I spent most of my 20s believing I didn’t want to be a mother. I had zero motherly instincts and never experienced anything resembling baby fever. Then I met Adam and then we got married. And somewhere in the midst of that, I started realizing motherhood was something I wanted to experience.
People often ask us how we knew we were ready to start a family. We didn’t. We just sort of high-fived one day and left it in God’s hands. When I didn’t get pregnant right away, I started to worry. As it turns out, it’s (typically) a lot more difficult to get pregnant than they portray in high school sex education class. But after a few months of trying (and obsessing on my part), I was pregnant.
I was a terrible pregnant woman, which is embarrassing considering how easy I had it. Aside from unrelenting heartburn and minor aches, I had a really easy pregnancy. I never had morning sickness or swelling. I had zero complications and gained minimal weight. I was very grateful to be pregnant but I still complained a lot (which is not my typical personality) and couldn’t wait to not be pregnant anymore.
When it came time to give birth, I had a basic plan worked out in my head for how I expected things to pan out. And then I went the allotted nine days past my due date and well, let’s just say things went absolutely the opposite of how I’d hoped they would go. But you can read that whole story here.
After a particularly frightful night, Emmeline Grace was here and I was smitten. Those motherly instincts that I was convinced I didn’t possess kicked into full gear and I was bonding splendidly with my new baby. I remember one incident in particular where Adam found me holding Emme and silently crying on the sofa. But I wasn’t sad; I was so incredibly happy. Relieved that I was crying tears of joy, Adam made me promise that I would come to him if I started to feel sad. But I can honestly (and surprisingly) say I never experienced baby blues.
Breastfeeding brought about it’s own set of challenges. I was lucky that both Emme and I took to nursing quickly and fairly well. Emme latched immediately and my milk came in a few days after giving birth. I had a minor setback in the third month where I thought our nursing journey was coming to an end. But a quick trip to a lactation specialist had us back on track and beyond having plenty of milk for Emme, I was also able to donate over 200 ounces of breastmilk. We have successfully exclusively breastfed for 12 months and while I’m looking forward to Emme’s weaning and having my body back, I know I’ll miss those special bonding moments.
The biggest adjustment Adam and I had to make was within our marriage. So many things shifted when Emme came into our lives. Not only did we now have a tiny human to keep alive and happy but we had to learn how to make time for our marriage. We shifted from two salaries to one so we had to adjust our finances. And I struggled to balance my roles as wife and mother while still wanting to feel like myself. While I’d like to tell you that we’ve figured out how to balance parenthood and our marriage, I cannot. We have developed a pretty good routine but we still have times where our marriage gets pushed aside and we have to reevaluate our priorities.
Motherhood has taught me so many things, most importantly selflessness and patience. While Emme’s needs always come before my own, I do make a point to make time for myself. In the beginning I knew that in order to keep my sanity I had to make time every day to shower and change my clothes, even if I was just changing from one pair of leggings to another. These days finding time for myself has gotten a little bit easier but I have to be intentional with that time. I have never been one to show a lot of patience but motherhood has taught me that I have more patience than I thought. When I’m dealing with a particularly trying period, I remind myself that everything is temporary. These phases may seem like they’re going to last forever but babies grow and change so quickly. Cherish each moment, even the tough ones.
Each developmental stage brings about a new sense of joy but Emme is now at the age where she’s becoming a lot of fun. Her personality is shining through and every day it feels like she learns how to do something new. She’s still not crawling yet but she rolls herself around and has started pulling herself up. I have a feeling she’s going to skip crawling all together and go straight to walking. She has six teeth and eats anything that we put in front of her, though she prefers things like cheese, bread, and beans most of all. (She is her mother’s child.) She laughs a lot and still sucks the first two fingers on her left hand. And since she still has no hair to speak of, she rarely leaves the house without her trademark bow.
I’m looking forward to the adventures this year will bring for our family. We are in a new city that’s full of places to discover and explore. And I know there will be a lot more “firsts” for Emme in her second year.
Happy Birthday, Emme girl. Thank you for bringing out my full potential. I love you more than tacos, and that’s saying a lot!