When I found out I was pregnant I had this idea of what it would be like. I envisioned myself as some type of serene fertility goddess. I would have no problems with being pregnant, in fact it would be a breeze for me. Well reality came crashing down on me in the form of EXTREME morning sickness, exhaustion, heartburn, swelling, and later high blood pressure. The last few weeks of my pregnancy I was so huge and uncomfortable that I'm pretty sure any thoughts of the afore mentioned fertility goddess were far from mind. I was just hoping that Sarah would make her grand entrance so I could go back to my pre-pregnancy body. (Another unrealistic fantasy.) Even though my pregnancy didn't go as smoothly or peacefully as I had originally hoped for, I would do it all over again. I wasn't high risk and I didn't have any severe complications. I had just dreamed of my pregnancy being this magic, love-filled experience. On some levels it was, but like I said reality showed me how brutal some of the physical aspects really are.
When we brought Sarah home from the hospital my head was once again filled with these picturesque images of motherhood. An immediate intense love for my daughter, an infant sleeping soundly in her carseat, breastfeeding in the rocking chair, leisurely walks around the neighborhood with the dogs and the stroller. Oh it was going to be so awesome. Ryan and I had agreed that I would be a stay at home mom and how wonderful that sounded! I would get to be with my new daughter every day as she accomplished one milestone after another. Knock Knock Yup here come reality again.
First off I did not feel an immediate love for Sarah. Oh I cared for her, was protective over her, and thought she was cute but I was waiting for this overwhelming rush of maternal love to wash over me. Having never been a mother before I was just waiting on this emotion to hit and when it didn't I was sorely disappointed. I love her more than I thought possible now, but it took me a bit to realize it. And THAT'S OKAY. For a while I felt guilty that I didn't feel more maternal at first. I was convinced that because I couldn't differentiate between her hungry and sleepy cries within the first days that I was failing as a mom. Ryan was so calm and patient and loving towards Sarah that at times it made me feel worse. But now I can tell what all of her noises mean and even when she's fake coughing for attention. It takes some mamas longer than others.
Sarah hated her carseat for the first three months of her life. All of those movies where people are driving their babies around until 2:00 AM so that they will fall asleep. Yeah that was SO not us. We avoided the carseat when we could. Breastfeeding peacefully in a rocker. Nope! There is so much involved in nursing. It's painful at first and getting a good latch is not as easy as it seems. Most babies need a little help and don't automatically know what to do. Then there's all this gear that goes with it too. Creams, nursing pads, boppy pillow, and a LOT of time. Newborns take forever to nurse and it seems like once you finish it's almost time for the next feeding. Needless to say breastfeeding was a disaster for us.
Walks around the neighborhood with baby and dogs in tow? Ha! First off my dogs are not bright enough to realize that the stroller moves also and it WILL hit them if they don't stay out of the way. Two leashes wrapped around stroller wheels cause some interesting near spills. There was no way I could walk the dogs and take Sarah on my own.I had envisioned these walks as something that would help me get my baby weight off. In all actuality they frustrated me so much that we gave them up. When the weather cools down a little we will resume outdoor walks. Just Sarah and I.
Although I may have thought motherhood would be different and easier than it is, I am so glad I have my beautiful daughter. She is the joy of my life now. In the beginning I didn't think I would ever get the hang of being a mom, but I am proud to say I have a handle on things now. Sarah and I have our own little routine at home and we are having more good than bad days. But sometimes when Daddy comes through the door you can bet it's time for some father daughter bonding while Mommy unwinds in a bubble bath or a good book!