I know what you're thinking.
You watch all the other moms with their babies and their toddlers. You watch how they respond patiently to every interruption, how they always have just what is needed--Band-Aids, wet wipe, fruit snacks. You listen to the stories: "I just looked into her little face, and the whole world changed."
I know what you're thinking because I've been there. You don't completely understand these women, and you're beginning to be afraid. Maybe you aren't supposed to be a mother; maybe you're missing some genetic component, something that makes the sleepless nights seem worth it. Because, secretly, you're afraid...
I'll whisper it now, so we can both keep the shame to a minimum...
You're afraid that you hate your baby.
I know about this feeling because I've been there. When my firstborn came, I experienced the head-over-heels-swooning. I was crazy for him. When his twin brothers arrived 19 months later? Well, the short version is that it was different.
Now for the good news. You don't hate your baby. No, you don't. You're tired and stressed; your hormones are making you loopy. Change isn't easy, and, sister, times are a-changing. It doesn't matter if this is your first, second, or tenth baby. Each new human in your life is an adjustment, and God made us all blessedly different.
From the first moment I knew my oldest, I knew him. Even six years later, he rarely presents me a mystery. The twins, the ones it took awhile to fall for, they make each day a new adventure. Even at four and a half, I don't feel that I have them figured out, and that gives us the blessing of re-learning each other every day.
There's going to come a day, soon, when this fear goes away. If you think you should, see a doctor about post-partum depression. It's normal, and talking to someone never hurts. Let your spouse, mom, friend, vaguely-polite-mom-at-the-park have a turn at holding the little one. If possible, let someone else feed. If you're feeling really self-indulgent (and can do it), pass off night feedings to the hubs and get a whole night's sleep. It'll work wonders.
While the fear is still with you, take a deep breath. Put one foot in front of the other, one prayer after the next. Change, feed, burp, repeat. Or, as my boss at the mall used to say, "Fake it 'til you make it."
It'll happen. One day you'll notice how sweet his little foot looks, or how her little fingers curl around yours. The little noises he makes in his sleep will make you smile, or she'll smile when she sees you. Or it might just hit you one day as you look over at the little thing that's changed your life. The little things will begin to pile up, and suddenly you'll begin to understand what those mothers mean.
Yes, you will. I promise.
This post is part of a link-up with MotherLetters.com. Check out the website and the other letters written by talented mothers. Also, grab the e-book (Click here to view more details) and read from almost 50 mothers around the world, about the mess and the glory of the journey of mothering.
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