Monday, February 9, 2015

Finding the "Me" in Mommy

My son is almost two months old. He was born in December (on our wedding anniversary!), and we were not able to publicly celebrate until we got through some legal proceedings last week. For the last two months I've tried to write blogs and post on social media like my life hasn't been completely upended in the most amazing yet overwhelming way.  After 5½ years of trying to have a child he has arrived, and just like that I'm somebody's mom.

We got the call a few weeks before he was born, and we were cautious. Last year we were linked with a birth mom who changed her mind. I refused to let myself believe that he was actually coming. People we told would ask me if I was excited. If I'm being honest I really wasn't. My overriding emotion was fear. I was terrified. 

On the day he was born I felt my heart beating erratically as we drove to the hospital. All of the "what ifs" were taking over. I was worried that our birth mom would change her mind. I was worried that the baby wouldn't be healthy. I was worried about 1,000 things. That all changed when the nurse walked into our room with a 2-minute old baby boy. I fell in love instantly, and our life changed forever.

Anxious in the hospital.
The first few weeks were honestly a blur. He was born right before the holidays, and we had a revolving door of visitors during that time. Then it was Christmas, and then my parents came to visit. It was after the first of the year when life started to come back into focus. I assumed that not giving birth would mean I'd have tons of time to work out, read books. I had a whole plan for how relaxing and awesome maternity leave would be. I'm an idiot.

Taking the ErgoBaby for a spin on a warm December day.

In the first month of Will's life I ran maybe twice. The sleep deprivation is legit. I'm not the kind of person who can sleep while the baby is sleeping, and I use that time to hone my Type A tendencies by organizing, cleaning, and making sure everything is perfect. You know...things that are very important when one has a child. We had friends over when the baby was a few weeks old, and I felt it very critical to have appetizers ready. My parents showed up on New Years Day, and I had prepared an entire turkey dinner. It is not easy to be Super Mom, and I may kill myself trying.

After a few weeks of trying to be perfect I realized that wasn't sustainable. I also realized that in order to be a good mom, I had to find time to recharge. The sleeplessness is so pervasive I found myself being temperamental and grouchy...not with the baby but my dogs and husband bear the brunt of it. I found that it was important to take the dogs for a walk when my husband gets home. It's important to find time to go for a run or meet my girlfriends for lunch. Even with my son being only eight weeks old I quickly it's important for me to hang onto me. It's important to retain the "me" in Mommy.

Small fry's first professional photos
I ran my first post baby race a few weeks ago, and it was challenging to force myself to get up when sleep is so precious. I have been doing yoga and cross training DVDs while the baby sleeps in the swing next to me. I sometimes don't get through the entire workout, but I am a happier person for what I can finish. I enjoy having a glass of wine at night. I am so tired that sometimes I can't even drink the entire glass, but it feels like a grown up thing to do to at least carry it around. 

I'm registered for a half marathon in six weeks and a 25k in May. I ran 4.5 miles last weekend, and I struggled to get through it. Continuing to run while parenting a newborn is hard. Forcing myself to get up at 3 am to feed the baby and again at 5:30 to get ready for work is hard. But anything worth doing is hard. Remember: the hard is what makes it great.

Post workout snuggles.

We are at the very beginning of this crazy journey that is parenthood. I've had a few moments of total meltdown, but they are forgotten in the moments of pure joy. Yesterday the baby laughed for the first time, and my husband and I laughed along with him with tears in our eyes. He was totally forgiven for the fussy hour that preceded that laughter. There are times where I'm rushing to get everything done, or I'm eating standing at the kitchen counter in a rush. I know this is just the beginning many rushed/crazy/insanely wonderful moments. I no longer come first, and I'm thrilled about that. I do know, however, that I'll be a better mom if I have moments to regroup. I'm lucky to have a great partner to help navigate the insanity.

It's 3 am. Do you know where your baby is?
After five and a half years of waiting to have a baby, it's everything I thought it would be and more. The exhaustion, the stress, the "what the f*ck am I doing?" moments are all trying. Then I find myself starring at him at 2 in the morning marveling at the fact that I get to be his mom. My best friend used to tell me that in the scheme of life the waiting was small, but it felt so huge at the time. I will never forget the heart wrenching years that led me here, and I don't want to. They all come together to help me appreciate this time in a way I don't think I would have otherwise. Welcome to the world, little one. Thanks for choosing us as your parents.