Monday, July 28, 2014

A Letter to an Expectant Mother, What You've Gotten Yourself Into

Dear Mom to Be,

Your mind is probably going non-stop. That little baby of yours is occupying all of your thoughts. You spend a good deal of time daydreaming about how s/he will look, what the moment you meet will be like, and how it will feel to do all of the things you look forward to like rocking, dressing, and playing with your new little one. Oh, there is so much you look forward to.

You spend a significant amount of time worrying, too. Most likely you've researched the heck out of all of your birthing options, baby products, and breastfeeding. You've probably second-guessed some of the purchases you've made and some of the purchases you've passed up. You've probably had more serious days of worry, too. Maybe you read a story or someone decided it was a good idea to share a tragic tale with you and now you worry about the outcome at the end of all of this.
When you're not consumed with that worry, there's another worry that sneaks in. It feels like a selfish worry. You feel guilty even THINKING it, but still you wonder.  What have I gotten myself into? Sometimes in those moments you doubt your potential as a mother. You start to ask yourself: What if I'm too selfish? What if I'm too tired? What if I never have time alone again? What if I never get to go on another date again?  What if I never get to do x,y, or z again? And the list of these types of questions goes on and on.

Allow me (and my brand new mom with lots to still learn self) to answer one of those those questions for you.

What Have I Gotten Myself Into?

You've gotten yourself into a lifetime of change...
You're in for the ride of your life. I wish I could fully captivate what it will feel like when you begin this ride, but I can promise you this--you will never want it to end.  This ride includes a lot of exhaustion, questions that nobody can really answer for you, unsolicited advice, and big changes. Your schedule will change, time to yourself will change, and time with your husband will change.

Everyone tries to tell you, warn you, or convince you that these changes are a bad thing. I argue (wholeheartedly) that they are not. These changes are a good thing. They are new and different, but they are so good. They help you stretch, grow, and become a better person. They teach you what it means to love and they help you understand what really matters. Adjustments are always challenging and this is a big adjustment, all this change, but embracing it rather than fighting it help.

Yes, sometimes I may have a small thought like, "Oh my goodness. I will never sit on the couch while watching Frasier and stuffing my face with ice cream all alone ever again!" And while it's not really a sad feeling, I kinda mourn for a moment. It's probably true. Or maybe it's not and I just don't know yet, but the second I have that thought I have to remind myself of the things I was missing when I had all of that time to myself.

I was missing so much more than a television show and some ice cream.I was missing a smile that ignites my heart and brings a gush of tears in an instant. I was missing hearing someone's first ever cry, laugh, and sounds. It is a privlige unlike any other to witness firsthand all of these first moments and any moment that follows. They may not all be beautiful but they are so special and they go by so very quickly.

You've gotten yourself into immense responsibility...
You take yourself away from the old and are immersed into a whole new world. In this world, you are your baby's everything. You've never been that for anyone before. No, not even your spouse.

The second they handed me my crying daughter, she stopped crying when placed on my chest and hearing my voice. That moment was both one of the most incredible and powerful moments and the most humbling.

Me? This amazing little person just entered this world with no context for what it's like and I get to be the one to show her? What an incredible responsibility. What an opportunity.

One day while showering, I put my daughter in her Bumbo chair right outside the shower. While washing my hair, I kept opening my eyes to check on her and smile at her. It hit me again just then. She's waiting for me because I am her whole world. When I'm busy, she's only got herself. I'm what she knows--and right now I am ALL she knows. I provide comfort, food, security, entertainment, and everything else to her. 
 Yes, the weight is heavy at times.  I worry about something happening to me. I am her whole world. I worry about making mistakes because I am really the biggest influence. I worry about right/wrong because...what if I mess up? But here's the thing, I've been given this opportunity and while it's a heavy responsibility--it's an honor. And that responsibility is a God-given one. He made me for her.  I feel that nobility every single time she smiles at me or places her hand on my chest while nursing. I feel it when she laughs while we dance in the living room and when she touches my face while we're playing.

You've gotten yourself into a love you've never known...
It's cliche and everyone says it, but it's true. When someone tells me they are expecting I am more excited for them now that I'm a mom.  Before it was all about a cute baby and I though she'd make a good mom. Now I am so excited for someone to get to experience that moment they first lay eyes on their son/daughter. There are no words for it, but I assure you you'll ask yourself again, "What have I gotten myself into?!" But it will mean something completely different.

It will mean that you would give your life in an instant, but at the same time don't want to miss a minute of motherhood. You will love so much that every step of independence, while relieving you a tiny bit of responsibility, will make your insides hurt. You will love in such a way that every smile, cuddle, kiss--every moment will result in an utter prayer of thanks. You will love so much that you will change. You will feel it instantly. This love--a mother's love--it is powerful and it is transforming.

You will love so much that even though you can't wait to hit the mattress and fall into a deep sleep at night, you will miss your baby as soon as s/he goes to bed. As much as you worry about alone time, you won't want to leave. This love-it's a whole new ball game.

You have every right to worry about time to yourself and time with your husband. You have every right to worry about sleep and all of the other things in your mind--you are human. All I can say is just remember--YOU WERE MADE FOR THIS! You were made to adapt and change for this specific purpose. ENJOY the changes. This is your new life and it's such a good one.

You've gotten yourself into motherhood.
Welcome! I can't wait to share the ride with you!


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