Lost and Found

Occasionally in conversations with other moms I am asked, “Was adding one child, two or number three to the family most difficult? For me, the answer is always the same. The first one.

She is how I became lost in motherhood.

Sometimes the most difficult times are the ones we are most grateful for in retrospect because they push us and change us.

If I am honest, for months after my first baby was born, I mourned the loss of my “old”, easy, independent life. I wanted to be everything I was before being a mom, but the reality was-everything had changed. had changed.

Before babies I was confident my life would not change for a baby. “The baby will fit into my life,” I famously declared when I was pregnant. But then she was here. And everything was different. My compass pointed in all the directions I said I would never go- sacrificing myself for the joy of this precious baby girl. My path of plans so clearly defined before becoming a mother- climb the corporate ladder to be a managing editor, continue to travel the world, win my age bracket in a triathlon, and basically be a self-absorbed, self-serving human (wow, that does not feel good to write)-but that was no longer the road I wanted to follow.

I traded in drinks for marathon nursing sessions, early morning spin for 5am baby snuggles, Good Morning America for Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, lounging on the couch on a Saturday afternoon for the floor filled with Legos and Candyland, pedicures for doctor appointments. Pencil skirts and pumps for yoga pants and messy buns. Margaritas and appetizers for strong coffee and Cheerios.

Motherhood is humbling, isn’t it?

Some days, I am so lost in this season of life, so deep in the trenches with my littles, caring, teaching, shaping these little humans into who they’re meant to be that I don’t even know which way is up. How did I get here? I wonder. I am so lost in this life.

I spend my days smashing peas, playing Duck, Duck, Goose, reading Go Dog Go, singing the ABC’s for the millionth time, wiping floors, washing sippy cups, kissing faces and matching socks. This is motherhood, and it is beautiful, isn’t it?

Somewhere under the spit up, swaddle blankets, 3am feedings, toddler tantrums, spilled milk, lullabies, and sleep deprivation; I am still me, I think to myself.

Some days, I catch a glimpse of my former self from a song on the radio, a drive by of a familiar restaurant, a peek at a sundress tucked in the back of my closet, an old pair of running shoes.

I am the same but also different. All the selfish and self-absorbed parts are gone-motherhood takes that from you, and isn’t that a blessing? Motherhood has made me a better person, but in some ways worse because patience. The struggle is real, ya’ll! But really, my capacity to love exceeds my wildest dreams, my ability to forgive is more than I thought possible, my desire to give grace to them and my husband is paramount, and my protective instinct is fierce when it comes to my children.

You see, I had to get lost in order to find all of this.

Are you lost in motherhood too, Momma? I am telling you, it is okay, to be lost in this place. One day, you will run again, you will attend yoga classes, go out for a girls night sans baby, enjoy a date night out with your husband, finish that novel on your nightstand. I promise, you will come up for air, sooner than you realize.

But for now, be lost. I cannot think of a more beautiful thing to loose yourself in than in motherhood.

xo, Becca

 

 

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To the exhausted new mom…I promise you, it will get better.

I see you, new Mama. And I know you are so so tired. I know you had no idea of what was to come once you brought your sweet little babe home from the hospital. You were so focused on the “perfect” labor and delivery that you never actually thought about what would happen once you brought your baby home.

And now here you are, a total hot mess. You haven’t slept in about 400 years. Your hormones are off the charts, crying one minute and smiling seconds later. Your breasts are so engorged with milk coming in that you want to scream in pain. Your pre-pregnancy clothes are not even close to fitting. You wonder, as you look in the mirror, will you always still look like you are 6 months pregnant?

I promise you, it won’t always be like this. I promise you, it will get better.

Your baby is crying and you have no idea what to do. Is she hungry, tired, gasey, in need of snuggling? And all you can think about is how you. Want. To. Sleep. And how you don’t know if you can do this whole mothering thing. You ask yourself why did I ever think having a baby would be “fun?” Because this? The exhaustion, the crying baby, the responsibility of keeping another one alive, the constant nursing is anything but “fun.”

