The Tearing of Motherhood

I was lying in bed last night after having put my one year old son (That doesn’t seem possible!) to bed. He’s beginning to wean, and as I imagined what the future will look like when I’m done breastfeeding, I couldn’t stop thinking about the tearing of motherhood. Tearing happens when something is stretched too far before it’s ready.

It begins during pregnancy. Your belly grows and, for most women, your skin can’t quite keep up with the speed of growth. It’s stretched and stretched before it’s really ready to be stretched that far, so you begin to see lines up and down your belly from the dermis of your skin being torn.

Then you deliver. As your baby is born you are stretched and stretched and if it’s too fast, you may tear once again.

But the physical tearing of motherhood can’t prepare you for the emotional tearing that is to come.

The tearing as you hold your new baby on your chest for the first time, realizing they are completely separate from you. You are no longer tethered together. Not one, but two. Pregnancy may have been difficult. You may have wished it to be over those last few weeks, but your body and mind strangely ache for that once again.

Your baby crawl then walks. You watch this little person who needed you for every little thing begin to need you a little less. This day came faster than you expected. That mama heart tears once again from being stretched before it was ready.

Then you nurse your baby for the last time. Those sleepless nights. The snuggled up feedings. The sore, chapped, cracked, bleeding (sometimes from being bit) nipples. You go through it all again in your mind and realize this day came sooner than you expected. Your heart wasn’t quite ready for this.

Then your baby isn’t a baby anymore.

They go to school.

They make friends.

They graduate.

They get married.

They have babies of their own.

Each step of the way, you realize that baby who needed you for every little thing needs you a little less and a little less and a little less until one day they don’t need you at all. You’ve done it. You raised that little baby into a full grown adult who is ready to take one the world. And all that tearing you did for them, all that tearing your heart did as you watched them grow, was worth it. Because not only did they grow, mama. You did, too.

I Didn’t Think I Would Get To

I was rocking our 10 month old (WHAT?!) before bed a few days ago. He had been sick with bronchiolitis and needed extra snuggles.

As we sat in his dark room, quietly rocking back and forth, he held my finger with his sweet little hand like he does quite often, and I started getting teary eyed.

The gift of his life is not lost on me, and, I hope, never will be. Losing his brother, holding my son that I never got to see smile or sit or crawl or anything else that Finley will eventually do, has given me an appreciation for everything we do have with Finley. And I will often close my eyes in moments like that night and just be. Just soak it in. Commit it to the depths of my memory, where I will have it forever.

That night, I closed my eyes and let that moment sink deep into me, and I was overwhelmed. I replayed the many other moments that I had already tucked away, and it was all too much.

We wanted another baby, but, after waiting so long, had accepted that it may never happen. We would be okay no matter what.

Raising a baby is exhausting and emotionally taxing and wonderful.

I didn’t think I would ever get to be woken up by a baby 4 times in the night. I didn’t think I would ever get to hear my own baby cry. I didn’t think I would get to reach a level of exhaustion that I didn’t even know existed. I didn’t think I would get to feel my baby’s cheek against mine. I didn’t think I would get to hear my baby make those sweet newborn sounds or let out a belly laugh or let out a deafening cry. I didn’t think I would get to stare into my baby’s eyes and forget everything else around us. I didn’t think I would get to be peed on and pooped on by my own baby. I didn’t think I would get feel my baby’s soft, smooth skin. I didn’t think that I would get to know what it’s like to get nothing done because someone else needed me so much. I didn’t think I would get to kiss my baby’s slobbery lips. I didn’t think I would get to take thousands of pictures of my baby. I didn’t think I would get see my baby light up when I walked in a room. I didn’t think I would get to nurse my baby. I didn’t think I would get to rock my sick baby to sleep while he squeezed my finger.

But there I was. Here I am. I get to do every one of those things and more.

And as I listed everything I could think of while he held my finger, I cried tears of gratitude. What a gift it is to be this tired. What a gift it is to be this needed – even when it feels like more than I can give. What a gift it is to be his mom.

Thank you, Jesus.

 

9 Weeks Tomorrow

I can’t lie. When they told me I was only 8 weeks along last week, I was disappointed because pregnancy has been rough, and that meant I had at least another month of the really hard stuff. And I know that some people would say, “you should just be grateful you can even get pregnant” or “a lot of people would love to feel sick knowing they were having a baby.” But can I just say this? If I were a billionaire with constant explosive diarrhea, I should be allowed to complain about my diarrhea every now and then, and it wouldn’t take away from the fact that it’s still nice being a billionaire. I feel like it’s the same with pregnancy. I should be able to complain a little bit about feeling nauseous almost all day and being crazy tired without it taking away from the fact that, yes, it is cool that I’m growing a human. The miracle of pregnancy is not lost on me.

I wasn’t sick during the first trimester at all with Leeland, but I was sick every day after the first trimester. That sickness was different, though. I could manage it as long as I ate something every 5 minutes. This time around I haven’t really been able to find anything that helps consistently. I’m sure the only reason I haven’t puked is because I am willing myself not to. My brain is stronger than my stomach! And I have food aversion this time around. Never had that with Leeland, either. Most of my favorite foods are totally off limits and others are touch and go depending on the day. Chocolate is pretty repulsive to me right now, and pizza has only been successful once. I’ve had vegetables twice in the last 3 weeks! How sad is that?!

I’ve been dreaming WAY more frequently than usual. I’ve had one dream that the baby was a boy and two that it was a girl and also a dream that I was a black woman. In one dream, I named her Amy. My sister says she is “team Amy Jr 2019,” and I think that infiltrated my dream.

Being pregnant with Leeland taught us how to live day to day out of necessity. We just didn’t know which one would be our last, so it was hard to look beyond the day we were living. It’s another reason I am thankful for him and his life. Because I have found myself doing that, but not because I have to. I am expecting that we will make it full term with a healthy baby, but I want to live day to day, too.  I don’t want to take it for granted and rush through these weeks just because I feel like junk. There is something freeing about just living in today. I’ve found myself imagining what life will be like a year from now, and that’s okay, too, but I really like being able to be right where I am without letting fear or impatience take me to a day that hasn’t even come.

Life: The Post Baby Body

Writing about my life in regards to my son is easy and difficult all at the same time. The words come easy, so it makes for a quick post, and it helps me to gain perspective on things to put everything down on (virtual) paper. But then the emotions flood in, and it hurts a little…sometimes a lot. I won’t shy away from it, though. I’ve decided I will write about all parts of life, and I feel like, today, this is my story.

The doctors first discovered something was not quite right after Continue reading “Life: The Post Baby Body”