being a new mother has been both life-altering and yet the most natural thing i have ever experienced. i was born for this. i have no idea what i'm doing. welcome to my dichotomous life.
when i was pregnant, i read daily some advice or another on how to raise a baby. i know babies turn into children who turn into teenagers who turn into adults. however, i was only focused on babies at this point.
sometimes my reading was from books i bought, sometimes it was from different baby websites. what i learned is exactly what i was and was not going to do as the perfect parent. back is best. never let her sleep in our bed. breast is best. stick to a schedule. twelve hours sleep in twelve weeks. the list goes on. i just KNEW that i would be able to do all of it. and the more doubt i had from people in my life, the more determined i was.
when babycakes finally arrived, it felt like the more die-hard i was about making something happen (like breastfeeding), the more difficult it was for me to have it come to fruition. ongoing cases of mastitis, syringes literally inserted into my breast on multiple occasions, mrsa, blood that i won't detail, no sleep from a constant cycle of breastfeeding, breast pumping and bottle washing. this was my life. this was not the beautiful experience i had been promised by the books and websites. this wasn't even the awful experience i had read about on real women's blogs. this was worse than childbirth. this was heartbreaking because i wanted it so badly. after giving myself permission to let go, i was able to hold on tighter to my baby with more calmness and less frustration. this was my first testament into realizing that all that advice i had clung to like the gospel was just that- advice.
now, when someone gives me advice, i tuck it away and am grateful. what i don't do though is completely write it off or cling onto every syllable.
this was my baby. my life. my turn to figure it all out and in a way that worked best for my family.
rumor has it that your friendships change when you have babies. this was true for me; even though i didn't believe it would ever happen. not my friends. not my life. here's the thing though- change isn't always a bad thing. it just takes some adjusting.
some of my friends viewed me as a new person altogether, this new alien-mother-creature. what this started to do to my psyche was make me question if i was still melinda. was i really this new alien-mother-creature who wasn't worth hanging out with anymore? i did go through periods of what felt like isolation from my former life and my friends who were in it. felt shunned. this was hard.
however, some of my friends grew closer, loved me despite my new persona. maybe even more so because of it.
i came to terms with the fact that change is hard for some people. i am still me, just with an enhancement. what is different is that i can't do and go like i used to, but i can still be me. i'm ok with this.
the first breath after giving birth to my daughter soaked me in so many emotions, but left my clarity in complete tact. my eyes immediately went to my brand new baby and then to my husband by my side. there were tears, laughter, and a love like i had never felt before. for him, for our daughter, for life.
the best news is that my love continues to grow. for both of them. marriage is challenging with this other person, with so many needs, in our life. there's not nearly enough us time and especially so because we don't live near family to watch our daughter. so date nights don't really exist.
however, we have to rely so much on each other because of it that i feel we have a heightened bond. then there's the love for and from my daughter. i see the world differently because of her. every worry i had before for myself has now transferred to concern for her. the news is a nightmare now because this is the world my daughter lives in, the world a mother worries about for her daughter.
entertainment is watching her do her tongue-y raspberries, squealing at our funny faces, trying a new food for the first time. hope is looking into her big, brown eyes and seeing my tie to this earth. joy is holding my sleeping baby against my chest and feeling my heart beat soothing her dreams to sweetness. that face. oh, that little face. i get choked up just thinking about it.
no doubt about it. things have changed. my perceptions about the world, about others, about life in general is not what it used to be. the grass is greener. the sky is bluer. the sun is hotter. sometimes it is so hot that i want nothing more than to pass out in its sauna, but hey- this is the life of a new mother.
sleep is nothing like what it used to be. don't ever become a mom if sleep is a priority. it used to be one of mine. i changed my mind, like i had a choice.
relationships have changed, friends have changed, my views have changed, my heart has changed.
my life has changed. being a brand new mother is like walking as a zombie through a field of breathtaking flowers. dichotomous life i tell ya. i love it.
each day's dawn finds me opening a new gift. there's anticipation, hope and joy.
sometimes though, it just doesn't fit quite right and may need to be reshaped. never ever though have i wanted to return it.
what the next day, month, decade holds will surely be filled with...well, i guess i'll just have to wait to find out.