Sunday, October 25, 2015

Thoughts on Motherhood and Gratefulness

   I can hardly stand to write it.....Today my baby boy is 9. Months. Old.  I can't believe it.  Harrison has been out of the womb exactly as many days as he was inside the womb.  Well....if we're being technical here, he was in the womb an extra 2 weeks past the official 9 month mark, but we'll just call it even.  He's getting so old I've even been pinning images of first birthday party ideas on Pinterest. Whaaaaaaattt??? That is not okay. That means that this year......this amazing year... is coming to an end.
Harrison at just a few days old....soooo tiny!
   I remember going out in public to run errands when Harrison was like 6 or 8 weeks old, and I'd meet moms out and about who had babies who were 9 and 10 and 11 months old.  I remember thinking how old that seemed.  It seemed like an eternity away. And now I'm here. When you're in the trenches with a newborn, you feel like things will be like that FOREVER.....the fussiness, having a permanent attachment to your boob, the late night alarm clock (aka screaming baby), etc.  But it won't be like that forever.  It wasn't like that forever.  As soon as you find yourself in one "stage," you're moving on to another one.  Things change so quickly.  But it doesn't always seem that way in the moment.  You can only see that once you're past it.  We've been through the "Holy crap, our baby screams from 5pm-9pm stage," the "I hate my carseat stage," the "I want to look at everything and everybody while I'm still latched on nursing stage (ouch)," the "I like to spit food all over mamma while she feeds me stage," the "I will squeal at ear-piercing decibels just to hear myself so people in public think my mom is abusing me stage,"  and the latest...... the "I love to grab my balls and/or stick my hands in my poop while my diaper is being changed stage."
My two favorite men!!
    There are so many hard things about those first months of parenting, but there are so many more INCREDIBLE things.  I saw a mom post in a Facebook group the other day that she thought having children was the worst possible thing she could have done for her marriage.  It made me so sad to hear that.  I've found the opposite to be true. I feel like Tony and I have grown even closer in our marriage since Harrison was born. Seeing your spouse as a parent reveals a whole new level of love.
 Don't get me wrong...there have been learning curves, and lots of daily logistics to work through as we have taken on new roles, but I still feel like we have a new love and appreciation for each other.  Becoming a mother has also put the world into an entirely different a good way.  There are so many things that I used to stress about or get frustrated by that just don't bother me anymore.  I now have no idea what songs are on the Top 40, mostly because I listen to Baby Einstein lullabies in the car now.  And I'm fine with that. Most songs on the radio are trash anyway.  Those lullabies are actually pretty calming after a stressful day at work.  I don't know about what controversial statements Trump said this week, and I can't tell you the latest news headlines either.  I'm not saying that staying "in the know" about current events is's not.  And being educated on presidential candidates for the purpose of voting is important too.  It's just not as important as being a good mom. And I do have to say that not watching the news as much has taken some levels of stress out of my life.
   I don't know what it is about the last couple of days, but I have just truly been in awe of God's provision and his blessing of our family.  What have I done to deserve this blessing? I always remembered the verse, "Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart" - Psalm 37:4.  There were times that I doubted that promise....many times actually....more than I'd like to admit.  But the Lord has done just that - he has given me the desires of my heart.  He has blessed me with a husband who loves me unconditionally and a precious, precious baby boy. And. I. Could. Not. Be. More. Grateful. When I hold Harrison, and he wraps his arms around me and lays his head down on my shoulder, I sometimes just squeeze him tight, close my eyes, and just soak him up with every ounce of my being.  I think to did I get this lucky?? How is it that God decided to bless me with this beautiful boy?  And he is so happy..... and healthy!  He loves to play, and bounce, and read books, and take strolls around the neighborhood.  He has this infectious giggle and such a precious smile.  He even sleeps through the night every night most nights.  I think to this even real?  I find myself constantly looking back to pictures of him when he was a tiny baby and re-watching all the videos that I've taken of him since birth.  Every time I watch them I relive that moment.  A baby's first months are such a precious time, and they are gone in a flash.  People have said over and over, "Don't blink." I'm beginning to realize what they mean. It just all goes by so fast.
