Saturday, July 26, 2014

Motherhood: Expectations vs. Reality

When my friend Amy asked if I wanted to join in her blog hop on motherhood (Expectations vs. Reality), I thought it would be a great chance to do some more meaningful reflection on becoming Elliot's mom.

Now that I'm a little over 6 months in, I'm happy to say that I feel like our family has hit a good rhythm, and that the loneliness that hit a few months in is not as prevalent. Not so far gone that I've forgotten, but not so close that I literally feel alone. I've noticed that when I share my stories, I'm able to connect with others who can relate. So, in an attempt to be honest . . .



I thought I would be horrible at this.

The youngest in my family, I was never around babies and always preferred to be around people my own age or older. I didn't change a diaper 'til my mid-20s. I never liked to hold babies, and the sound of a baby crying terrified me, probably because it was so unfamiliar.

On top of my disinterest in babies, the thing that really worried me about pregnancy and motherhood was my anxiety. How would I handle the feeling of pregnancy? Of losing control over my body? Would I have a panic attack with my little one in tow? What if I pass out and die on the delivery room table? I couldn't be the only woman with these crazy, irrational fears. But still, they were there.

---

When I heard Elliot's first cries, my own tears started to flow. But I honestly think it was a mixture of exhaustion and disbelief. During my most exhausted moment, I was vaguely aware that a doctor came in the room to explain our options... "Something something forceps.... something something vacuum .... yadda yadda C-section."

My mood went from confident to concerned. I asked my husband to please put out a call on Facebook to have anyone and everyone say a prayer for me and the baby. After 3 hours of pushing, I didn't feel capable of giving any more. I also hated all of my options.

Under the doctor's recommendation, we went with the forceps, which my husband later described to me as "a king's salad tongs." Horrors. The doctor explained that the forceps would do about 10% of the work, and I'd need to do the other 90%. When it was time to push, I gave it everything I had left. I was surprised I had anything at all. Ninety seconds later, Elliot was born.

In reality, I didn't have that magical moment in the delivery room where I just wanted to hold him and never let go. After 37 hours awake, I was physically and emotionally done. I really wanted to hand him over to the nearest nurse and go to sleep.

I did hold him skin-to-skin for about 30 minutes while doctors stitched me up. But I cut it off early, because I had that sick feeling. The one you get in your throat when you know you're about to throw up. I passed the baby off to my husband and begged for a barf bag. 

---

In my first few days as Elliot's mom, I have to admit that I didn't yet have those magical mommy butterflies. So imagine my surprise when I suddenly knew exactly what to do! Mother's intuition was my friend during those long days and late nights. "This cry means . . . that whine means . . . " I was on fire. I was mom.

Something about the pregnancy stretched me. Literally, of course, but also mentally and spiritually. Before I got pregnant, I never, ever, ever wanted to give birth. I was completely horrified of the process and didn't know if I was even capable of such a feat. And somehow, I was calm and capable, perfectly able to do all that was required of me.

Now, for the first time in 8 years, I'm having a conversation with my husband about what it would look like to wean off my anxiety meds. And I'm doing it. In the experience of overcoming my worst fear, all the others paled in comparison.

So I could tell you about the crazy diaper stories, the sleepless nights and my painful physical recovery. But to my great surprise, none of that really matters. Somehow within this story, becoming Elliot's mom is healing me.




Thankful. 

I have perspective enough to know that I'm not through the worst of it. My mother's intuition is sure to fail me. There will be harder days to come, and many which seem more impossible than it felt in that delivery room. But I've also learned that I'm not doing this alone. I felt the support of my husband, my family and friends, both in that hospital room and in the days since. Elliot has amazing grandparents who would do anything for him.

Mostly, I'm thankful that I'm becoming a mom. Little by little, I'm learning to give more than I think is possible, and finding life on the other side.

This post is part of the Motherhood: Expectations v. Reality blog hop. Be sure to check it out to see more details and the full blog hop schedule!





21 comments:

  1. awesome, awesome post. Hope we can chat more about it all sometime. Playdate, yo.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is so wonderful! I hope lots of new moms and nervous moms to be get a chance to read it! It's so beautifully said!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Fabulous honest post. Being a mum is the scariest thing ever. Hard work too. But wonderful. But it's important to read about the reality because its not all perfect cuddles all the time. I really relate to that post delivery feeling. My 1st was a very similar experience to yours right down to yelling for the barf bag!

