Story by Suzie Crick
A girlfriend of mine is pregnant, and I couldn't possibly be more excited for her.
She's an intelligent, capable, and most importantly, hilarious woman, which I know will serve her well when she finds herself smeared with baby poop someday soon.
During pregnancy, there is nothing like a baby bump to draw the attention, and well-intentioned advice of strangers.
This ranges from “Start putting pablum in the bottle right away to get more sleep at night,” or “Leave the window in his room open a crack – he'll sleep through the night!" etc. I've always found practical suggestions like that are best managed by smiling, nodding, and promptly forgetting.
What's tougher to forget are comments about the emotional side of motherhood. Comments about all the things you are SURE to feel the very instant your sweet, perfect baby is placed in your arms.
My mom always told me that the delivery room filled with a wonderful smell the second I was born, and she was overwhelmed with adoration for me the second I was laid on her chest.
Of course, when I was pregnant with Owen, I believed that my immediate reaction would be just as powerful as hers, and every other decent mother's out there.
Here's the thing: after the physically, and mentally challenging work of labour, I was delirious with exhaustion by the time I finally met Owen for the first time.
The doctor placed him in my arms, and I felt as though everyone around me was watching for my reaction – I felt nothing. Nada. Zip.
I felt like I'd left my body, and was standing in the corner watching this skinny, sweaty, tired girl hold a baby. I faked a smile, and kissed his forehead. Then SLAM, I was back in my body, and overwhelmed with guilt...I didn't feel adoration! What the hell was wrong with me?! Clearly, I was a terrible mother, and we'd only been acquainted for five minutes.
After a piece of toast, a cup of tea, and a good sleep, I woke up a new woman. I woke up a mommy.
I spent hours laying in a hospital bed with Owen's small, warm body on my chest, and before I'd packed my bags to go home, I knew that I would die for this tiny person in a New York minute.
Of course, once settled in at home, we faced the first six weeks of parenthood, and those are the hardest. There were days when I cried just as much as my boys during those first weeks, and nights when I would tap Tim on the shoulder, and say, "Nope. I'm done. He's all yours."
Still, there really hasn't been a day since each of my boys were born, that I don't stand in their room at night listening to them breathe, and feel totally overwhelmed by how much I love them.
I know that sounds hokey, especially since there also hasn't been a day that I haven't thought, "Holy crap, this gig is hard!" but, after the tantrums, and conundrums have passed, I've got these sweet kids, and I feel very lucky.
So my message to my friend is this: Whatever you feel (or don't feel) in those early minutes, hours, days and weeks, it's totally, and completely fine. You'll find your mommy groove, and you're going to be just fine.
Suzie Reynolds-Crick is a wife and mother to three. When she's not busy keeping the children fed, clean and alive, she is working as a sign language interpreter and a network marketer.
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