Now that my daughter recently turned one, I notice that I’m feeling a little calmer, a little more settled in my role as her mama. My confidence is returning, one little bit at a time. The old me is peeking through the fog. But, it’s a better me, a me filled with the joy of a blessing so beautiful it’s hard to put into words.
The first year is hard. No one really tells you how hard. At least, no one told me. I was fortunate to feel supported in many ways, but there was one particular support that I missed and yearned for so painfully throughout the first year of my daughter’s life. It was my mother’s absence and the void of her unconditional, selfless love and support that made my own early experience with motherhood one where love, happiness, and sadness coexisted in an unbalanced harmony.
One important thing the first year of motherhood taught me is that emotions are unpredictable and often out of our control. Who wants to feels sad and lonely bringing home their precious new baby? No one. But, in a life affected by grief, sadness and happiness can co-exist. Excitement and hopelessness can co-exist. Pain and love can co-exist.
The intense love you have for your child can and will co-exist with the sadness of loss. And that’s ok.
You hear about the sleepless nights and the endless diaper changes, but you never hear about all the other, quiet stuff. The endless winter days when it’s raining and gray and you’re stuck at home all day as the hours crawl by. The days when your baby is sick and so you are you, but you still have to be “on”. The days when you dream of a long, hot shower and addressing just one of your many long-forgotten needs. It’s hard. On your body, on your relationship, and sometimes on your soul.
But it’s also so, very happy. And humbling and pure. Bonding with and caring for your baby is an experience that changes you forever.
Motherhood makes you appreciate other mothers, especially your own, like never before. And if you’re one of the lucky ones, you get to tell your mother that.