I promise you, it won’t always be liked this. I promise you, it will get better.

I know, you feel like a human pacifier, feeding is almost constant with pooping, crying, burping and diaper changes mixed in. The clock becomes only a number because your baby has her days and nights mixed up. This is your life now, for the short term. It is tiring and messy and emotional.

I promise you, it won’t always be like this. I promise you, it will get better.

The stresses in the first few weeks are so overwhelming that sometimes it is hard to breathe. Your thoughts are consumed by bilirubin levels for jaundice, weight gain for your baby and tracking wet and poopy diapers. You wonder how long will my c-section wound hurt? Is my baby latching correctly? How in the world am I supposed to keep my baby awake while nursing?

I promise you, it won’t always be like this. I promise you, it will get better.

That when your baby cries every hour for you all. night. long. you ask yourself how can you possibly do this every night? When you pass her to your husband so you can have a break, she cries because she only wants her mommy, to snuggle, to nurse, to smell, to sleep on. And so while you hold her again all night, tears run down your  face because how can you possibly do this another minute? And then you feel guilty for wanting a minute alone, to sleep, to think, to breathe.

I promise you, it won’t always be like this. I promise you, it will get better.

In the middle of the night during another marathon nursing session, you wonder why didn’t  anyone warn you of this? Why didn’t anyone tell me being a new mom is HARD? Everyone said how great it is to be a mom. How amazing and fun it is and “it will change your life,” blah blah. But why didn’t anyone tell me that the nights would be so so long? That sometimes babies just cry for no reason. That breastfeeding is really hard in the beginning and you may want to throw in the towel. That you will feel sleep deprivation like you can’t even imagine?

So let me tell you, this coming from someone who had a really difficult time being a first time mom, it is HARD. And those first few weeks-the HARDEST. So if you feel like you are the only one struggling as either a first time mom or becoming a mom again for the second or third time. Your are not alone.

If you are a new mom and the weight of your new baby is making you catch your breath. Or you are so physically and mentally drained, you cannot even see straight, or if you are a soon-to-be-mom, I will tell you from someone who, at my lowest point, did not believe it woud ever get better, IT DOES. I promise you, a thousand times, it does.

But here’s the thing, when does it get better, you want to know? Well, I can’t answer that for you because it is different for each mom. But I can say that the joys of motherhood creep up on you, when you least expect it. Little by little.

Like the first time my first baby slept alone after being held constantly for the first 3 weeks. Or the first time I figured out the source of her newborn tears and soothed her myself. When I finally distinguished a hungry cry, from a tired cry, from a burp cry to a poopy cry. Or that time she looked at me with her big blue eyes during a midnight feeding as if to say, “thank you, mommy. I know I am a lot of work, but I love you.”

It gets better.

Like the first time she smiled a real, not gasey, smile right at me. Or the first time she looked around the room for me after hearing my voice. When she took her first steps and oh,the joy she radiated for days after that! Or when she tried her first blueberry, which must have been sour because she spit it out with a pucker face. And when she said “mama” to me for the first time.

It gets better.

There are a million of these moments that make those first few weeks in the trenches absolutely worth it. Being a mom does not happen all at once, but slowy these moments and experiences build on each other and soon you will look back and say, “Yes. It does get better. A thosand times, it does.” And you will wonder how did you ever doubt that it would?

Yes, your baby needs you for everything right now, and that is HARD. But she won’t always. And that may be an even harder reality to adjust to one day. So let’s  not think about that now.

Before you can even blink you will find yourself like me, with your last baby at 15 months old, nursing only once a day and you will be sitting here rocking him to sleep wondering how did I get here so fast? Wasn’t my almost five year old just a tiny newborn? Because it all went by in an instant, really. Those first few weeks with each of my babies that seemed so long were really like a hot minute. I know the place you are at now is all consuming, and it is hard to even imagine yourself in a better place, like ever.

But I promise you, it will come. Push on sweet mama, you got this.

XO, Becca