This is my last week home with my precious baby girl, Eve, before I return to work full time.
What an indescribable and bumpy journey maternity leave has been. It’s crazy how long and how fast it has been at the same time. We have spent so many days together- Eve and I- we’ve been on the floor, she’s been in my arms, tears have been shed (by both of us), visitors have come and gone, I have learned how to eat and nurse at the same time, Eve has learned to sleep on her own without being held.
It’s only been eight weeks, and already I’ve learned so much about parenting, about Eve, about myself.
Here are the top three things I’ve learned so far:
Humility: Oh how true it is that you will do the things you never thought you’d do when you become a parent. I look back now at some of the thoughts I had, “I will never do X”…”I will never be the mom that Y’s.” I’m embarrassed even to admit these thoughts, because how arrogant of me! Who the heck was I to make assumptions when I had absolutely no clue what it was like to be a mom.
I Don’t Have To Know Everything. Right Away. All the Time: Guys. I don’t like to feel like I don’t know what I’m doing. I especially don’t like it when the consequence of not knowing what I’m doing is an unhappy and crying (adorable, sweet) baby. Now that I’m starting to be able to understand Eve more, I’m realizing how high my expectations of myself were at first. I thought I didn’t know what I was doing as a mother- which is part of it- but it was also that it took time to get to know my daughter. There was no way I could have known what she needed or wanted right away. I am learning each day how to care for her, but I was unreasonably hard on myself in the beginning.
As I am in many areas in life. I just want to be good and competent and know what I’m doing as soon as I start anything. Many times this is simply unrealistic.
Grace, Krista, grace.
Nothing Lasts Forever: The first few weeks of maternity were tough. They. were. tough. A good friend kept telling me, “it will get better.”
-hate nursing? it will get better
-baby hardly sleeps at night? it will get better
-feel isolated and lonely? it will get better
-feel depressed? it will get better
-terrified out of your mind? it will get better
-body feels like it’s been hit by a train (and your husband touching you is absolutely out of the question)? it will get better
-heart brakes every time your baby cries? it will get better
-feel overwhelmed? it will get better
And it has.
In week four I fantasized about going back to work.
Now, in week seven, Eve is more alert and less fussy, I feel more rested and more like myself, my confidence in my parenting abilities (though still wavering) has improved, and Eve and I are much, much more bonded and attached. The thought of leaving her to return to work is a difficult one.
In the first weeks if Eve had a “bad day” I freaked out because I was sure she would be colicky for the next three months. Then she’d have a “good day” and I would be sure that she would be perfect from there on out. Not so. I’ve slowly learned that she has phases and to enjoy the good ones and ride out the hard ones.
There’s a scene in My Best Friend’s Wedding where Julia Roberts is feeling like a terrible person because she did something dreadful to hurt her best friend. Someone sits next to her in the hall and says, “My grandma always said, ‘and this too shall pass'”.
Motherhood is such a powerful reminder that every moment is just that- a moment. And that moments together make up a season. No moment lasts forever. No season lasts forever – though sometimes it feels like it does. This life on earth won’t even last forever.
This too shall pass.
I will not say I’ve learned to enjoy every moment- because some moments are are just hard- but I have learned to enjoy the many, many beautiful moments and that the hard moments will pass.
And though I don’t enjoy every moment, I am certainly grateful for this season.
So in gratefulness, and patience, and humility, I will continue to see what this little lady has to teach me.