Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thoughts on Motherhood after One Year

I can clearly remember the moment I fell in love with Eleanor, and it wasn't on the day she was born.  That was probably my first and biggest surprise of motherhood. 
I will admit, I was very selfish on the day she was born.  All I could think about was me and how soon I would be out of pain.  I had not one care for the child that was about to enter the world.  And even moments after her birth all I remember thinking is how I wanted the pain to stop so I could enjoy that time.  It was scary. 
Soon enough the pain did subside and I was able to drink in our new reality, one that included this tiny baby girl and made our little family of two become three.  But even in those next hours, I thought little of our new life.  Instead, it was a blur of shock and probably a little hunger.  A bit of confusion and a whole lot of exhaustion.  We went home, ate our fridge empty, and bundled our tiny baby in our arms and slept. 
This was the beginning of parenthood.

The next day I fell in love.  It was mid-morning and my friends had all left.  I just nursed Eleanor and laid her on my lap and stared at her precious face.  And that was the moment my heart exploded.  I had to hand her over to Alex for fear that I may drop her or shake her out of pure joy and elation.  I was a mom and I was overflowing. 
Now, twelve months later, I often feel that same sense of overwhelming love.  Maybe not as strong, and certainly not as often.  But when I take a moment to slow down and observe Eleanor and the wonderful gift that she is in our lives, I want tear my chest open, or flail to the ground, or do something else equally ridiculous.  It is an all-consuming, uncontrolled kind of love.  Intense and incredible.  And almost painful.  It's the kind of love that let's me know that if anything were to ever happen to Eleanor I would simply die of a broken heart. 
When I am away from Eleanor I feel this constant pull to be back close to her again.  As I drive away, it is like a bungee cord is strapped to my car, restraining me.  And then when I am finally turned around heading back toward Eleanor, I feel the urgent tug forward, pulling me ever closer to her.  Being a mom is incredibly rewarding, but also very difficult work.  Not just physically, but emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

So after a year, here are my thoughts.  I will never again be the same.  I will never get to walk around this earth without always feeling a pull toward this little human being.  It is true the saying by Elizabeth Stone, "Making the decision to have a child - it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." My focus will never be 100% again.  There will always be a part of me distracted by thoughts of Eleanor. 
Love is incredible.  The way it changes us and moves us.  The way it grows.  I cannot believe I can love someone so much as I love Eleanor.  And I already wonder where I will find room to love another child.  I am reassured by so many parents that your heart just grows and your love multiplies.  What a beautiful promise!  And what a representation of the love of God!  Being a mother has helped to shape and grow my faith.  I understand better God's love for us.  I believe God created unique roles like parenthood to help us understand Him best.  He created us in His image.  And so just as He first loved us, we now have the privilege of loving others.  I love loving Eleanor.  It doesn't get better than this!
Oh, and might I add, I am also extremely tired and exhausted.  Mentally fatigued and physically beat.  I am worn out and worn thin.  I leave every day completely wiped.  But then each day is new.  And Eleanor is there to greet me with joy and love.  And I have the ability to do it all over again.  I must say, I am thankful for a baby who likes to sleep.  Without the refreshment of sleep each night, this would be a very crazy world!
Twelve months in, and many, many more to go! I am so grateful for this role and opportunity.  I am incredibly grateful for my little family and for a very supportive network of friends and family.  At the risk of overusing the word: We are so very blessed!

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