Dear struggling first-time mom,
There’s a chance that your experience has been totally different from mine when I had my first baby … but there’s also a chance that it is similar and that’s why I’m writing this. After recently having my second, I’ve been shocked by the joy, love and sense of peace in my heart because it’s so far from how I felt after having my first.
Today, I love my two-year-old more than words can say. I’m truly honored that God chose me to mother that little girl but two years ago when she was born, I felt totally different. Yes, I loved her because she was a beautiful baby girl and she was mine but I was baffled by all the social media posts by other moms with newborns, gushing over how blissfully comfy they were on cloud nine. It was not at all like that for me. What ran through my head over and over was, “I was not ready for this.” What I had thought would be slightly more responsibility than a puppy had completely turned my world upside down.
I felt sadness, stress, exhaustion, physical pain, frustration, hopelessness, the list goes on.
Eventually, I got help with the postpartum depression and found incredible joy in mothering my daughter, but the thought of having another baby still scared me. I was terrified to once again go through that dark, sleepless period of feeling totally inadequate. People told me that the first one is the hardest but I still had my doubts.
Here’s the great irony, though. With my first we knew she’d be a girl; we had her full name picked out and a sweet little nursery all personalized and set up for her. When my second came, we hadn’t found out his sex, we were back and forth on names, and what would eventually be his bedroom was still a discombobulated combination of an office and a storage room. Yet, somehow, I was absolutely enamored by him and totally overcome by this phenomenal love and joy the second I held him.
I remember when we were still in the hospital after my daughter was born and the nurse brought her back from the nursery to eat again, I thought, “You must have the wrong room. My baby just ate two hours ago.”
With my second child, I was actually excited every time they brought him into the room again because I had missed him even for those brief couple of hours. I couldn’t get enough of the kid.
My point is, I’ve realized that for some of us, motherhood doesn’t fit at first. It feels awkward, like it’s not meant to be but believe me when I say, it is. The baby you have is the human being you were purposefully designed by the greatest Lover of all to love and nurture. Despite the exhaustion and ineptitude you’re feeling, the very fabric of your being was knit together for the sake of mothering this person and there is no one more fit for the job than you. It might be a little bit of a journey before being a mother feels like a good fit, but when it does – and it will – you’ll join all those other cloud nine dwelling ladies and their little ones.
Don’t get me wrong … there are still plenty of days when I feel completely incapable as a parent. But it’s different, very different, from my state of mind during my first baby’s newborn days. There is more strength and optimism amidst the struggles and moments of feeling utterly incompetent are fleeting. Joy abounds now and I find myself frequently thanking God for motherhood.
All in all, know that you are not alone in feeling incapable or unhappy, despite what social media makes you think. Very few moms truly slide smoothly into motherhood like it ain’t no thang.
So hang in there, Mama, and know that I’m praying for you. You’re just beginning the greatest journey of your lifetime. It might be a rough start but it will fit like a glove in no time.
Copyright 2017 Elizabeth Pardi