Becoming a Mother is a mystical, magical, often messy experience so many women, including myself, are fortunate to know. It feels a bit like an elusive club, like the historic Masons, only it is, The Mothers.
Before you cross that infamous threshold, you think you have a general idea of what it will be like, but it is also shrouded in such mystery that you really do not have a clue. There are so many undiscussed rites of passage when it comes to being a first-time mother. Here are four that stand out to me.
I could probably just leave this right here with no further explanation and all mothers in the audience would do a collective nod of the head. No one prepared me for the birth-after-birth with my first child. Oh sure, I attended the classes and watched the videos my obstetrician recommended prior to my first delivery. However, having a somewhat sensitive stomach, when it came to the actual labor and birthing portion of the show, I recall feeling quite queasy and ended up sitting, with my head between my knees, in the waiting room while my then-husband watched the video in its entirety.
Did he prime me for the afterbirth….no. No, he did not. Thus, it was a bit of a surprise (and not a good one). Also unexpected was the random nurses that come into your hospital room late at night when you finally managed to nod off for ten minutes and awake to find a complete stranger poking and prodding all around your still very tender lower abdomen.
There is no tired like Mom tired
I figured with the up-all-nighter-slumber parties I enjoyed as a child, coupled with the up-all-nighter-study-sessions I participated in as a college student, not to mention the up-all-nighter-parties I may have occasionally indulged in as a young adult, I could easily handle a crying baby in the middle of the night. Oh, how wrong I was.
Between the daily naps, where you barely fall asleep and are harshly awaken by that new baby, to the deep dark of night when you attempt to feed the baby, he immediately falls asleep, you carefully carry him to the nursery and lovingly set him down in his crib, then creep quiet as a mouse out of the room, to seconds later hearing that ear-splitting sound every new momma recognizes as, I just wanna be held! coming from the very room you just took great care to silently leave. There is simply no tired like Mom tired.
Appreciation for my own mother skyrocketed
My appreciation for my own Mother skyrocketed. Overnight. From the time I found out I was pregnant, to the first time I held that large, overly-cooked, nearly 10 pound baby boy in my arms, I discovered a need for my Mother that was unrivaled by any I had previously known. It was a bit unsettling because I already felt like I needed her a lot. To need her even more gave me a feeling of stark inadequacy, questioning myself and constantly wondering, why can’t I handle this on my own?
My Mother and I have always been tight. She is my best friend, she can be my worst enemy at times, but there is no one else that metaphorically has my back in this life than the very woman that gave me life nearly 42 years ago.
When I had my first baby, my need for that woman was unprecedented. Not only did I need her, but the gratefulness for all she did for me finally came full circle. I daily realized, when caring for my own son, how much time, work, sacrifice, and pure, agape love goes in to caring for a baby, then a toddler, next a preschooler, followed by a kindergartener, and now two elementary aged young men.
Milestones and Aha Moments continue to surprise me daily, and every time I experience one, I think of my Mother and how much I owe her for her continual support, encouragement, cheerleading, and simply just being there. If it were not for her, I would not have a clue where to even begin mothering the two young men God has blessed me with. (I still don’t have a clue). But I do have a Mother and she daily rescues me from the shadows of confusion, frustration, and desperation, to the banks of Take each day as it comes, know the difficult times will pass, and treasure the good times, encouraging those memories to last. My Mother is my rock and makes my own journey of motherhood that much sweeter.
I never knew my heart was capable of this type of love
Being an only child, I never had to compete for my parents’ attention as did my childhood friends. As much as I desired a sibling, I had a beautiful childhood with just my parents and me. I always had pets, my parents did their best to provide the entertainment I desired, and my imagination flourished out of sheer necessity since I did not have a brother or sister in which to journey through childhood.
When I found out I was pregnant, I worried about my ability to love a child fully, as well as love those other key persons in my life that needed me. However, from the moment I held that positive pee stick in my shaking hands, to the moment I held that precious bruised bundle of baby bliss in my arms, I have experienced an explosion of love unrivaled by any previously known.
God magically allows the heart of a mother to expand immeasurably when it comes to her children. If my kids were in danger, I would not hesitate for a second to sacrifice my own life to offer them protection. A mother’s love, in my opinion, is the most unconditional, immeasurable, self-sacrificing type of love we can know as mere humans. Possibly the closest we can comprehend to that of the all-encompassing love our Heavenly Father has for His earthly children. This love breaks all molds, defies all odds, outshines that of nearly any other earthly relationship.
Other relationships require hard work, sacrifice, giving up, giving in, mindfully making a choice every single day to commit to that person, whether it be a spouse, partner, friend, parent, or sibling. When it comes to parenting, as much as those little darlins can try your patience and make it easy to understand why some species of animals eat their own young, the immense love you feel toward your offspring is so natural, it does not require an ounce of work to spring forth.
It just is.