When I was a kid, I wish I’d listened more to what my family members had to say regarding children and parenting. I remember my grandma telling me about how I just “grew up so fast” and that I’d never really understand what it’s like to watch a child grow up until I had children of my own. I chalked this up to just “grandma being grandma” – you know, one of those things that goes in one ear and out the other and you don’t pay much mind to it – but she was right. Tomorrow will be my daughter’s six month birthday and I can’t believe how fast these past few months have come and gone.
It’s hard to believe that just over six months ago, my due date (January 18) had come and gone and I was still as big as a whale, anxiously awaiting the arrival of my firstborn. I remember when the day to induce finally came around. I spent my time alternating between cleaning, getting my bag packed, cleaning, and trying not to freak out. (I’m pretty sure that’s also the day that I figured out that my maternity leave was all sorts of screwed up and I had no idea when I’d have an income again, but that’s a story for another day.)
I remember walking into the hospital and checking in at the nurse’s station, being escorted into a room where my induction would take place, answering about a million questions, and then patiently waiting for the doctor to come in and start the whole process. I remember the anxiety, the boredom, the excitement, the terror, the happiness, the pain, and the relief of knowing the long pregnancy was about to be over. I pretended to be calm. I was ready to meet the little girl that had been growing inside me for the past several months and I was ready for my pregnancy to be over with; on the other hand, I was completely unprepared for what was to come. I was not ready to be someone’s mom, but when you think about it, who really is until it happens?
I still think a lot about R’s birth. I remember that final push and the doctor between my legs telling me to reach down and grab her, to pull her up to my chest; I remember the way she felt, the way she smelled, the way she laid in the middle of my chest for the first time, so still and calm and quiet. Surprisingly, I was also still and calm and quiet, and during those first few moments that she was on my chest, all I could think was, “It’s over. She’s here.” There’s nothing more surreal than meeting your baby for the first time.
She was perfect. Eight pounds and eight ounces of pure perfection. I was happy, exhausted, relieved; my time as “being Mommy” had officially begun.
The first few weeks were sort of a blur, as I’m sure it is for any parent the first time they bring a new baby home from the hospital. For a short time, I will admit, I was miserable – sleep deprivation will do that to you. I felt like a bad mom because there were times where I resented my situation. I don’t really know who I was mad at – maybe my boyfriend, maybe myself, maybe even the baby – and it took me a long time for those feelings to pass. Then, when they did, I found myself going back to work and hating myself for leaving her in the care of someone other than me. Postpartum hormones really do a number on your mind sometimes.
In a way, it’s been a very long six months, and yet it’s gone by way too fast. She’s getting bigger and smarter everyday. She’s learning new things all the time. I’ve realized recently that sometimes, I need to just take a step back and enjoy her now, just live in the moment, because she’s not going to be this little forever. There will come a day when I’ll look back and wish that I’d appreciated the time a little bit more.