Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Motherhood Surprised Me

I'm over two months into this journey and yet each and every day is different and still surprising.  It's easy to imagine what you think it might be like before the baby arrives, but real motherhood has been nothing what I dreamed. 

I thought I would love chidbirth.

No truly, I really thought I would.  I was so excited to go into labor.  I poured over birth stories.  I couldn't wait to experience it all for myself.  By the time labor really came on, however, I was done.  Spent.  I wanted nothing to do with it at all.

I thought I would be tired all.the.time. Not!  
I can't recall a single day that I have felt overly exhausted.  And only on two or three occasions I napped during the day.  And that's not because amnesia has set in from being so tired.  No, I really feel awake and refreshed each day.  Now given I have a pretty good sleeper on my hands.  At just a little over a month old she decided to start sleeping for 6-hour stretches.  Those stretches are wonderful.  Of course now we have gotten her into a bed time routine and she goes down at 8pm and I don't follow until 10 or 11.  So I don't ever get 6-hour stretches of sleep, and yet I still feel well rested.  I don't say this to brag.  It's just true.  And I am ever-so-thankful for it!

Alex isn't an afterthought. 
Yes it is true.  Having a baby really does change everything.  My marriage relationship is different.  But not bad different.  I expected to feel so worn out at the end of the day.  I thought I wouldn't have energy left for Alex.  I expected to fight more and disagree.  Turns out we are quite the team.  He may feel differently (but I don't think so).  At the end of an exhausting day, I need him more than ever.  I lean on him for support and comfort.  We help each other out.  If I've started laundry, he doesn't mind finishing.  If he has cooked dinner, I have no problem cleaning up.  It's actually not difficult at all to want to help him.  I crave a joyful family and being loving, respectful and helpful is the only way I can see to get there.  It's not that I haven't made mistakes or lost my cool.  Just not nearly as frequently as I expected.  Being a mom has really brought out my patience that was hiding deep within. 

On that note: I really expected to experience Post-partum Depression.
I was fully prepared for the mommy blues, complete with placenta pills and accountability partners and all.  Given my history with depression I expected I would feel down after the baby came.  I thought I would be frustrated, anxious, depressed.  While I did feel some anxiety, usually just related to whether or not I would get enough sleep (I always did), I actually felt more happy and joyful than I ever have in my life.  I know this post-partum time is different for all women.  I am just thankful it didn't get bad.  I do feel it is important for all moms to be prepared for the worse however.  I hardly took any of the placenta pills. Instead I stashed them away in the freezer for my next pregnancy (if ever!).  But they are shown to help with post-partum emotions, helping to balance out the hormones.  Additionally, some of my friends and my husband were all aware of my concerns.  I imagine it would be easy to go into denial about feeling depressed because of the stigma surrounding PPD.  I wanted to make sure that even if I was trying to hide it, those that love me would hold me accountable so I would have to seek help if needed. 

I am still me.
Seriously.  I mean who else did I expect to be?  But the first time I went out for a run, or ran to the store by myself, it dawned on me that I am still me.  Not just Eleanor's mommy.  I also still look like me, even fitting into my old jeans just one week after delivery.  I fully expected to carry around a big belly for months after delivery.  Again, I'm not trying to brag here, but just stating a fact.  I felt more confident in those first few weeks after childbirth than I ever have in my entire life.  I probably would have strapped on a bikini if it weren't the beginning of November.  If I knew how quickly I would bounce back to my old self, I might not have hated pregnancy near as much!  My appetite quickly returned.  I can even stand the thought of sweet potatoes again, and eat them frequently.  Yup, under all that pregnancy weight, I was still there.  Existing.  Waiting to return once Eleanor joined the world.  It's nice to be back!

Motherhood continues to surprise me each and every day.  It is quite an interesting journey we are on!  If you are a mom, what surprises did you find in motherhood?  If you are not a mom, but want to be someday, what expectations do you hold?

Lately I notice myself hyper-analyzing many of the things I say and do.  I question if these opinions and actions are things I believe to be truth, or do I just say or do them because they are cliched truths in our society.  For example, do I tell expecting moms to sleep while they can because once the baby gets here you'll never sleep again!?  Obviously that is not true for my own life.  But society touts this as truth all the time.  My expectations of motherhood are vastly different than my reality.  I wonder if what I say reflects that truth as well. 


  1. I was also surprised by the quick disappearance of my belly (but I kind of missed it...). I was also surprised at how well-rested I was! People definitely told me I would never sleep again, which wasn't true!

    Haha, but now I'm completely exhausted always. Most of my mom friends are pretty well-rested. I am starting to think I'm just a little more of a whiner :-).

    1. LOL! I never missed the belly! Good Riddance!

  2. I love this! I am definitely really curious to see motherhood goes for me, but I think it's refreshing to hear more of a positive outcome when a lot of the time you hear sort of the negative side from new parents. Glad everything is going so well Tanya!

    1. You are going to be such a wonderful mom! There is so much good, it clearly outweighs any bad. All babies are different and I have been blessed with a really good baby. I know everyone's experience is going to be different but I have loved every minute so far!