Hit me harder than I expected them to. All my life my one desire was to create a family and here was my family, little, fragile, and needy. It wasn’t all I expected. My little angel came a month early and ended up with jaundice that took us back to the hospital, she didn’t latch well for the first few months so feeding her (a thing that I dreamed would be a breeze) was a struggle each time, also, she was so small that I worried when I held her. I know that smaller babies are born, but this was my first, and it’s so different when the child is your own, let me tell you.
(After I published this, and after the kids finally stopped fighting and went to sleep, I had time to think of some questions I had about what I wrote, and about some things I wanted to add. All changes and additions are in italics.)
Something unexpected happened, inside me. There were times that I felt like she was very needy, so very needy and I just wanted to set her car seat down (something she hated being in) and walk away for a while. Not the forever while, but the “while” like I just want to do what I want for a while without being constantly needed. I found myself struggling with how I could love someone so much and yet sometimes I just wanted to have fun, like at family functions without feeling overwhelmed and frustrated by this little person who I had thought would only make my life better, this little person that I expected to be oh-so-easy to care for but was not easy. Honestly, I resented her sometimes. And it wasn’t her fault. She was just being her, a helpless infant. And me? I was just being me, a 29 year old woman who suddenly realized how selfish she had become over those 29 years. Oh so much growing needed on my end.
(My beloved with our new, tiny baby. And. Tiny baby.)
Then, you know what I felt? Guilty. Very guilty. How could I resent her? How could I want freedom from her? Now, as a mother of 4, I laugh at how overwhelmed I was with one child, and I am thankful, so very thankful, that we had that first little girl, the first one that showed me how much I thought about my convenience and catering to myself. (Edit) The struggles with being her mom got easier as time went by, and as things like feeding her got easier. I think a big thing with her was that she had such a hard time eating, oh, and the whole new mom thing. I didn’t know really what I was doing.
I held on to the guilt, even after we had child number 2, who really was a demanding little guy, from the beginning. Then I found myself thinking a) why did we start over with another baby when we just got the hang of #1, b) how can one child be so needy? (He was/still is a mamma’s boy, pretty much most of the time.) c) why oh why???? and d) if I could just get a break from him, I could handle life with his older sister. I was so, so, so stressed. I was over whelmed.
Two things happened in the two years after that. Unsolicited, another Mom friend shared the struggle she had with one of her kids, feeling resentful and indifferent for a while, but later being so in love with that child. (Something I could relate to with the neediness of child number two, the kid that only liked me and sometimes daddy, the one who screamed and cried when I left him, the kid who did not sleep through the night and had night terrors or something many nights a week. That kid. He is so worth every day yet at the same time was a huge struggle for me as a mom until recently since I didn’t know what to do, how to sooth him, how to understand him. I’m still learning but he makes more sense to me now, and we are working on his responses to things he doesn’t like or understand.) Secondly, I found out we were expecting our third child (surprise!!!) and I was surprised to feel so excited. I was so stressed by child #2, so tired and yet the news of child #3 being on the way made both my husband and I very happy.
(Child #1 and Child #2)
And you know what, even though I felt like I had more than I could handle with two kids, having our third kid actually made life easier. Our second child is a bit challenging (late to talk, prone to strong emotions) so I didn’t know that life could get easier with 3, as two seemed so overwhelming. And four? Well, that was a piece of cake. (ah ha ha…well, not nearly as stressful as adding child #1 and #2)
Having our 3rd child helped me a lot by not allowing me to cater to our son as much since I just couldn’t. I was tired more, actually needed to feed her so I couldn’t always hold him or do what he wanted. He had to learn to cry through sometimes. I had to learn that I couldn’t always solve everything for him.
In conclusion, I share this to let new moms, and maybe some old moms, know that these feelings I have described are somewhat common, and it’s okay if you go through this. Don’t let yourself get wrapped up in the guilt or the resentment. Ask for help. Sometimes just talking about this with a trusted person can help you work through it. Hearing my friend share about her experience and how she came through it sure helped me. And, it gets easier. And it gets better. Hold out hope for each day, lay the last day at the feet of our Father, pray for strength and grace for the next day. He promises to to go before us to prepare a way, He also talks about being our rear-guard. The Lord not only goes ahead, but he is covering us, so we can walk with faith and hope. I had a vision of a large family (larger than average) and I knew that vision was larger than my fears, my failures, my guilt and my selfishness. Even tonight when the 3 oldest did not want to go to sleep so they kept fighting and playing instead of going right to bed, even this night, shows me that I was right to hold on to this dream. And, it’s awesome.
(Child #4 was home taking a nap with Daddy this day. Child 1, 2, 3 on a walk with me.)