In The Moment

The first weeks and months of motherhood are a shock and you really are just trying to keep your head above water. You probably don’t even have time to realize how life-altering your new baby has been. It’s tough, but what I am here to tell you, because I have a 6 month old, and that means that I am now an expert, is that it gets better.

S is a grabber. She is not a quiet observer. Instead of sitting back and watching the wind blow through the tree leaves, she tries to jump out of my arms and swing by the branches while shoving handfuls of leaves in her mouth. She’s a pinch more exhausting than I thought she’d be. She has done a lot of screaming and frustrated crying in her short life. Many times I have figured that I was just a bad mother that couldn’t read cues. More than once, I have felt that this was not the baby I had decided to have. More than once, I wondered if maybe I had made a mistake becoming a parent. Right between 5 and 6 months, S started to get more skilled at navigating her environment. She started sitting up, learning to deal with car rides, “talking” while she plays, and more easily going from sleepy-head to sleeping baby. She also started laughing and smiling about a hundred times more than she was before. I am starting to really like this mom gig.

A wise friend of mine (She has been a mother 6 weeks longer than I. That must be why she is so wise.) recently said that she has given up on many of her pre-baby expectations and is focusing on being in the moment with her daughter. S likes a playmate. She prefers that I am nearby to share her excitement over the Jumperoo and the colorful rattle she is sucking on rather than being over in the kitchen making myself a sandwich. So, I’ve been making a point to be with her in the moment more. Along with her new skills, this has made a difference in my experience of motherhood, too.

There was a turning point in breast feeding for me around 3 months. It was getting a lot less painful, and S’s choking and projectile vomiting episodes were getting less and less common. I’m really enjoying breast feeding now. There has also been a turning point in my overall experience of motherhood lately. The last 6 months haven’t been at all what I thought they’d be. Being a mom has not been anything like I assumed it would be. But lately, I look at S sometimes and say a thousand thank you prayers that I get to be her mommy.

Last night she got up on all fours for the first time while we were hanging out on the bed. I wasn’t trying to fold laundry or pick up the toys and books scattered everywhere. She wasn’t screaming or hating life. She seemed to be so comfortable moving around and reaching for what she wanted. Suddenly, I was tearing up. What a joy it is to see your little kiddo learn new things and be at ease in the world.

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