I’m someone’s mom. Hold on, I’m letting that sink in for a minute. I contributed in the creation of a human being, and grew him in my belly for nine months, and then valiantly pushed him out of my body (with the help of an epidural, of course), and then we took him home, and now I’m in charge of his life.
Every now and then the realization that I’m the one responsible for my five month old baby’s overall well being hits me, and I have to stop and take a deep breath to keep from hyperventilating. Sometimes the thought occurs to me while driving with him in the car, because gone are the days of screaming at people for cutting me off, and in are the days of kiddie music blaring to keep him entertained and happy. Sometimes the thought occurs to me while taking his temperature whenever he feels the slightest bit warm, or when I’m waking up in the middle of the night for the hundredth time to put the pacifier back in his mouth, and he looks at me and smiles at me with that gummy, goofy grin. Like, it’s me, you guys. Me. I’m his mom. He’s smiling at me, because I’m one of his favorite people in the whole entire world, and he knows I’m there to take care of him.
I’m totally up for the challenge. I’ve been up for it since the day I took that pregnancy test sometime last October. While my body was physically preparing for the baby, I was mentally getting myself ready. And I knew it would be a big change, but how could I really know it would be like this? This is beyond a big change. This is epic, and unchartered, bizarre, and confusing, wonderful, but really mother f’ing scary. And honestly, anyone who says anything different, is either lying, or just a really, really adaptable person.
But they’re probably lying.
The truth is, I have no flipping idea what I’m doing, but does any new mom know what they’re doing? I’m beginning to see that it’s kind of a learn on the job sort of role, and all of the baby books, websites, apps, columns, and advice I devoured pre-baby did absolutely no good. I remember watching a YouTube video on how to change a diaper, because I realized at 37 weeks pregnant I had never changed a diaper! The horror. I watched it step by step, all seven minutes of it, but it was in vain. I forgot everything about that video in the hospital the night after my baby was born, along with everything else I had read in preparation for his arrival. In the first few weeks of motherhood, it was survival mode, baby, and you know what? I think I did just fine.
Every day I learn something new, and every day I surprise myself in some way, good or bad. Some days I’m impressed with my endless patience, only to have an extremely impatient and frustrated day the next. There’s a learning curve, though, and all I can do when I have one of those bad days, is to try and do better next time. Because babies can bring things out in you that you never knew existed. Babies take you to the depths of yourself that you never knew were there, and then just when you thought you had made it to the absolute end of yourself, they take you a little further. I swear, I’ve never loved as much, or experienced such utter despair as I did in those first few weeks of motherhood.
And I wish I had listened. I wish I had listened when other moms told me how much babies change everything, because babies do change everything. While I was pregnant, I took all of those statements as pessimism, and chose to ignore it. I was like, Not me. My baby won’t change anything. My body will bounce back. Breast feeding will be a breeze. Heck, labor will be so easy, I might not even need an epidural! Ah, the lies we tell ourselves. I only began to grasp the enormity of childbirth, the aftermath of recovering after childbirth, and being a new mom, recently. I mean, the very core of me has changed, so if that’s what they meant when they said babies change everything, than they were right. Do you hear that, every mom who warned me that babies change everything? I just admitted that you were right. Of course, some things haven’t changed at all. I mean, my love for apples that began sometime in week 22 of pregnancy is still going strong. I’m also still a huge worrier, but now it’s next level. I swear my worries have worries, and those worries have worries.
“Is he still breathing?” I often ask myself in the middle of the night as I put my face directly in his airway to feel a puff from his nose.
“Did he just sneeze? Oh my God, he must have a cold. How do you treat a cold? Oh my God, he just sneezed again. Do I call the doctor?” Frantic googling follows the hysteria.
“His poop is…green?! What does this mean???” Frantic googling again. “Green poop. C’mon, c’mon…there’s nothing on green poop?! What? No other baby on the planet has ever had green poop?! You’ve got to be kidding me.”
I can honestly say I never thought I’d google green poop, but well, here I am at least twenty-five “green poop” googles deep.
Then again, I never thought I’d be pricing out minivans…but I just thoroughly looked into the safest minivans about five minutes ago. But minivans, seriously? Who am I??
Honestly, I’m still navigating it. Sometimes it seems as though an impostor came and took over my body, and left me with a person who happily wakes up in the morning and makes a bottle, instead of, GASP, having her coffee first. Yeah, I think it’s safe to say that I’m different now.
I guess it all comes with the territory of being this little perfect person’s protector, boss, defender, rock, greatest supporter, biggest fan, friend, advocate, and number one girl, his mama.
Like, I’m someone’s mom. And you know what? I kind of like the sound of that.
Photo by me.