I’ve been a mother now for 40 days, which feels like a significant feat because us religious folk know that a lot can happen in forty days and forty nights. In that short time, my life has completely changed. My priorities have changed. My personality has even changed a bit, all to accommodate this new life I’m responsible for and the new role I’ve stepped into.
Motherhood is a sacrifice.
You sacrifice your body – your body is stretched during pregnancy, broken during labor, and constantly providing nutrition or comfort for newborns. Even if you “snap back,” you’re left with stretch marks and extra skin and soreness in muscles you never realized existed.
You sacrifice your time – I’ve spent countless hours (actually I track it in an app, so upwards of 130) breastfeeding, not to mention time spent changing diapers, singing lullabies, burping, trying to get the baby to smile, or playing the guessing game of “why are you crying?”. Despite how progressive our marriage is, I became angry a few weeks ago when it dawned on me that it was impossible for Jonathan to truly be an equal partner in childrearing and that I’d already lost – and would continue to lose – an insane amount of work productivity hours as a woman who decided to have a child.
You sacrifice your relationships – friendships, especially those with people who don’t have children, can become strained as your time and ability to socialize becomes more limited. Intimacy takes a back seat as there’s not enough energy for lovemaking when you’re waking up every 3 hours in the middle of the night and your hemorrhoids, vaginal dryness, and emotions preoccupy your mind.
Motherhood is humbling.
For a large chunk of my life, I’ve been high achieving. I got pretty good grades, scored well on exams, was a decent athlete, fairly well behaved. I knew that if I worked hard enough at something, that I would succeed. Or at least that’s what I thought before having a child. Because even though I’d taken the classes, read all the books, and had an excellent tutor for the first two weeks, my baby still cries inconsolably sometimes, I worry if I’m feeding him enough, and I fear for the world that he has to grow up in. For what is probably the first time in my adult life, I can’t just work harder to ensure that my baby grows into a wonderful child and a semi-decent human being. A lot of it is out of my control and in the hands of God, which is humbling AF.
Motherhood is also a great blessing.
Every time our son looks into my eyes, my heart melts just a bit more. Jonathan and I are all he knows, all he trusts, and all he cares about. Taking care of a child is a huge responsibility, but the reward is immense. I’ve never believed in love at first sight. It took 3 years of casual friendship before I even saw Jonathan in a romantic light. But the second that my son was pulled from the delivery table and placed in my arms, I fell in love with him. The kind of love that warms my entire body, radiating directly from my heart, and makes my face hurt from smiling. I thank God daily – usually at 4am when we’re up for feed – for granting me the desires of my heart and blessing me with the opportunity to be a mother.