“How do they do it? Why do all the other women look like it is so easy, effortless, and natural to add a baby to their family?”
My doctor laughed, then looked me square in the eye.
I didn’t enter motherhood with grace. It might have looked that way to some people around me, but it wasn’t even close to the truth. Quite frankly, it was the absolute hardest year of my life.
The moment my son was placed in my arms, I learned how it felt to have your heart break in two and to hold a piece of it outside of your body. I loved him fiercely. Carrying him through the front door of our home for the first time, I felt the weight of the responsibility. I sat on the couch, snuggled him close, and as tears flowed I whispered in his sweet little ear, “Welcome home, baby boy. You are mine, and I promise I will take good care of you.”
He snuggled his teeny body against my chest, sighed, and drifted off to sleep.
He believed me.
I wasn’t going to let him down. He deserved the best mother that had ever graced the Earth, so that’s who I would be for him. I worked hard at it. After all, I was so grateful that he had been entrusted to me, and I loved him more than life itself.
That first year was a blur. My son was a terrible sleeper. My commute was ridiculous. My marriage didn’t adjust well to parenthood. I was overwhelmingly busy and mind-numbingly bored all at the same time. I was painfully lonely but too tired to maintain relationships. I was exhausted from full-time work, full-time motherhood, and full-time efforts to keep my head above water.
But somehow I did, because I loved that baby boy.
And then, he turned one.
Something changed. I’m not sure if it was me, him, or a little of both, but that little lump of a baby turned into a teeny person. And life got fun.
Shortly thereafter I began to reflect on my motherhood journey. And it was then that I realized – I had finally fallen in love with being a mom. But that meant I also had to admit that I hadn’t cared for it much that first year.
Entering motherhood was exhausting. It was demanding. It was all-consuming. And while there were plenty of moments of joy and celebration, overall it was hard. And I didn’t love it right away like I thought I would.
Who says that? Who says they don’t love being a mom?
Nobody, that’s who.
So when you have those feelings it makes you think there’s something wrong with you. But you know what I figured out? There isn’t.
You may be reading this and have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about. And if that is you, I am so, so glad that you don’t.
But maybe you are reading this and know all too well how surprisingly painful and confusing this season can be. And if that is you, I want to tell you something. Something that nobody told me:
You are not alone. It is entirely possible to love your baby with every fiber of your being, but not love being a mom. You’re doing a good job, you’re a good mom, and there’s nothing wrong with you. It absolutely is a difficult season – and the struggles and frustrations have absolutely nothing to do with how loved or wanted your sweet baby is. This is not a permanent season, but it will shape you. And though it hurts and it doesn’t feel like it today, I promise you – God will use this fire to refine you, and you will be a better mother for having gone through it.
I know that I am.
Blessings to you, sweet mama.
Your baby is lucky to have you.