Becoming a mother is the hardest thing I've ever done. (And dang... I'm only coming from like 5 months experience. Yikes!) I remember people stating before I got married, "Marriage is the toughest thing you'll go through." And duh, there are times we wanna pull our hair out because we drive each other so nuts. But I have to say, I guess I lucked out in marriage. We enjoy each other and try to work through things graciously. So marriage hasn't been the "toughest" thing to me. **Shout out to Eric DeLong for being patient, strong, and steadfast.**
One of my biggest fears before having Elliott was that I wouldn't feel maternal. I never super, duper loved other kids (I mean there were the select few I cherished, but I was never a "kid person".) I wanted to have fun with them maybe, but I never experienced that deep seeded urge to care for kids. Meagan DeLong does not "take care of things". I've never had a servant's heart, or for that matter, humility. Definitely a bummer to not possess these traits but I got by.
So yes, greatest fear = not being maternal for my baby. Fast forward....... baby is finally here after hardest-physical-thing I've ever done (won't get into that).... and I have to be honest, my fear rang true.
I hate even thinking, let alone stating my fear was a true thing because I want so badly to put to rest others' possible fear of this. But maternal instincts and behavior is something I’m learning and adapting to instead of inheriting naturally. I gotta say, it’s a bummer, but it’s okay. I think in motherhood, other women set other women up for some successes, but a lot of the time, for “failure”. Well, more so, wrong expectations. Women will say, “Oh, don’t worry, your instincts will just kick in!” So I’m over here after giving birth, sitting tore up, tired, thinking this magical switch was going to flick on and I’d go into “mommy mode”…. just takin’ care of biznass. But reality = me sitting there tore up, tired, thinking “I’m not cut out for this.” Two wildly, different scenarios there. I was prepared for the first, not the latter. I was not ready/didn’t think I’d have to face my fear smack dab in the face: I’M NOT MATERNAL.
Despite utter chaos at the beginning of Elliott’s life, the first 6-8 weeks is now such a blur. However, what I do remember are all the tears. So much inner trembling that shook me to the core. I was so scared. I was so stressed. And almost every day I felt like I could not do this “mom thing”. I had sooooo many convos with Eric, endless texts to my mom and sister, and also to other mommy friends; I just didn’t want to feel alone. But I felt so isolated.
I want to PAUSE here:
THIS IS THE TIME THAT IS MOST IMPORTANT TO NOT FEEL ISOLATED. BECOMING A MOM IS SUCH A NEW THING. SOMETHING THAT CAN’T COMARE TO ANYTHING ELSE. AND WE NEED OTHERS. SO WHAT I WANT TO SAY IS F*CK HORMONES AND F*CK HIGH EXPECTATIONS.
Ok. End of pause.
So it’s needless to say, but I for suuuuuuuuuuure struggled with baby blues and postpartum anxiety/depression. It is so taboo to admit to this as new mommy’s. And don’t say, “No it’s not.” It is. It’s taboo to state because hardly anyone talks about it. And this irritates me soooooooooo much. Women have to deal with a lot after giving birth to A HUMAN. From dealing with crazy hormones to accepting a crazy, new life. And if you’re one of the “lucky ones” (I say this in a salty manner) to have PPA/PPD you have to deal with feeling like a FFFFFFRRRREEEEEAAAAAAK around a lot of other people that can’t/won’t relate.
[So please, if you’ve experienced these things, try not to feel alone. Know that at least one lady (me) knows where you’re at and what you’re going through.]
I’m sure if you’re like me in this sense, you’ve heard the “other stories.” Where as soon as baby’s and mommy’s eyes meet, it’s an instant world of love, rainbows, and unicorns…. and I’m over here soaked in jealousy. And for the record, I am so happy and joyful for women and men that experience this emotion and connection from the first second; it’s a beautiful thing. But know that a lot of people don’t experience it.)
Fast forward again, it’s been 6-8 weeks of hormonal misery, but so much love as well. It’s weird to have so much distress, but so much adoration at the same time. Elliott’s wonder and joy is so contagious. I honestly feel that these little babies help us get through the toughest times even though their little lives are also the cause of said times. And because they’re always growing and learning, so are we. I’ve learned more about myself the past five months than ever before. I’ve seen the darkest/ugliest side of me and IT IS NOT PRETTY. I have found I have a temper, a short fuse, and I’m really not very patient. These facts have made me see that I need to rest. I need to be gracious. And I HAVE TO BE flexible.
There are times in life where we THINK we’ll be faced with our true selves, but we get off easy and can go on our merry way. But what do we do when we can’t look away from the mirror? How do you face yourself, accept it as a part of you, but try to morph it, then move on? There is so much guilt in motherhood that sometimes it’s hard to find steadier footing. You make one decision then doubt, then make another decision… then doubt that. And then I’m stuck feeling like an actual crazy person all over again. GAHHHH!
So you see yourself in this mirror and don’t like what you see… but every day there is something new and different, and possibly stressful going on. It’s hard to get a grip. But I honestly just have to trust in the promise of endurance and perseverance. I mean, it’s not like you really have an option in motherhood, hah! But the promise of godliness and steadfast love is something I long for… completely. To be a better me. For my husband, my baby, those around me, and FOR ME. So rest, graciousness, and flexibility. Trying to work on these things every day for everyone in my household. Trying to work hard to semi-become someone I’m naturally not. Sounds kind of messed up, and many will think just be you. Well, me, is not always pretty. And those parts of me that cling to selfishness and chaos are due for a change towards servanthood and humility.
I guess feeling like a freakazoid will help refine me. To sit and be still, to be present, and to lay myself aside. Elliott is almost 6 months old! I can’t believe the time has flown by as quick as it has. I cherish the days, but I for sure have a love/hate relationship with this season of life. I know being a mother will continue to challenge me in the deepest ways. And I really hope that I can learn to relax more and to be flexible with all the changes that will come our way.
Lord, may this fire refine me beautifully. Fingers crossed.