Aug 31, 2015

What I didn't expect (when I was expecting)

It was a warm spring afternoon as I sat across the table from my mother. It was the moment I'd been anticipating for months. I'd been lying; Let's call it, withholding truth. It was a seemingly small truth - just two pink lines. But those two pink lines had already changed my life and my thinking forever, in ways I didn't even know. Those two tiny dashes grew exponentially in my head, and demanded every spare second of my attention. We were pregnant. 

I'd lied for months about little things. "I'm feeling great, mom" and "Nothing too exciting happening over here." I wanted to see her face - her big eyes and broad smile. I wanted to watch the tears well up as she processed the news that she would be a grandmother. This moment. She did not disappoint. Her face filled with joy, awe and tears will forever be etched into my memory. We were pregnant!

She bought me "What to Expect When You're Expecting," and I devoured it on my plane ride home. For the next six months, I wolfed down birth stories and lived and breathed baby blogs. Blogs of mothers with beautiful children, clean homes, and enough time to get dressed up for family photos. I read Dear Son, and Dear Daughter posts often; and anticipation for feeling those feelings grew. 

And growing along with that anticipation, was our to-do list. A room to paint. Pins to pin! Crib to accessorize. Shelves to build. Art to gather. Chic toys to collect. Nursery to complete. Diapers to buy. Clothes to wash and organize. Gifts to register for. Parties to plan. Thank you's to write. Bags to pack. Breathing to practice. Blah, blah, blah.

But none of that prepared me for being a mother. 

No book. No advice - solicited or otherwise. No completed list. No photo-ready back drop. 

What I wish I had known is that the biggest changes going into motherhood should (and would) be internal. That the growth of my heart would far surpass the growth of my belly. And that my views on a 'productive' day were soon to majorly shift. I wish that I would have ignored culture's pressure to 'prepare for a baby' and prepared my heart instead. 

Because in the middle of the night with a crying baby, no perfectly curated set of swaddling blankets are going to make 3 hours of sleep feel any less bleak. Even the cutest baby spoons will still guarantee you'll be scrubbing food off of the walls twice a day. Your choice of diapers may seem important - but at the end of the day, aren't they all full of poop?

Motherhood is deep, and sweet and painful. It's crying when your boobs are engorged - and then crying again a week later because they don't hurt anymore. It's celebrating that first smile, first coo, first sit, first step - and then wishing it never happened in the first place. And a lot of ugly crying in the shower. Motherhood is confusing and emotional and at the end of the day, we all want the same thing: a pat on the back and a slobbery kiss.

It's feeling pride, guilt, love, joy and exhaustion all at the same time

It's your eyes welling with tears, as your baby tells you they are having a baby of their own.

Posted as part of Sarah of Raising Miles' What I didn't Expect series. 

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