The following is a guest post from Shawna from Dovetail Blog. Shawna aptly recounts what many of us grapple with in the months after our little ones are born: confusion, guilt… growth, love, change… Thank you for putting into words what so many of us have experienced!
I didn’t pay attention to most of the prenatal classes. Though the eighties videos had my husband’s eyes pried wide with various uncomfortable emotions. I glazed over the major content like the pain-relief drugs, the epidural, the c-section.
Rather, I made a play list on my iPhone. I set a packed bag by the door. I downloaded the contraction timer app. I was ready to birth without a plan, while I said I didn’t need to ‘be a hero’ it was deep in my heart to avoid all drugs and I didn’t even envision a C-Section on the horizon.
After my first born, my son, was an emergency C-Section I was left with this deep confusing gap. It was a two-month long chasm filled with all the expectations I had of how my birth should have gone. Littered with disappointment in my body quickly followed by feeling ashamed I would entertain such thoughts when I have a beautiful baby boy from it all. I wanted a shadow over the time I had to spend recovering, hours passed while my family cuddled my new son before he would ever rest in my unfamiliar arms. I would well up with tears in the middle of the night, feeling sick with myself that I didn’t immediately splash into the pool of love and bonding over the life I had brought into this world. Like all moms should.
I felt overwhelmed by the presence of a new baby I was responsible for and clueless about. I felt like I was faking motherhood and just going through the motions.
My experience with my daughter was the opposite. Her swift VBAC delivery paced the growth of my love for her from the moment I laid eyes on her. I felt able with her and connected to her in a way I had naively thought all mothers ought to. All the reassuring sentiments that built around me were quickly kicked into rubble as my daughter became a very tough baby who would push me in uncomfortable and difficult ways as a mother for the first year of her life.
My son will be turning three soon and my daughter only sixteen months behind him. I have two very different kids with two very different entrances into this world. I can say one thing as the space between birthing babies and parenting kids widens. All of my past disappointments no longer matter.
Eventually yours won’t either.
Eventually the link between the disappointment in the birth of this baby and the early months of shaky parenting unfastens itself from the now assured mother’s arms and the reliant child it holds.
Eventually you will be looking across the room at a boy’s big brown eyes that at first you averted and now only you can decode. Meanwhile that warm tiny body you cradled so intently when it was new is an independent little girl who toddles around without much need for you.
Eventually you won’t look at other moms and wonder how you can suck some of the happiness and energy out of them. You will appreciate the hard work your body and heart have gone through and honour it with some rest. You will learn a taste for the subtle blend of happiness and hardships that will fill every day.
Eventually you will learn that being a mom extends a lifetime beyond a horrible pregnancy, a traumatic delivery, and an indifference to a baby waking you up every two hours for the first six months. All the hardships and mistakes you have and will make as a parent hold you back when you leave your identity strapped to them. You can cut those ropes.
You are a mom, no matter what.
Shawna is a stay at home mom to 2 (number three on the way) in small town BC. She writes openly about her momfails, her sarcastic handsome husband, gluten free waffles and day drinking at ladies’ lunches.
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