I know that this is what I was meant to do. God gave me, a perfectly imperfect woman, a beautiful baby boy. A son that I will love and raise not just to be a big-time businessman or the next Wallstreet Wonder, but to be a good human with a kind heart.
And it is with that sentiment that I leave you this: Welcome to Motherhood, Momma. You’ve got this and I believe in you.
You don’t need all the answers, you’re doing just fine.