On motherhood: All the "feels"
It has been more than a year now, that I gave birth to our darling girl and our world has never been the same.
The rainy, dreary January weather right now, invited me in to sit alone for a bit with a coffee and my thoughts. As I was reflecting about what it means to have Smilla in my life, I came to the realization that I didn't just give birth to Smilla herself last January. Alongside her, I gave birth to a whole new spectrum of powerful emotions.
There is L O V E of course. So much love. I always heard other people talk about the infinite love a mother feels for her child, but I didn't quite get it. Now, that I am experiencing motherhood myself, I finally understand what the fuss was all about. A wave of love hits you the moment your child is born and it drowns you in all these feelings of deep, relentless, unconditional love. It fills you up from head to toe and you can not remember for one second how love felt before. In addition to this crazy love, I feel a deep, deep G R A T I T U D E. Our journey to conceive wasn't an easy one and in the past I had promised to myself that if I only had a child, I'd forever be grateful. So now, every time life is kind of grey and my day is not going so well, I try to recall that. There are moments, when I look at her and I just can't help but pull her close, because I can't believe how lucky I am.
I'm not a patient person. Ask anyone and they will assure you, that I get easily frustrated the moment something is not happening in the timely manner it should be. Several times in my life, I have made hastily decisions, that I regretted later on, just because I couldn't wait to see how it would all unfold if I don't act right away. Well, with a child, you absolutely have no choice. You learn how practice P A T I E N C E. Time itself, already fluid somehow, has now completely lost it's relativity. Sleep cycles seem like seconds; mornings are ever so long; playtime is fast and when that baby cries - oh my - time completely comes to a halt. Everything this tiny human does is so slow. I swear it takes my darling girl five minutes to choose the right pea to pick up, another 5 minutes or so to put it into her mouth. Generally, everything I do now, takes a lot longer. Oddly, it's fine. It is completely fine. With some planning and some luck, I still get places on time. And for the rest of my plans? Well, they'll just have to wait.
There is new K N O W L E D G E. When you are pregnant you read a lot about babies. Then you have one and you find out that most of it you will just figure out with a mix of trial & error, wonderful motherly intuition and trust in the fact that you act to the best of your ability. Twelve months in I'm infinitely wiser and yet, I know that I have learned nothing yet!
If knowledge had a little sister I think it would be U N D E R S T A N D I N G. I have always had respect for my own parents. Now, that I have been a mother for twelve months, I also have a deep understanding for why the advised me against certain things. I will fully admit, that almost every time, they were absolutely right! They did what they did, out of their love and their knowledge.
In the past I have considered myself a pretty kind person. After giving birth though, I'm a total softie. I literally can't kill a fly. A few weeks into motherhood, I watched a documentary on killer whales. For about twenty minutes or so I followed along, as they chased down a humpback whale baby and finally drowned it. Sobbing and shaken my husband found me on the couch, when he got back from work. As I tried to tell him about what happened, another wave of tears hit me hard. Still today, I hear the commentators voice say "and then after 11 months of carrying her calve and birthing it, the mother humpback has to continue her journey alone". Birth showed me feelings of K I N D N E S S & C O M P A S S I O N, I never thought were possible - and I was an emotional person before ever becoming pregnant!
All these wonderful new emotions also come with a dark side. Being a mother has me more afraid of everything. F E A R of getting sick, fear of my baby getting sick, fear of financial instability, fear of divorce, fear of accidents, fear of world politics and war, fear of moving, fear of failing as a role model, fear of not being there enough, fear of being there too much, fear of not being able to love another child as much as this one, fear of losing my own parents and worst of all the fear of my daughter dying. The list is long. All the fears I had before, but worse and then some! There is also the fear of messing up this motherhood thing. After all, I don't really know what I am doing. I just hope that all these "big F E E L S" that I'm feeling will carry me through, guiding me to do the right things.