Every time she gets the hiccups….I can still feel it in my belly. It’s like we are still connected on a physical level. She will stretch in a certain way, and I will remember exactly how that felt in my guts. She’s my miracle…she’s my purpose….she’s my everything. I say that….but she can’t always be my everything….I can’t give from a depleted source or pour from an empty cup. My self-care has to be rockin’ for me to be the best mother, wife, friend, and person that I can be. This is a hard earned lesson…and I kinda suck at it to be honest. I want to do everything, and be everything to everyone that I love….I don’t want to take the time to take care of myself and do the things that I know benefit me physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually…what if I miss something?!?!? What if she makes that little face that I love so much, what if she does something new and I’m not there?! I also struggle so much with asking for help, especially when I need it most. I don’t want to feel weak, or inadequate….I don’t want to feel like I’m failing. But, like a very special person likes to tell me…my feelings aren’t facts, they actually mean very little in the grand scheme of things. It’s maddening sometimes, but I have to practice self care and I have to ask for help…otherwise I will be worthless to them…to my family, to my perfect little family. Burnout is very real, Baby blues is very real, being overwhelmed is very real exhaustion is very real. It doesn’t make me a bad mother, it doesn’t mean I’m doing something wrong…it means I’m human and having a baby is a gigantic adjustment that doesn’t just happen overnight.
New moms….take a bubble bath, go to the gym, go for a walk, have coffee with a friend, read a book, take time for quiet meditation. It truly will make you a better mom! All those close friends and family members who volunteer to help…LET THEM! They want to help you and probably spend time with that sweet baby! STOP comparing your postpartum journey to your friends, or people you see on social media. STOP comparing the way you feel to how others “appear” to feel….this is such a special time for you and your baby! I know my Lilly Kate will never be this little again, I refuse to waste this time with worry, anxiety, and stress and needless expectations of how I “SHOULD” feel, act, look, be…it’s just not worth losing this time with her.
My postpartum journey has taught me more about myself and what I am made of than any other season of my life. Everything has changed in my little world…and change is hard. My priorities are different, my needs are different, my marriage is different, my relationships are different, and my body is crazy different. These differences aren’t necessarily bad, but there is a lot of adjusting going on in my little world. I’ve done my best to handle these adjustments with grace, but have been far from perfect. I’ve learned that you cannot die from lack of sleep, and that I can eat, clean, vacuum, and cook with one hand, I’ve learned that the baby carrier, pacifier, and swing are magical devices that will save my sanity. I’ve learned to practice grace with others and with myself. I’ve learned that there are no absolutes in parenting, that it is all a learning process. I’ve learned to say NO, and that NO is a complete sentence. But above all else, I’ve learned my capacity for love. I’ve never felt this kind of love and connection with another human being in my life….I would die for her, I would do anything for her….I’ve learned about sacrifice and about how every sacrifice I make for her is joyful, because it comes from love. Due to my background and my experiences I questioned whether I would feel this connection, or be a good mother, or if it would come naturally or be forced…There is nothing more natural than my unconditional love for my daughter, and that has to be God doing for me what I could not do for myself.
My mother in law once told me that you don’t reach your full development as a human until you become a parent or until you care for someone who is completely dependent on you….Here’s to learning and growing, to developing to my full potential, and to loving every minute.