Motherhood is perhaps the only occupation and hobby where the participant actually expects perfection on the very first attempt….
As the proud, yet cautious, new mother to a beautiful five-week-old baby girl, I have learned quickly how the smallest accomplishments can change the way a new mom may feel from minute to minute. Learning to soothe my baby when she is having one of those oh-so-miserable “gassy” spells, mastering the art of cloth diapering, understanding the sounds of her happiness versus pain, and simply having the ability to function on two hours of sleep all affect my confidence as a new mom, and as a woman, more than I ever imagined. With each day my hope is to be perfect every step of the way.
I remember in the hospital, days after her arrival, feeling a gut wrenching pain in my heart as I watched our little lady try to belch or poop. How can you ever be prepared for the first time you witness pain in the eyes of something you love more than life itself? Now, just weeks later, I still feel pain as I watch her try to cope with her ever-changing bodily functions. However, the feeling is no longer paralyzing and instead I find myself singing “poopie” songs and doing “poopie” dances while “cheering the poopie on”. If anyone would have ever told me this would be what I was doing at 3 am, I certainly would have never believed them. After some time when she finally is able to find relief, I feel as if the weight of the world has just been lifted off of my shoulders, and confidence like none before; I just helped my daughter through this.
Over the past five weeks, the smallest accomplishments have truly made each day more amazing than the day before. At the end of the day, if I have successfully nursed my baby, hugged and kissed her, read her stories and danced with her around the living room-that is truly all that matters. That is success. I’ve learned that sleep is overrated and that it is entirely possible to function on love alone-and maybe a little green tea. I have come to understand that although each step of the way my actions may not be perfect, they are perfect to her. I am learning that “love can keep us alive”…or at least awake. But perhaps the most profound thing I have come to understand is the necessity to be confident in my actions. This is not something that I learned from reading one of the MANY baby and mommy books, nor was it something I thought would be so essential before my journey to mommyhood began. I am her mommy and although I have never done anything this important in all my life I will mother her with love, dedication and confidence. She came from me, she is a part of me (although she looks more like my husband every day), and I can give her everything she needs as a mother. She does not expect perfection, she just expects me.
As I go through this journey I promise to share my fears, goals, strategies and emotions. One of the most helpful things so far, becoming a member of a local mommy group. In just two hours with a group of other moms I found that I am not crazy, paranoid or out of the ordinary. I am just a mom. I strongly recommend finding your local MOPS group, there are a few in Anne Arundel County, if you are a mom or mom-to-be of any age or at any stage. Visit their website at www.mops.org.