  As I look back over these past 9 months, I think about how so many moms have said that the first year was the hardest or the worst as a parent.  Now that I'm almost through the first year, I truly cannot imagine that being true.  The last 9 months have been an absolute joy.  There have been REALLY hard times, and REALLY frustrating times, and sleepless nights, and times when I've felt insecure or doubtful or confused.  There have been times when I've been totally confident in what I am doing, and times when I literally had no idea what I was doing.  (Google and Facebook mom groups have helped a lot with the latter.) Over the past 9 months, my body has been through more changes than I ever thought possible.  I gained almost 70 lbs pregnant, blew up like a balloon with swelling, stretched to heck (going two weeks past your due date will do that...), was cut wide open during my c-section delivery, had a hard couple of weeks of recovery, went through that terribly awkward postpartum period where nothing fit and wore maternity clothes for months, and have somehow emerged on the other side of it all weighing less than I did before I got pregnant.  (I'm still in shock about that actually...) My belly is still poochy, I have some pretty awesome stretch marks, and I now understand what people are talking about when they refer to a "mom butt," but you know what? None of that bothers me much anymore.  I actually think I have better body image now than I did before I got pregnant, because I have so much more respect for my body. I have to give it some credit for what it's done. My body grew a human for 9 months, birthed him (kind of), and then spent the next 9 months providing nourishment for him. That's pretty freaking awesome if you ask me.  Forget the stretch marks, c-section scar, and tummy body is amazing.
     I have learned more about baby sleep cycles and schedules, breastfeeding, pumping, poop, and making baby food than I ever thought I'd need to know. Being in the mom blog/social media world now, I've navigated my way through the jibberish and learned all the mom lingo and so many acronyms that I never knew existed - LO (little one), DD (dear daughter), DS (dear son), EBF (exclusively breastfed), PP (postpartum), STTN (sleeping through the night), SAHM (stay at home mom), EP (exclusively pumping), and the list goes on!!!
Showing off the teefers!
I have had to make decisions on all sorts of things too.... whether to circumcise or not, whether to vaccinate on schedule or spread out, whether to do cloth diapers or disposables, whether to breastfeed or formula feed, whether to start solids early or wait until 6 months, whether to do purees or baby led weaning, whether to sleep train or not....and so much more.  I've done a lot of research as a mom.....oh the research! And I do things as a mom I would have never dreamed of a year ago....from pumping in the car every day on the way to  and from work in order to get enough milk for the next day, to meticulously organizing and frequently counting milk bags in the deep freezer on a regular basis like a squirrel hoarding nuts, to having to wear a bra every single night with nursing pads so I don't leak everywhere (I could write a whole post about things I didn't know about breastfeeding.....), to deciding what to wear each day based on one factor - whether or not there is easy boob access, to buying tops and dresses with patterns on them as opposed to solid colors for the purpose of camouflaging spit up, to lugging around 5 different bags to and from work every day (diaper bag, pump bag, daycare bag, teacher bag, lunch bag...), and the list goes on.....
Visiting "Dada" at the fire station!
      My brain is always on constant overload. When you're in charge of another human being, that tends to be the case.  There are bottles to wash...lots of bottles. There is laundry to do.....lots of laundry.  There are diapers.....lots and lots and lots of diapers.  There is always something that I am learning or trying to figure out. I'm always wondering if something is "normal" or not. Being a mom can be overwhelming at times. There is a lot to do. :) But I get the privilege of waking up every morning next to the love of my life, walking into the nursery, being greeted with the sweetest little smile you've ever seen, picking up the cutest baby boy ever, and starting my day as a mommy.  I know there are many hard days ahead in this journey called parenthood and still lots and lots and lots more to learn.  But I'm just taking things one day at a time, counting my blessings, and focusing on being grateful for all the things...and people... with which God has entrusted me.