I will never forget the way it felt bringing my first baby home from the hospital after she was born. As I carried her into the house; everything seemed warmer… homier; my house felt like it had truly become a home. Eagerly I walked her around her new home, showing her the different rooms until we arrived at her freshly painted and decorated room. There we stood, in a room I had spent a lot of time in just dreaming of the day the room would be filled with the gentle sounds of my baby girl. I remember gazing down at her beautiful face, feeling like all the love that had been growing in my heart for the past nine months was now staring right back at me in the form of this precious newborn.
That is when it all started to feel real… and I suddenly wondered if I knew what the heck I was doing!
Those initial feelings of peace and calm gradually began blur as the days and weeks of sleep deprivation and exhaustion took their toll. In their place were the nagging feelings of self-doubt and worry; telling me things like, “Look at this innocent newborn… she is completely dependent on you… she is impacted by every decision you make… or don’t make!”
What a responsibility! Was I up for the task? It was all so overwhelming!
Over the next couple of days, I think I stewed over every possible scenario. Everything from how I was going to clip her nails without making her bleed to how to making sure she was breathing in her bassinet if she was asleep longer than usual. I was concerned about everything! I remember lying in bed at night staring at the ceiling, agonizing over a seemingly endless sea of possibilities. From her first toddler tantrum to her first broken heart to her going off to college and so on… I found myself wondering if I could do it – if I could handle worrying about my baby for the rest of my life! The answer was of course yes, but in those first few days and weeks at home with a new baby and becoming a mommy for the first time, it was hard to have a clear perspective.
The older my daughter got the more laid back and confident I became. Once the initial shock wore off I was able to channel the apprehension I had been feeling early on, into a more healthy sense of alertness, learning how to be one step ahead at all times.
While I became more and more confident in my abilities as a mother I began to realize I could handle just about anything… or so I thought!
But as any mother will tell you, just when you think you are one step ahead that’s when your children throw you a curve ball, putting your confidence to the test. I had my first encounter with this when my daughter was four months old and she fell off the bed!! Watching her tumble over the side of the bed I felt my delicate, new found confidence fall with her! The worst part about it was that I was with her the whole time!! I swear I only looked away for a second, but that was all it took for her to roll herself right off, and the day my husband and I now refer to as, “The day of the first incident” was born!
The details leading up to the “incident” are a little foggy but the next thing I knew I was lunging myself forward to save her, but I was too late. Over she went… I didn’t know a baby (or a mommy) could cry so hard! It was as though she was screaming out in horror, “How could you mommy!! I was with you the whole time!! I can’t believe you would allow this to happen to me?!” No judgments please… thankfully she was just fine.
Two years and another baby later, I have witnessed many scary moments between the two of them!
Between the dog knocking over the stroller while the baby sat strapped in side, to my daughter practically biting a whole in her lip when she bumped into a chair, our house hold has been booming with nail biting suspense! Yet, somehow things seem much less dramatic by the second child. Not that it gets any easier seeing my children in pain or hearing them cry, but at least I don’t feel quite as anguished and defeated as I did in the beginning. I feel better able to rise to the occasion and tend to their needs calmly without questioning my abilities as a mother or crushing my confidence.
All of the changes and responsibilities that come with becoming a mother for the first time can be quite intimidating as well. Am I a good mother? Do I spend enough time with my children? Am I balancing everything OK – work, life, family? How will my actions today impact my children’s future? Are just some of the many questions a mother faces at one point or another; or sometimes all at once!
Recently my mother in law said to me, “At least with my second baby I knew I wasn’t going to accidentally kill him!” Meaning with the first child everything is brand new so it can be easy to find ourselves worrying about every little thing! We don’t know what is normal or what will get better. It is a mystery and the best route to understanding is giving it a little time.
Another piece of valuable advice that I received in the beginning, and has managed to stick with me, is that when we become mothers, God equips us with everything we need to take care of our children. Be encouraged! You are programed to this! Trust your “gut”, your maternal instinct… and be confident in yourself! That will get you further than worry ever could or ever will.
So whether your day has you in the middle of a comedy learning to laugh at yourself, rolling your eyes at all the drama, or trying to catch your breath from a little scare remember that this is all part of this crazy journey called “motherhood”! Who knows, tomorrow could be a heart pumping, awesome adventure so just try to enjoy the ride, and as always, don’t forget to breathe!!