I love this picture. I look happily in love and glowing as a new Mom with my almost 3 week old little boy…which is exactly how I want to remember that time.
But what the picture doesn’t tell you is that I was also suffering from my first case of mastitis, uncomfortably squeezed into my pre-pregnancy skinny jeans, deliriously tired, and feeling guilty that my baby was not blissfully sleeping through his newborn shoot but instead screaming (look closely). It’s a good thing we have professionals to take pictures that paint a different story than reality…the one we want to reflect on and remember as the truth.
A friend of mine recently had a baby and jokingly (honestly?) pokes at me for not telling her exactly how hard it would be in those early weeks. Hard doesn’t even come close. Everyone and their aunt Sally will tell you it’s “hard”…but no one can actually explain it in a way you will ever be able to comprehend until you’re living it. But how can you expect them to? I came across this article via another blogger and it really resonated with me. (if you’re a new Mom…or even considering the idea of ever becoming a Mom I suggest you read it…then read it again at some point during those first weeks….and then read it again…) Our minds have this amazing way of working…or maybe it’s just the magic of sleep deprivation…that the early months of new motherhood slowly turn into a fog…and what’s left is a montage of fond memories. We slowly forget…or maybe just gloss over…the bad…and focus solely on the good.
It took me a while to start writing in Jack’s baby book about the early months…because I was terrified of what I might write. In hindsight I wish I had written it down somewhere and kept it for me personally just so when #2 comes around I can reassure myself that I am not crazy and my feelings are totally ok. Even now at 9 months in…and what feels like a lifetime away from those early days…I still feel a small shutter of terror and anxiety with the thought of ever caring for a newborn again. Yes my controlling, change-hating, stress-ball personality may also play a role. The thing about babies is they can teach you a lot about yourself…or more realistically force you to acknowledge things about yourself you stubbornly don’t want to admit.
Even now the fogginess has already begun to set in. The relationship with my son blossoms on a daily basis…and I no longer think of him as an angry blob who only wants my boobs…but instead the funniest, cutest, sweetest, ( and on and on and on…) little redheaded kid I know. Lord help the woman who wants to marry him someday.
It took me a while to accept that life would not go back to normal….THIS…life with Jack…is our “new normal”. Some things will never be the same as they were pre-baby. Seems simple enough…but it was (and continues to be) a hard adjustment to accept. Although I’m getting more comfortable in my roll as a Mom… I may never feel fully confident. But I think that’s ok.
As Jack grows older, and I learn more and more about him and myself…we make our montage of those early days that much more beautiful.
Photos by the wonderful Jylare Smith.