Mamahood Exposed: Lessons In Love


Our children can drive us crazy, but they can also be our saving grace. Here's Megan from Absolute Mommy with her story.

There is something to be said for first love.  The immediate ache in your heart.  When you know you will never feel this way again.  With first love you know that no matter  what happens in your life, this moment, this person, this instant was it for you.  First love, I thought I knew you.  I had no idea.

I fell in love for the first time the day Caitlin was born.  She isn't an only child, but it's that crazy kind of first love. The kind that makes you stay up all night just to make sure she is still breathing.  Love that makes you do and say the most ridiculous things.  Things like of course I'm breastfeeding (I wasn't); no the night waking doesn't bother me (smiling and delusional through exhaustion); and my favorite, of course she sleeps through the night (with me in the same bed of course).  The kind of love that makes you go to three different stores in a panic to find the last Buzz Lightyear in stock.  The Buzz Lightyear that is going to make or break this birthday, which is tomorrow, and you still have 2 dozen cupcakes to bake.  That crazy first love that makes you forget you had a life before.   The kind of love that changes you without your permission.

Four years ago I became Mom, Mommy, or WAHHHH, I answer to all three.  I was caught between scared out of my mind and utterly happy.  Labor hadn't killed me, so the rest had to be smooth sailing.  I was ready to tackle this thing called motherhood.  That natural instinct that is in every woman who becomes a mom.  I had read the books.  I took the childbirth class, and even properly diapered a doll.  I had bought the most expensive breast pump on the market, just in case.  I was ready for that little bloody bundle of joy to be dropped onto my chest... and there she was.  My first love, screaming at the top of her lungs and mad at the world.  It was just the beginning.

Caitlin and I did not enjoy blissful days of early motherhood.  I wanted everything to be perfect.  I tried in vain to breastfeed, over and over again, until I tearfully gave her a bottle.  I started pumping because that's what "good and loving" mothers do, and hated it and resented it every time.  The less Caitlin slept, the less I slept, until it was just one continuous day after another.  I think I held her in my arms for 36 hours straight, because every attempt to lay her down was met with blood curdling screams.  I was a crazy lady in stained sweats and dirty hair.  All because I just wanted to be good.  I just wanted her to love me back.  I just wanted her to know that I was in this for the long haul, better or worse, tired or delusional. 

For months I struggled to make sense of my failing attempt at motherhood.  I loved her, I was giving my 110%, and still I felt like I was just subpar.  I drove myself crazy with trying to be the 'best' instead of just focusing on doing my best.  Through it all, Caitlin could have given a flying fig newton!  She wanted to be in my arms.  She just wanted me to give her a bottle.  She wanted to see my face as she screamed at 2 am.  She just wanted me, very much in the same way, I just wanted her.  For better or worse

How odd that I didn't recognize unconditional love.  I know unconditional love.  You don't grow up an only child and feel unloved.  However they were my parents.  They had the same infatuation and instant love that I now had for Caitlin.  My husband loves me, and I believe unconditionally.  My husband however had a choice.  He chose me.  Caitlin had no choice.  She didn't get to pick whose uterus seemed inhabitable.  If so she could have picked J-Lo or Ann Coulter.  So by the luck of the draw, she picked me, and somehow she loved me regardless.  

The hardest year of my life also turned out to be the best year of my life.  It was the journey and the lesson.  Caitlin was a lesson in love.  Her love validated me as a mother.  I had spent a year hating everything I did, focusing on every failure, but Caitlin's love was constant.  Caitlin still loved me even though I could not breastfeed.  She loved me when I couldn't take the cry it out sleep method.  She loved me even when I no longer believed in or loved myself.  It didn't matter to her whether I was wearing make-up or had taken a shower.  I was her mother, and as long as I held her and fed her, and smiled at her, she loved me.  I had read an article once that said consistency was the key to great parenting.  For Caitlin and I our only constant that first year was love.

Caitlin's love changed me.  It made me realize that no matter my faults, I'm still deserving of love.  I still deserved to be happy and enjoy motherhood.  Caitlin became my reason to smile, to try harder, to love better.  No longer the self centered only child, I was now her mother.  I'm sure I will always be her selfless to a fault, over reactive, still sometimes negative mother.  She started to sleep longer and more peacefully.  I put the breast pump in the back of the closet.  I've decided that being perfect isn't as important as being happy.  So what?   I'm not perfect, she doesn't expect me to be.  Her love is, as it was from the beginning, constant and unwavering.  It's through her love that I rediscovered myself, and the mother I'm supposed to be.  A mother that can relax if we are eating cereal for dinner.  A mom that can ignore the Oreo cookie stains.  A mommy who giggles when she's covered in popsicles kisses.

Caitlin's lessons in love continue.  Now it's a juggle of the "Mommy would you play with me", and the dishes piled in the sink.  It's convincing a four year old that no matter how quickly Mommy loses her temper, it's really not her fault.  It's the tears in my eyes when she tells me "Mommy I'm sorry you yelled at me, I love you".  Yes, she does apologize to me when I lose it from time to time.  It's just another lesson in love, and I'm humbled to be her student.

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5 thoughts:

  1. truly beautiful post. I love this series so much. I love that Moms are willing to admit that they aren't perfect and that motherhood IS hard. and that, in my opinion, makes them even more amazing!

  2. Thanks you for having me today! I really love this series and am honored to be a part of it!

  3. What a beautiful post! And this post makes my baby itch grow more and more! Mom and babes are just too precious and the pic of the two of them looking at each other just about captures the feeling of the whole post!

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