The Serene Mama’s First Mother’s Day
My first Mother’s Day with my baby in my arms is just around the corner and, I’ll be honest with you – I really deserve it. So does my Mom. So does every Mom I know. So does your Mom (probably). Because this whole motherhood thing is hard. Harder than it looks, harder than it sounds, and harder than anyone can prepare you for. It’s messy. It’s intense. It’s often overwhelming. It’s also the most incredible thing that has ever happened to me and my greatest source of joy. Oh, and there is so much laundry. So much. I cannot stress enough the amount of laundry involved.
In The Beginning
My beautiful son was born early December 2020 and it remains the most surreal day of my life. We had a whole birth plan and followed exactly none of it. I am not sure why I thought bringing my own robe to the hospital and labouring in the bathtub was going to make or break the whole experience. Instead what ended up being important was a) applesauce, b) my TENS machine (aka my lifeline through the first 18 hours), c) my support people, and d) an epidural, although not in that order. As soon as the epidural kicked in (like actual magic) my body let me dilate and it was an incredibly calm, efficient and quick birth. I carefully listened to the midwife telling me when to push, got to feel my son’s head emerge and watched as my husband caught him. And then my son was placed on my chest and nothing else would ever matter as much again.
The Greatest Gift
There is no way to prepare for the love. It is unlike anything I’ve ever felt, and in an unimaginable quantity. I didn’t know my heart had the capacity to love that hard, and I’m one of those people who is all or nothing when it comes to life so I thought I was ready. As I watch him grow and learn about the world around him, my heart keeps growing. I keep trying to come to terms with how much I love this tiny human and I just can’t. It is the greatest gift of parenthood – to find out how much you can love and become used to your heart existing outside of your body. For a control freak like me, motherhood is also the ultimate letting go. You can’t make a baby eat, poop, or sleep, and yet you desperately need them to do all three, every day, and with great frequency.
Like a lot of new mamas out there, we had to correct the latch about a week after he was born. It got to the point that I was crying in pain when he was feeding and I was terrified that if I didn’t get it under control my milk would dry up from my body’s reaction. Luckily we had great midwives and family support and we figured out how to fix his latch within a couple days. The only way I made it through those painful days though was a whole lot of Tylenol, a huge tube of lanolin and knowing that it was possible to breastfeed pain-free because I had seen so many amazing mothers before me (shoutout to my sisters and best friend here!) breastfeed calmly and casually.
Oh, The Mom Guilt
There are so many ways to feel like a failure as a new Mom, and all of them are pretty much out of your control. Won’t dilate properly? Failure. Need an epidural? Failure. Can’t sleep when your baby sleeps in the middle of the day? Failure. Feel exhausted and stressed out? Worst. Mom. Ever. There is this idea that childbirth and motherhood is the most natural thing in the world and you’ll just somehow be able to do it all with ease. Want a recipe for anxiety? Take a tiny human relying on you for everything, whom you love more than life itself, add a truckload of hormones and then subtract sleep after going through the most intense pain of your life (don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t painful – it is, but it’s so worth it). It’s no wonder that depression is so high among new Moms!
Find Your Village
I’ve been luckier than most. I have an incredible support network that not only brought us food, coffee, cookies (yes, that is its own category of food), and diapers (for the baby, I swear), but also left us alone when we needed it. I have an incredibly loving partner who has been there, supporting me in every way possible throughout my pregnancy, labour and these first months of motherhood. I have a fantastic job that is not only ready to welcome me back after my maternity leave, but has been supportive of us at every stage in this journey. And most of all, I have an easy baby. He’s a great sleeper, an efficient eater, and a shockingly happy baby. Even during this crazy time we live in, my village has been there, in whatever way they could. I am endlessly grateful to them and I hope that every new family out there gets the kind of support we have, because I promise, you deserve it.
Here’s To All The Mamas
These first months of my son’s life have, overwhelmingly, been joyful, blissful, and beautiful. Everything feels more intense with him in our lives. I love my husband a thousand times more now that he is a father – he is an even better dad than I thought possible and you can literally see the love he has for our son radiating out of his pores. I am in awe of the incredible job my sisters have done with their kids. I am floored by my best friend, who had the roughest pregnancy (and first six months!) I’ve ever witnessed, and still wants a second! I have endless love for my own mother who raised four kids on a sailboat in the middle of the ocean – she has more courage than anyone I have ever met, to be able to overcome her justifiable fear for our lives in order to give us a unique and expansive childhood. This Mother’s Day means a lot to me. Not only do I have my own child now, but I also have a new appreciation for all the other Mamas out there. You wake up every day and choose to do your very best, even if you’re not feeling your best, because that’s what motherhood is about. That, and laundry.
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