Here is the latest installment in the STAGES series. I know you’ll enjoy this one by Tori Ten Hagen who is an EPFH contributor. Get to know a little about Tori here. You can find more of her stories over at her personal blog.
Multiple times since Owen was born I’ve gone back and looked at all of the pictures from his birthday. Walking laps at the hospital, laboring in the labor and delivery room, seeing his face for the first time. So many memories. One of the first pictures taken on that day was this one.
Every time I look back at that picture I think, “I just thought it hurt then…”
I thought those contractions that started at 4 in the morning hurt. Then when they got worse at 8am and we went to the hospital, I thought they were bad. Then at 11am as I walked the halls trying to progress labor further along I thought they couldn’t get worse. You get the point. The contractions didn’t get easier. They only got worse. 4am Tori, had no idea what was really coming.
Then, we got to bring our bundle of joy home. In pain, exhausted and without the rule book on what to do next everything seemed monumental and overwhelming. Post-partum hormones had me an emotional mess. We had a newborn and sleep was no longer happening in 8-hour stretches. I was nursing every 2-3 hours around the clock. I couldn’t just get up and go shop around Target whenever I wanted. I was embarrassed to admit it, and still kind of am, but I struggled with feeling a complete loss of freedom. Life had to be planned around nursing and naps. I couldn’t just think about myself anymore. I had another precious life to take care of. “Me” was no longer the most important thing. I cried to my husband and mom multiple times in those first few months…this is hard.
Now I look back at all of that and see my zombie hormone-crazy self and think, “I just thought it was hard then…”
See, being a mommy hasn’t gotten any easier. The post-partum hormones have packed their bags [thank goodness!] and I’ve found my mommy routine a little easier, but this mom gig is hard. The hard things about being a mommy have changed, even over 9 months. Some things have gotten much easier and some aren’t even struggles anymore. But as those melt away new struggles and new mommy learning curves appear right on cue.
Now, before you go thinking I’m a terrible, pessimistic, cranky mom let me explain…
I also look back at the first day I held Owen in my arms. I look back at those pictures and remember the feelings I felt on that day. It was love so deep and so strong that I didn’t think more love for my son was possible. The first night we had Owen I honestly slept about 30 minutes, and not because Owen wasn’t sleeping. I sat in our hospital room and held my sleeping son and I just couldn’t make myself sleep. I didn’t want to put him down. I tried laying him down once or twice but it lasted all of a few minutes before I picked him up again. I didn’t want to stop staring at him. I couldn’t have been more in love with my son.
I have woken up each morning since Owen’s birthday and I have gone to sleep each night and somehow managed to love my boy more. Don’t ask me how it is possible but it is. Somehow I think even after he’s off at college and one-day married and having his own kids, I’ll still be loving him more and more.
Being a mom has been and will continue to be one of the hardest things I will do. Being a mom takes up most, if not all, of my brain power on most days. When I took on the role of mommy a lot of hard and a lot of hurt came with it. And now as an adult looking back at my childhood and the things my parents put up with and went through for us kids, I know that the hard times and the hurt of parenting doesn’t really go away. Parenting is filled with hard life stuff. It is filled with snotty noses, poopy diapers and spilled milk. It is filled with toddler tantrums and teenage hormones. It involves kissing scraped knees and helping heal broken hearts. Being a mom isn’t easy and I don’t think it’s getting any easier.
But that is okay… because I love my boy more than that stuff. I will wipe snotty noses. [Seriously, I’m writing this after a day and a half with no shower and my son’s snot on my t-shirt] I will prepare myself for the tantrums to come and the teenage meltdowns in my future. I will do all of the hard stuff that comes with being Owen’s mom because I love him too much not to. When I get in bed at night exhausted beyond belief and look over at the baby monitor and see my boy sleeping I don’t remember the hard of that day. My heart aches with love for my son. Some nights I feel like that same Tori sitting in the hospital room holding her son for the first time, and all I want to do is go get him from his crib and rock him while he sleeps.
The hurt is real. The hard stuff is real. But gosh the love…the love is so real. The love doesn’t make the hard go away but it makes it worth it. The love doesn’t make the pains of being a parent hurt less but it makes them worth it.
When Owen is grown and has kids of his own I’ll look back at these years of raising my boy and I’m pretty sure the love will outweigh all the hard. I’m sure I’ll willingly tell him about all of the times he was a toot of a toddler and a punk of a teenager. I’ll tell him about all of the times he made me want to pull my hair out and nearly gave me a heart attack. But after all of that I’ll tell him I love him and I always will…
Other posts in the Stages series:
Stages – Introduction