    ReplyDelete
  4. This was fabulous to read. It is good for everyone to know that it isn't always rosie. While I wasn't able to become a mom through birth, many of the feelings are the same. It just takes time either way and at some point you stop worrying about how you should be feeling because it just comes naturally.

    ReplyDelete
  5. What an absolutely beautiful post! Seeing you in person with your babe, you totally look like a natural! He is precious, as are you.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Great relatable post. Thank you so much for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Lovely post. I was super fearful of childbirth itself and similarly, feel that motherhood helped me grow out of self-esteem issues. Being a mom really is an amazing gift. Thanks for sharing...

    ReplyDelete
  8. Dear Lindsay,
    My oldest sone is 31. Can I tell you that the worries and anxieties never end? And now they include grandchildren. The feelings you describe are so completely normal and will wax and wane over the years. Imagine how you'll feel when Elliot learns to drive! All we can do is our best, and what works for one child can be disaster for another (20:20 hindsight). As one of my friends always said when I agonized over my (lack of) parenting skills, "don't worry, no matter what, they'll still call you Mommy." And they do!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I am so glad that having your little one has brought so many good things into your life! I can definitely relate - I'm the youngest and had no interest in babies nor getting pregnant and was pretty upset when I found out I was pregnant even tho technically we were "trying" - aka I just stopped getting my b/c shots. My pregnancy was a pretty cranky 9 months for me with lots of crying and angry moments. All of the baby furniture made me mad everytime I looked at it and as that due date got closer and closer I just felt more and more trapped. I cried myself to sleep many nights before he was born, so upset that we were having a baby and I was giving up my life.

    ... after 2.5 hours of pushing and the awful vacuum experience, my giant baby boy was born and I felt instant concern for him (the poor kid had a vacuum stuck to his head!) and instant love - even tho I hurt like heck because my epidural wore off and couldn't hold him while getting stitched because I could feel it ALL! So grateful that I fell in love instantly because I had a lot of physical problems from the birth and am still not back to normal 4 months later, but every second of it was worth it because I am just so in love with my little man.

    It is crazy how we can't even imagine feeling how we do now but somehow God knows what we need and ignores what we think we want - for which I'll be eternally grateful.

    Will be right there with you on this crazy motherhood journey Lindsay - we can do this! We won't be perfect but we'll do our best and love them more than anyone else ever can, and that will be enough :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Beautifully written. I'm sure your words will touch at the hearts of many new moms and although everyone's experiences are different in a lot ways, being able to relate to shared emotions and feelings is so important and healing. He is precious.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Excellent post! As an only child, I had the same HUGE fear that I would have no idea what to do with the baby. But you are absolutely right, mother's intuition really does kick in and everything has been more...naturally than I expected it to be. I am so glad that you have settled into this new role as mother. He is absolutely adorable!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I love the honesty in your post. I don't have any kids, but as someone who longs to be a mother and struggles with infertility, I loved reading about how Elliot is healing you and how you are learning to appreciate growing into the role of "Mom" more each day. I have anxiety as well, but it's more about not being able to ever have children. Fear comes in all different forms I guess! Thank you for sharing your experience with everyone in a transparent and vulnerable way though. It was a blessing to me! :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. A beautiful, honest, real post. Thank you for sharing, Lindsay!

    ReplyDelete
  14. So proud of you, happy for you, and thankful that you're finding your place and your perspective as you go. You're awesome, my friend!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Really wonderful post! So touching and honest. I'm glad to hear this experience has connected you to others in unexpected ways. You are definitely not alone! :) I've had anxiety as well and can understand how he's helped you come to terms with your feelings! thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  16. This was a beautifully written post, Lindsay! Thank you for sharing it with us.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'm so glad that things have worked out well for you

    ReplyDelete
  18. I know we talked about this, but just wanted to say that the best part was when you said that being Elliot's mom was healing you - what an absolutely beautiful sentiment.

    ReplyDelete
  19. great post. I had a forceps delivery and was whisked off for surgery pretty soon after so didn't really have that mythical magical moment either. And I would say that, even though I thought I was pretty strong before, I think being a mum has made me stronger, definitely more productive with my time. Good luck with the meds thing x

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...