Today my baby is eleven months old. Where did this year go? And how many hours have we spent exactly like this photo? Our cat Wayne likes to step in as “lactation consultant” any chance he gets. Don’t ask! I wanted to post this photo on here with a few thoughts on motherhood as we get closer to celebrating this girl’s first birthday. And of course, for folks that are just here for the food you can skip this post and I’ll have a recipe later in the week. But today, I want to honor all that this year has meant to me through all the highs and lows.
Motherhood is not at all how I pictured it. The day my daughter was born was one of the scariest days of my life. Of course I loved her, but I had no clue what I was doing or how we were going to navigate this new world together. Everything seemed dangerous, foreign, and I felt out of my league. There’s a lot about motherhood that no one talks about. I think it’s because people don’t want to scare the shit out of you. Sure there’s the obvious- deep love, sleepless nights, messy house, the clichés about not having time to shower, eat or pee (all are true). But these things are told to you in passing, very casual and light hearted. I was completely blindsided the day I became a mom and this past year has tested me in every ounce of my being.
No one told me that that “deep love” is so powerful that’s it’s almost crippling. The thing about love like this is that it’s scary as hell. It shows you how truly fragile you are.
No one ever told me how depleted I would feel. As in, so depleted that I would feel half dead. And what about the anxiety? No one told me how much anxiety comes with keeping a tiny human alive. The anxiety is heavy, it makes you question your sanity which is why it can be hard to trust yourself.
No one told me that once you become a mom so many traumas from your past can be brought to light. And that can be incredibly hard.
No one told me that when your baby starts smiling, laughing and “talking” to themselves that you could pretty much die and go to heaven because you feel like you’ve experienced all that is sweet, real, and innocent in the world.
No one told me that once your baby starts crawling no amount of “baby-proofing” will ever make your house feel safe enough.
No one ever told me that as the months go by, my almost exploding heart would continue to swell.
No one ever told me how scary insomnia is. Like really, really fucking scary. Or that even when you struggle with so many sleepless nights and crave drifting off into a blissful sleep, that those sleepless nights can also be some of the best because it’s in those wee hours of the night when I’m nursing my sweet girl that it feels like we’re the only two people in the world. And I never want that feeling to go away.
No one ever told me that all these complicated emotions that contradict each other can all be true at the same time.
No one ever told me how important infant CPR would be. Or that when you are faced with a health scare that it will scar you. Even if you are one of the lucky ones.
No one ever told me that being a first time mom can feel embarrassing at times and I often find myself apologizing for my ignorance.
No one ever told me that every time my baby meets a new “milestone” that it feels like she’s losing a tiny bit of her innocence.
Or how about the fact that there are billions of mothers in the world and yet you can still feel incredibly alone in your experience.
But the biggest secret of them all, is that no one tells you how incredibly wonderful and freeing it is to have your world flipped upside down in the most magical way. I never realized how caught up in my old self I was until my sweet girl came into this world. She woke me up to reality. She’s the coolest, sweetest, best human I know. She introduced me to a side of myself that has been hiding out for some time. I like this version of me, even if she’s more fragile.
I believe no one tells you any of this because being informed about motherhood doesn’t mean much until you’re in it. Because it’s not until you are in these moments that you were never prepared for, that you have the ability to give in, embrace, and grow.
I don’t know how many hours we’ve spent just like the above photo, and I don’t know how many more are left (I’m taking her lead because I trust her more). So I’ll treasure these fleeting moments because they’ve been some of the best moments of my life.
Happy eleven months sweet Pepper. You are my hero. I love you more sweet girl. xo
Wonderful. This happened to me 40 years ago. Still such precious, staggering memories.
Crying. So ver honest and sweet
I can completely relate to this post, thank you for sharing these very personal but still somehow universal mothering moments, our girl is almost 8 months <3
Cuddle that sweet girl for us. We’re in it together mama. xo
Awwwwwww!! You just made my day!! I am so happy for you!! How sweetly you have articulated the journey that is motherhood. I thought I was just going to check out some new recipes….now I’m crying. We have six grown children, and sometimes I catch myself stunned that those precious days are over for me now. Sometimes the days were long, but the years flew by. I volunteer as a mentor for young moms and it is so encouraging to see a mom who really gets it!! You have given me such a gift today. (…and we used to have a cat who did the same thing!)
Ah! Thank you for taking the time to read this post. xoxo
Beautiful piece! My babies are 35 and very nearly 32 (with an 8 month old of her own) and I can remember all those feelings.
Beautiful! I’m becoming a first-time mom in June and appreciate your candor so very much.
Love this! I felt this way too almost 17 years ago. Thanks for putting it into words.
Wow, that is a thoughtful reflection and I hope some mom’s out there get to read it.
I am so glad you are embracing the journey. It’s a roller coaster as you described. But all this has been made harder because you are lacking the support system that would have been there before the pandemic. Heck, now you can’t even comment to someone on their child or you chance getting your throat ripped out. Mother’s groups, Bible study, parental support popping in has all been hard to grasp.
And you will not believe me but it all goes by so fast. I remember dropping off my youngest at college and I turned to my husband and said, “That went fast.” There were some long days in there, but it was a fast journey. So snuggle and be silly, and play with your little one. Thank you for your beautifully written notes.
You write so beautifully.
All of this is so spot on. I’m the Portland mama of a just-turned-four-year-old. Those first few months broke me; I was depleted at a level that I didn’t even know was possible. I will say, though, that you’re just about to hit the part where it starts to be so much easier. For real. I promise. Hugs from PDX.
Thank you for your comment! The depletion and insomnia almost killed me. For real. I’m with you, it’s unbelievable to feel that half dead. Sending love right back to you and your little toddler!!! Yay to 4 years old and thank you for the encouragement. xo
Couldn’t relate more… especially being introduced to a side of yourself that’s been hiding out for some time. For me it’s been a side of myself that is more present, more playful, more intuitive, and more humble, even as I’m also more exhausted, foggy-headed, and worn down. It’s a beautiful thing, even though it’s crazy hard.
Incredible open, honest, vulnerable post. I love it. Not a mom myself, but when I was in my 20s, a colleague of mine in her early 40s became a mother by (somewhat?) accident. I’ll never forget her comment that “I’ll never know what I am missing” and of course that’s true. Not regretting my decision to remain childless but so happy for you both. What an adventure!