Monday, July 15, 2013

becoming a mother.

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sigh. it's about to get somewhat deep here. i decided if i have time to change my blog layout around then i probably have time to write a few thoughts down.

it's the hardest thing i have ever done in my entire life. becoming a mother. don't get me wrong, i knew it was going to be incredibly hard. i believed everyone. i didn't go into this with some naive attitude. it's why sean and i didn't immediately jump on the baby band wagon when we first got married. we had a plan and we wanted to make sure that financially we were ready to have children. we started a separate savings account to pay for a baby when the time came. we got sean through school, we paid off all car loans, credit card debts, student loans, and any other debts besides our home. we paid down our mortgage and got our interest rate as low as possible so that we could make it as easy as possible to live off of one income. we were ready. at least financially. we still knew that it was going to be hard. we knew there would be lots of sleepless nights. we knew there would be puke, and poop, and pee, and fits, and all that crap people like to remind you of when you are sick of being pregnant.

so anyway,  i finally got pregnant after what seemed like a long time of trying. and i didn't love being pregnant. i just wanted ben to come because i wanted to feel like myself again. little did i know that when he came, i would never feel like myself again. the night ben was born was the most painful, but beautiful night of my life. and i realize now that was the last night that i felt like i knew who i was. or so i thought.

life with ben has not been easy. i will not lie. i don't know if something is wrong with me, but i can honestly say that i have not enjoyed every minute of it. and then admitting that has made me feel incredibly guilty. i know how lucky i am to be a mother. i love ben so incredibly much that it hurts my bones. but it has been the hardest thing that i have ever done. i have been through some pretty awful things. things that i thought i would never ever come out on top of. things that i have not even talked about before to my closest friends and family before. but this by far has been the hardest.

i don't know who i am anymore. it's an interesting feeling. because to be honest, i didn't think that i knew who i was before this. i don't know if i will ever know who i am. but my son ben has taught me so much in his short 5 months here. he has struggled with quite a few things in his life so far. it hasn't been easy for any of us. those moments of snuggles and smiles and kisses and all that jazz that all these people rave about have been very rare for us. but when they do happen? i start to feel like i know who i am. i start to feel like me again. i have never been more sad and more happy in my entire life.

i realize now why i don't know who i am anymore. the day ben was born i gave my entire heart to him and sean. my little family. which brought on lots of anxiety. and lots of worry. lots of tears. way too many tears. i didn't realize how selfish i was before having him. and not that i am some perfect person now. because if anything, becoming a mother to ben has made me lose any self confidence that i had before. i have never felt like more of a failure in my entire life. i know it is sad to admit that. but hear me out.

i was trying to explain this to sean the other night. i went from working full time since i was 16 years old to this. i used to get validation by getting that paycheck every two weeks. it's what got me through the days in a sense. i used to get satisfaction in hearing from a boss, "what a job well done!" now i don't get to clock out and go home for the weekend. i don't get to collect that paycheck at the end of the week. i don't get that pat on the back from my boss (ben) telling me that i am doing a good job.

instead i am left in tears because my son projectile pukes on me over 60 times a day on a good day. he kicks his legs and scratches me and screams in fits because he is hurting inside and i can't fix it. i can't clock out at the end of the day and go home and forget the bad days. i don't get that bonus at the end of the month for working my ass off.

i am stuck here trying to help my son in anyway possible. i have done research upon research. i have gone to doctors upon doctors. i am determined to somehow get that pat on the back from my son when he finally realizes that i have done a good job. i can't give up.

but then i remember that was the old me. the selfish me. i don't need that to feel good about myself. i am not missing anything like i thought i was. i have everything i ever wanted. i am so blessed beyond measure. i have complained way too much about how hard this has been. when deep down i know it could have been harder.

at first i was angry with god. why did he send me such a challenging baby? he had to have known that i couldn't handle it. but deep down i know he wouldn't send me something i couldn't handle. ben is not a challenge. he is a gift and a lesson that was sent to me. sent to me to teach me how to give more than just my heart to him. he already has that. and maybe that is why it hurts so much.

i now understand why it hurt my parents so much to see me sad. i didn't understand that before, even if i thought i did. ben is only 5 months old and i am terrified for the rest of our lives. how am i going to handle the harder stuff?

but then i have to stop. i have to think about all the incredible, amazing things that are going to happen. like watching ben take his first steps. seeing him ride a bike for the first time. watching him hit his first baseball and go to his first school dance. and that kind of stuff hurts my heart. in the good way. in the way that makes this all worth it.

i know these days of puking and crying will pass. people like to remind me of that, and i already know it. what people don't often know is that i have and am struggling with finding myself again. it's not always about how hard ben is. it's those hormones, and the post partum depression. if there is anything i have learned from becoming a mother, it's that every baby, mom, and situation is different. and i can't compare mine to others. some people could handle a situation like this better than me. i already know that. some people get easy, calm babies that sleep through the night the day they are born. some people get babies that never cry unless they are hungry. i struggle to get my baby to eat period. and it frustrates me. and i get down on myself a lot about it. i am afraid to let people watch my baby. not because i am afraid to be away from him for one second. it's because i am afraid for some stupid reason that they will see how upset he is and it will reflect poorly on me as a mother. and i know that is ridiculous. who is putting these thoughts into my head?

a lot of times i just have to tell people i am doing great and it was a good day. when the truth is i cried on the floor for while holding onto my dog for an hour while ben was napping. but really, for the most part, most people know this hasn't been easy for me.

but i wouldn't change it for anything. as hard as it has been, and for how hard i know it is still going to be? it is still the most amazing thing that has happened to me. i know i will get through this and become stronger. so many people have helped me get through this. and i know i am not alone even though i feel it often. i love my little family so much. my husband is my best friend. i love him more than he will ever understand. we are different, and we do argue sometimes. but somehow we work. and we have worked hard to have the kind of marriage that we have. and it still needs work some days but the great thing about that is we are still learning so much from each other everyday. i love my sweet dog moses. he has helped save me and helped me heal in so many ways. and my son is so special. he was sent to me for a reason. he already has my heart. and that is why it hurts. it hurts in a good way. i just didn't understand what that meant until he came.

so yes. i complain. yes, this has been hard. yes, this has been no secret to anyone. i don't know who i am anymore, yes. that is true. but i am not sure if i liked who i was before this anyway. my son has given me a chance to change that. it's almost like the day he was born, i was given a second chance. this whole time i have been living in fear of letting him down. because i haven't gotten that validation from him that i am doing a good job. but i think that is part of this whole journey. learning to accept those things that we can't control. to stop looking for that validation that a 5 month old isn't capable of giving. i am learning to accept that. ben just needs me to love him. and i can promise you i will never let him down on that.
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