During Jamie & Celia's maternity leave we asked a few of our favorite moms from around the internet if they would help fill the space with their wisdom. We asked for their thoughts on being a new mom, motherhood in general, or maybe something that really suprised them (no one told me that!). Please welcome Marie-Ève!
Things that surprised me about motherhood.
The amazing effect seeing their little faces has on my morale, even when tired; it's crazy how just that is often enough to keep me going.
How simultaneously hard and rewarding breastfeeding is. How you sometimes can't wait for it to be over, but then also can't bear to stop.
How however long maternity leave is (I'm blessed with one year), it really goes by too quickly.
How, despite being terrified of childbirth and sure that I would want the epidural as soon as the first contraction came, I was able to go through it naturally twice.
How even though becoming a mother instantly became a huge part of my life, I didn't stop caring about other things as well, about everything else that interested me before. I realized that pursuing these things and still taking care of myself actually made me a better mother.
How babies are already full of the personalities they will end up having... How they naturally take their place within the family, by just being there and being themselves.
How you can survive on interrupted sleep, for years.
How so much communication is possible even without language.
How our life never went back to "normal". At the beginning we were waiting for a return to the way it used to be, then we understood that it wasn't happening. A "new normal" was taking place, instead. And we were better for it.
How I shouldn't take their routine and patterns for granted. As soon as I thought I was having it down, they would throw me out for a loop, by not getting down for a nap anymore, or suddenly wanting to nurse much earlier. Same with their behavior or reaction to certain situations; despite fearing that both kids would explode during a long flight, they slept and did well. Only to send us into complete disaster mode later when we least expected it, during familiar, trivial activities like taking a walk or shopping for groceries.
How I should never be afraid to try things that send us out of our comfort zone, and push the limits a little. In retrospect, it has always gone smoother than I could ever expect.
How when it comes to my kids I naturally become assertive, insistent, relentless, a force to be reckoned with, which I had never been before.
How clearly they suddenly made my priorities appear, even with things that are unrelated to them.
How your heart simply grows to welcome a second child, and you really can love the both of them as strongly, even if before I didn't how how this was possible. Similarly, how seeing my husband as a dad is sometimes making me ache in love and yes, even lust, for him.
How it's never possible to be a perfect parent, how sometimes you go to bed at night with your heart heavy, full of guilt and regret. But how it is also miraculous that the next day, and every day, you always get a chance to do over and get it right.
How, despite what we had thought, a second child does not feel any "less special". It is different, and seems to go by quicker, but we find ourselves taking just as many pictures, and being just as attentive and rejoiced by all of her little milestones and developmental progress.
How truly easier the second time is, probably because we are more relaxed (perhaps too much so sometimes -I've even occasionally forgotten the diaper bag at home!)
How immensely addictive is the smell, tiny limbs, little sounds, and furtive happy glances of new babies.