Three months ago today was my last day as a non-mom. I didn’t know it at the time, but the next morning I woke up with seizures, had to have an emergency c-section and became a mom eight weeks early. A lot has changed in the past three months – physically, mentally… No, not a lot has changed, everything has changed.
It’s hard to believe it’s been three months; on the one hand it feels like forever, and on the other hand it feels like yesterday. Beyond the incredibly apparently changes in Harley, I’ve seen such changes in myself. So, with her birthday nearly upon us, these are the changes that I’ve seen in myself in the past three months.
I didn’t know it at the time, but I was really sick three months ago. I had crazy pre-eclampsia that developed into full-blown eclampsia. To say I was swollen in a crazy understatement. People I knew who already had kids told me that I should get photos taken while pregnant, that I’d want to look back on how I was. So, I hired a photographer for my baby shower. Those people who said I’d want to look back couldn’t have been more wrong. I don’t like those photos – I look huge and with hindsight I can see how sick I was. But at least now you can see a big difference from then till now; yes, I put on the same dress from that day so that my pics could be as accurate as possible.
I don’t even know how much weight I’ve lost, but I’m also feeling a whole lot better. I feel like I fit in my own skin again; my face looks like me in the mirror and I’m beginning to recognize my body again (although some things are still so different). I haven’t even started on any kind of concerted effort to get back into shape – all of this has just been from breastfeeding and Harley’s innate ability to wake up when I want to eat and her desire for me to walk and bounce her all the time.
Mentally and emotionally changed
I don’t even know where to begin and end with this one. It seems like a daily awakening to this whole motherhood thing. Every day I find a new aspect to experience because every day Harley is with me. There is no getting away from her, not that I really want to (most of the time), and we are getting used to each other more and more each day. I becoming so comfy with her, and enjoying her more every day. I am also slowly getting used to what it means to be a mom, at least to me, and how I want to mother Harley.
Some things have become so normal now – her daily care taking tasks, waking up throughout the night, and always having an eye and an ear out for her to see if she needs me. Being needed around the clock is also becoming part of who I am, and I’m getting used to being on call. It’s actually sort of nice to be up with her in the middle of the night to feed her, it’s nice to have those moments to cuddle and nurse. I’ve learned how to go out with her, to take her shopping or drink coffee while making sure she’s okay. It changes you to be someone’s lifeline, so be their whole world. On the one hand it, it is a huge love-filled honor, and on the other it is an incredibly heavy responsibility. And it’s forever. I think that has had the biggest impact on me – spawning a new human is a huge commitment!
Harley has also taught me that I have a lot more patience than I ever imagined. I can spend hours looking after her and not be frustrated, but just have empathy for her when she cries. I want to keep her happy, to make sure she’s okay, and if that means pacing up and down the house with her, or nursing her for hours, or cleaning up after she vomits up all that milk, then that’s what I have to do. She is my tiny human who requires a ton of attention and patience, and somehow I found all that energy and fortitude – who knew it was in me?
In fact, I’ve learned that I have a whole lot more of me to give than I ever imagined. I can spend all day taking care of her and still find time to care for my husband and myself. I can survive on less sleep than I ever imagined, and still be happy to see the ones I love. I can find a way to balance motherhood, marriage and friendship while still occasionally finding time to shower and even shave my legs. No, it’s not easy, but I’m realizing that I’m stronger and more resilient than I ever thought I would be.
And the same goes for my marriage – having a kid is hard. It’s hard in ways I never imagined, and it puts added pressure on the core relationship. But my marriage is still the core relationship, and Dean and I are still solid, no matter how difficult things get with Harley. I’m amazed at how much I love him, how we find ways to make things work and push past the challenges. He still makes me feel like we can do anything together, which helps me find even more energy to be the kind of wife, mother, daughter and friend that I’m determined to be. The changes of the past three months have made it even more obvious to me that I married the right person.