motherhood.

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I had a friend find out she was pregnant, and it came as quite a surprise. She is struggling with a pretty intense first and second trimester, a whirlwind of emotions and plenty of "morning" (read: all day) sickness. She told me she was dealing with some depression and having trouble even accepting that she was pregnant.

She said she was having a hard time figuring out what motherhood was going to mean to her.


Every woman has different experiences when it comes to their pregnancy and delivery and parenthood. But, one of the most comforting things is knowing that many of us have actually all felt the exact things. I can remember a full 6 weeks where I felt exactly like it sounds she was feeling now. It was during my first trimester. We were living in New York, and I had just quit a pretty fast-paced job because I was pregnant and decided that I had no desire to get up and go to work anymore. Which was ok, except that then, I found myself sitting in a very dark and quiet apartment by myself all day. And then...the "morning" (yes, all day) sickness hit and didn't let up for weeks. I sat on the couch and watched Netflix all day and ate junk and just felt depressed and incredibly guilty. So much guilt. I felt like I should be happy and excited. And, I was- I was so, so happy to be getting ready for this baby. But, that was just the thing. I wasn't getting ready. I was laying around the house and crying all day and eating awful food and all I could think about was how I was supposed to incubate this tiny baby in my body- while, at the moment, all I was doing was was laying around and totally destroying my quote/unquote "vessel." 

Anyway, that's how I felt. But, it went away. Pregnancy is pretty nuts. I loved how my friend described it- she said she didn't realize how abstract it was. And, it's true. You know there is something in you, but you don't see it showing, and you can't feel it moving yet- the only signs of this baby are the awful, awful side effects. It's just such an intangible thing until you are actually holding that babe in your arms.

You have to remember that your hormones wreak havoc on your body and your mind during pregnancy, and even after. But it goes away, and that haze will lift. I'm not saying that is exactly what happens to everyone. But, for me- the sickness disappearing allowed me to finally pick myself up off the ground. It taught me a lot. It taught me that whenever I start feeling in a funk- the first thing I should do is go outside. Get out of the house. Get some fresh air. It also taught me that if I don't make it outside that day- it's OK. I shouldn't feel guilty about it. 

Guilt and self-doubt are my biggest enemy. But, time after time during my pregnancy and now, as a parent, I am constantly reminded that my Heavenly Father does not want me to feel that way. This scripture in 2 Timothy always comes to mind: 

"For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."

This is what I have to remind myself every time I worry that the person standing next to me is judging me for the the fact that Eliza's not wearing a sweater and it just got a bit chilly out. Or, the feelings that crowded me while I watched the nurses come in and out of the office to re-weigh her twice during her last appointment because she was showing at -3% on the weight curve. I have to remind myself that the people around me, more often than not, aren't out to make me doubt myself as a mother. And, if they are- it doesn't matter. Because I am Eliza's mom and a mother's intuition will always be the best thing a baby can have. I am good at being Eliza's mom simply because I am Eliza's mom. 

Don't get me wrong, I don't believe that we shouldn't listen to doctors or read up on parenting. I do plenty of that. But, I can only do this if I have confidence in myself as a mother, first. Trust me, you don't want to be smacked over the head with list after list of required developmental milestones without first feeling like you are succeeding as a parent. Is your child healthy and happy? Then, you are doing it, lady. You got it. 

It's along the lines of "You can only help others to be happy if you are happy with yourself." If I know I am a good mom, I can go out and be one. 

I sometimes find myself afraid of failing, or afraid that I am not doing enough. But, here's the thing: I spend my days raising a beautiful child so that she can live a beautiful life. I am doing exactly what I should be doing! And, it makes me happy.

Yes, I am happy! My life is good. But, sure it's not easy. I guess that's what is so great about it. No true achievement comes easy. Nothing easy gives you that absolute sense of accomplishment as being a mother. My child eats a Cheerio and I dance around the room- because I taught her to do that. She used to be a cute, little lump of a baby- and now she crawls around the room and eats Cheerios. I taught her that. And when I dance around the room and cheer for her, she smiles and giggles and she knows that I am proud of her. That, my dear, is a great accomplishment.

There are some days that I just want to throw her back. And some days that I squeeze her so hard she lets out a painful yelp. 

I always have people ask me how motherhood has changed my life. I've been thinking about the answer to that a lot lately, because it's really hard to put into words. They told me I would be tired, but I never understood it. Not until one night when I heard her crying for the millionth time and I started crying myself because I suddenly realized that I will never. sleep. again. They told me I would love her, but it's a completely new sensation. After the longest, hardest day- my heart still wants to explode when she burrows into my shoulder, and I pour her tired, little body into her crib at night. 

I love her so much. Each and and every day I love her more and more. I am literally developing a relationship with this tiny girl. We get to know each other every day. Lately, Sam and I have been calling her our "little buddy." Before I loved her as my newborn, tiny, helpless thing- now, I love her as my little buddy who likes to try new things and accompanies me on my adventures. It's a new and special kind of love.

This friend of mine that has been struggling so much wrote me a really nice note. She said she appreciated that I made motherhood look normal and happy. Thank you, so much. I am normal and happy, because being a mom is normal and happy. 

To those who are worried or scared or doubting themselves as soon-to-be or current moms- Don't.

You were made for it, ladies. 

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