Monday, August 3, 2015

'I Think I Can't' and Other Thoughts from Motherhood


The first time I remember trying to give up on anything was the day I had my daughter. I grew up believing I was the little blue train in The Little Engine That Could, but all of that flew out the window as I approached hour five of pushing her into the world. The good thing was, no one at my bedside would let me quit and a sweet and swollen baby girl was finally placed on my chest to my own disbelief.

The thing is, throughout this beginning phase of motherhood, I have had to battle this feeling of "I can't" many times. I have cried in the middle of the night over breastfeeding. I have been convinced I am failing at motherhood because Sprout woke Scott up when I know he has an important day of work ahead (for the record, he completely disagrees). 

Many mothers have sincerely told me to ask them if I have any questions, which always translates to 'I'm here for you' in my mind, but what I'm realizing now is that I don't usually need help finding answers to my questions. I can Google 'diaper rash remedies' and 'when will my baby sleep through the night?'.  What I need help with is all the feelings. Sometimes I've wondered if my baby likes me. Sometimes I feel like I'm a failure if she scream-cries when I feed her. Sometimes I'm completely overwhelmed by how quickly time passes. In the light of day, after some fresh air or a good nap or looking at a gummy little baby smile or watching her sleep in a ball in my chest, these feelings vanish and I know we're right where we're supposed to be and that even the hardest moments are precious and fleeting, but I wanted to write them here anyways so that other people can know that I've had them in case they have too.

In some ways the struggle brings me comfort. I get nervous when things are too easy. I just have to remind myself that sometimes success in parenting looks like a bunch of dirty diapers, a sleeping child in clean pajamas and a mom with spit-up in her hair and Desitin under her finger nails.

It's all ok. It's like the lady with a mop of grey hair said to me in the locker room at the gym two weeks before Sprout was born..."We can do this!" 

17 comments:

  1. What I've learned from motherhood - and some great lessons these were :) - is to really, really be patient - the more the merier - and that I can't do/control everything, and that's ok and fine...and everyone feels the same with the first child and we are never, ever prepared for what's to come. And that's the beauty of it! We learn so much! :)

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    1. Thank you! This was really comforting to read. Thank you for taking the time to share your wisdom and experiences!

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  2. This is so sweet, Devon! You are doing such a tremendous job--look at how happy she looks cuddled up with you:) Reading this makes me feel better, because I know that having these feeling will be completely normal. Thanks for sharing and hope you're having a good day:)

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    1. You will be a great Mom Kari. I am sure of it.

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  3. I would love to tell you that the feelings and emotions go away, but they don't. My daughter is 5 years old, and I still have anxiety when she sleeps in her own bed because I can't feel her breathing right next to me. I sometimes have my doubts as to whether I'm doing this whole parenting thing right; often I feel like I'm failing. However, I feel like that's parenting. We are responsible for these little ones so that comes with such a huge responsibility! Along with the fears, insecurities, we also get those "high five" moments when we just know that we "nailed" something right for sure. :) I feel like these are all necessary when it comes to being parents. We learn what works and what doesn't because everything is a "first" right now. And, yes, that means that sometimes you get to cry in the middle of the night because the little refuse to latch even though they've been great at it so many times before. Or that you get to walk around looking like you just rolled out of bed because some nights can be rough. It's all okay. So, I guess what I'm trying to say is: "High Five!! You're doing a wonderful job, mom. Even if you don't feel like it at times, you're doing great!"

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    1. I can totally see myself having the same anxiety when my daughter is 5. I guess this is why our parents were so emotional and relived at our high school graduations. It's a lot of work raising a person! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me Raquel. It's really nice to hear encouragement from other moms. It's encouraging to hear I'm not alone.

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  4. You can so do it, mama. You are feeling all the feelings that every new mom feels...and the fact that you feel them so deeply puts you steps ahead already. You got this. xx

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    1. Thank you Raluca! This is so nice and reassuring coming from you, someone I look up to as a parent so much. xx

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  5. Yes, yes you CAN and you WILL and Sprout LOVES you and one day will say it and it will melt your heart!

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    1. Thank you Lisa! Just what I needed to hear!

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  6. What beautiful photos, and how lovely you look. Being a mamma agrees with you I think. I know what you mean about all the feelings. I always question everything too, probably far too much, but I can't help it. It's good that you have one of those brilliant stretchy slings. Back when you were pregnant I though about recommending one, mine was an absolute life saver with my littlest boy, it enabled me to carry on with everything while he was happy because he was (always!) close to me. But I didn't mention in the end because I didn't want to be dishing out advice. Anyway, you all look wonderful together, and you're doing a brilliant job. How much your sweet little girl will love you both, you're top parents for sure. CJ xx

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    1. I would love any advice from you, CJ. I do love the wrap so far. At this very moment I am using it so I can type with 2 hands. What a luxury ;)

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  7. Presley is four months older than Avalon, and guess what? I still hit a wall sometimes and wonder what the heck I've gotten myself into and how I'm going to survive this for years to come. I wonder if people at work know how exhausted I am or if my smile looks fake because my brain is mush and I want to be at home with my daughter. But every time I hear someone say "It's amazing how happy and energetic you are even with a baby at home" or "having a baby hasn't hurt your work an ounce," I feel like I've conquered something magical. Words of encouragement have become my lifeline. And yes. WE CAN DO IT!

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  8. This hits so close to home. I'm so glad someone else is writing about the feelings part of motherhood. It's the emotional aspect that nothing could've prepared me for. You are so strong and doing so well. You know I've spent hours crying over all the same things. And I love what you said about being nervous when things seem too easy...that is EXACTLY how I feel sometimes. I was actually thinking about that this morning. There really is a weird comfort in the struggle. You are doing so fantastically well.

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  9. I am sure your words hit home with so many parents. I am excited to have a baby someday. I will bookmark this and read it just when I need it. A clean diaper and lots of love sounds like a win in my book. You are doing great!

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  10. I haven't been there yet, but I'm tucking this post away in my head for the day someday when I will be there. And I'll be feeling all those emotions and I'll know that I'm not alone. *hugs* You got this, Momma!

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  11. I pushed something funny and my comment I was writing is gone grr :( Maybe it went through maybe not, in case it didn't I mostly just said that its so nice to read another mom sharing cause I'm going through all the same stuff:)

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