I remember being pregnant with my first babe.
Belly round. Tired, but deliriously happy.
I was so fascinated with motherhood. It was if it was a completely new idea.
At least it was new to me. I loved feeling her tumble and roll within me. I longed to hold her. Kiss her. Love on her.
And when she finally arrived, that fascination turned into an obsession. I couldn’t get over her ruby red lips, and her cat shaped, soulful eyes. I couldn’t get enough of the smell and feel of her soft skin. She quickly made her home in the crook of my neck and I was content to have her there, my arms around her tiny body forever. I couldn’t imagine wanting space between us. I couldn’t imagine ever letting her go.
Fast forward to two weeks later, I hadn’t slept for more than an hour at a time and I was beyond exhausted. Sore. Hormonal. Un- showered, and feeling less like a mother and more like a milk ticket by the second. What happened to my picture perfect perspective of motherhood?
Tethered to this teeny tiny sweet little human, I began to count the minutes her Daddy would walk into the door so I could pass her off into his arms. I longed for space. For relief. For a break.
But I never felt relief. I felt guilty.
Guilty that motherhood had already lost it’s luster, and so soon. Guilty that I was overwhelmed by this tiny human that needed so much of me. Guilty that motherhood had beaten me down and brought out the worst in me. Guilty that not only did I not measure up to others I compared myself to, but I didn’t even measure up to my own expectations.
I felt like a terrible mother. Inadequate. Like the worst kind of failure.
I wondered what was wrong with me.
I never told anyone back then how I felt. I was too consumed by own insecurities. But I wish I would have.
Maybe that sweet listening ear would have taken me by the hand and ordered me to sit my tired and weary body down on the couch. Maybe she would have looked at me with compassion and understanding, and not the judgmental glares I was fearing. Maybe she would have spoken words of encouragement to me. Maybe she would have told me that exhaustion was a part of every good mother. And that my need for space was not just normal but expected. Maybe she would have told me that I was doing a wonderful job as a mom, but all I needed was a shower, a nap, and some support from other willing hearts.
That is what I needed those first few weeks as a brand new mom. And that is what I STILL need today as an older and more seasoned mom.
To all my fellow mommies,
I see you at church, barely able to keep your eyes open, and I wonder if you feel the way I did all those years ago? Do you feel alone. Overwhelmed. Lost in motherhood?
If your eyes met mine, I would give you a hug and tell you that it is ok. Sleep will come again. A new norm will be born, and you will survive those late nights and early mornings. I would give you permission to be simultaneously exhausted and head over heels in love.
I see you at the grocery store, with a smile plastered on your face as you wrestle those toddlers back into the cart.
I would tell you that motherhood means that you are stretched and challenged, but everyday you win, simply because you are there. Loving. Guiding. Teaching. Protecting. I would high five you, buy you that much needed coffee and send you on your way.
I see you in the carpool lane arguing with your preteen. I see your shoulders droop in defeat and that single tear slide down your cheek. I see your blatant frustration, but I see beyond that. I see your fierce, undying, and unrelenting LOVE.
I would tell you good job Mama. Good job for fighting, for battling on, and for not giving up on that child whom you love so much. I would tell you that this moment will pass, and with it bring that same child back into your arms with an, “I love you.” I would whisper, “This too shall pass and be forgotten.”
I truly believe that motherhood can only lose it’s luster when we mothers lose our perspectives. And sometimes we need others to give us that perspective.
Sweet mamas, BE that to each other.