When we look at a trip or a journey we tend to look at the beginning and where it started. When I look at this motherhood journey it is tough for me to pinpoint when I first felt worthy of the ‘mama’ title. To be honest with you most days I could easily be convinced I am still 16 years old, but maybe that’s because my parents are still my go-to-gurus for well, just about everything. But I digress, with my first pregnancy I had a hard time getting a good grasp that there was indeed life growing inside me. I felt his kicks, saw my belly swell, saw his button nose on the ultrasound, but fully understand that this baby was growing inside me seemed so foreign.
So for me for so long I viewed the elusive ‘beginning’ as the moment they put him on my chest and I heard my husband say ‘it’s a boy!’ I’m pretty sure my first question was ‘can I nurse him?’ And that moment, I thought, was the beginning.
The next few weeks was quite honestly the hardest, challenging, emotional time of my life. I wish I could say how overcome with love and peace I was (I think that’s how new moms are supposed to feel?) But in reality I was overcome with fear, pain, and sadness. My support system consisted of aunts, cousins, my mom who got it. ‘Cry’ they would tell me, we did! There is such comfort in someone telling you they’ve been there and you’re not crazy. A lot of my sadness centered around breastfeeding, it seemed so natural for everyone around me. For me I felt clumsy and awkward and god did it hurt. Every time it was time to have the baby latch to nurse, I’d squeeze my eyes shut, curl my toes, tense my whole body up and swear for a good 5 minutes (perhaps this is where he learned his colorful language…) So naturally fed up with this routine, I did what any 20-something mom would do. I googled. I googled every type of latch position known to man (well woman) every thing that was ever written about tongue ties, and I googled if my nipples would ever stop feeling like someone was slicing them open. Slowly, the tips and tactics I found actually worked! And so this was actually the beginning. The beginning of ‘mama hood,’ when I was finally able to take my first breath as a new mom and relish every bit of him. For a while the guilt I felt thinking back to those first few weeks was unbearable. My sweet boy deserved better than that. But what I’ve learned over time is that our journeys as moms all look different, heck they even look different within our own pregnancies. So what I say to all new moms is, yes it may be hard, you might cry, but don’t forget someone has been there. I’ve been there. So send me a note I’d love to listen and tell you, yes you are officially a mama.