Friday, August 01, 2008

Welcome to motherhood

"Welcome to motherhood," says the voice in my head. It says this to me several times a day as I go through my irregular routine of changing diapers, burping, cuddling, nursing and swaddling. I knew my life was going to change drastically when my little man came out to play, but no amount of advice or warning or mental preparation could have truly prepared me for the rainbow of emotions that have washed over me the past 2 weeks.

I have never considered myself the motherly type. I don't always feel very natural or comfortable with other people's children, and everyone always told me, "It's different when they are your own." I was skeptical. But now I understand what that means. There are times when I just watch him sleeping so peacefully in his bed. I watch the rise and fall of his chest and try to memorize the looks on his face. Sometimes at night I wake up because he hasn't moved or made a sound in hours. I watch him afraid that if I look away he will grow up and change in the instant before I can return to my vigil. And he does. Despite how challenging this time is with little sleep, learning how to read signals and trying to figure out what to do with my suddenly non-structural days, I find myself dreading him growing up. Every morning he's a little bit bigger and his expressions change. I have shed a few tears during moments of exhaustion and weakness over the days that have already passed as my little boy grows before my eyes. I don't want to miss any part of it, so I watch him intently while he sleeps willing him to stay small and cuddly.

I have no idea what I am doing 90% of the day. I don't know if I am feeding him right or enough. I don't know if I should be keeping him up or letting him sleep. I often talk to him and ask his forgiveness for all the mistakes I am bound to make on a daily basis. I used to think that I needed patience to be able to handle a baby and all the challenges that come along with that, but I am swiftly discovering that he is the one who has to be patient with me. I found myself this morning realizing that although only 2 weeks old, he probably knows more than I do at the moment. I didn't really know that this is what they meant by motherhood. To be a mother is not to have all the answers or to do everything with perfection. To be a mother is to see your child and love them with such intensity that you catch a small glimpse of what it must be like to be Heavenly Father. To be a mother is to hold your son in your arms and want nothing more than to have him know how much you love him despite your mistakes and inevitable shortcomings. To be a mother is to watch your sleeping baby just to spend time with him.

I have never felt so overwhelmed and so humble in my whole life as I do right now. Motherhood is a responsibility that makes me feel inadequate and insufficient, but as my loving husband reminded me the other morning, the Lord qualifies us for all things he has asked us to do. Whatever I bring to the table is sufficient and He makes up the rest as always. There have been a few times in my life when I have spent countless hours on my knees and in humble prayer, and this is one of those times. I have been brought down to the depths of humility with the realization that I know nothing and yet, the Lord has entrusted this special spirit to my care. That means I have to rely on His council and guidance in order to raise my son the way I want to and the way the Lord wants me to. I cannot be the mother I need to be without the spirit in my life, so I find myself searching for it constantly... praying for it... listening to it.

I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I am now a mother and that my life has started a new chapter and taken on new meaning. It is a daily challenge to put everything in balance and sensible order in my world, but somehow we manage to fall asleep at night just grateful for the day and for the time we can spend with our son. I know that soon I have to get back to "real life" making dinner, cleaning up, going to the grocery store, etc. But today I am just happy to have my husband and son in the same room with me, go for walks in the park and stop by the Met for a quick tour of the latest exhibit all on a weekday. Real life can start next week.






17 comments:

Tris & Ken said...

Loved this post! You put into words emotions that I have felt many times and that can sometimes be hard to explain. And yet you know that someone is about to become a mother and that they will feel the emotions themselves so you don't even need to try to explain. But I LOVE your explanation. I also love love love your bedspread, and the brown wall! So great for pictures! He is seriously so yummy, makes me want to reach through the computer and pull him to my chest. He is perfect, congratulations! What lucky parents you are. Enjoy the bewildering months ahead!!

Tris & Ken said...

Also, welcome to weekdays in the park!! Weird! I'm just now (almost two years later) getting used to it!

Ashley said...

Nikki,
He is adorable and I can't wait to meet him. Isn't it strange how things can change so much overnight? It's impossible to explain to people who haven't been through it, so you have to just say "they'll understand when it happens to them". Congrats!

naomi megan said...

Your wonderful words about motherhood gave me chills! ah. And he is absolutely beautiful. I still cannot believe this has happened already, Nikki! 2 weeks...crazy!

Reagan said...

This is the first time I've seen your blog and this post was the sweetest thing I've ever read. Congrats on your beautiful little boy. I'm sure you'll be perfect!

teamkc said...

Seriously, how cute is this little guy?! It is surprising how much chubbier and older he looks in the pics in this post from the previous one...babies grow too quickly...

Sarah said...

Are you kidding me, Nikki?! That was beautiful. You are such an amazing writer. It's so hard for me to articulate the feelings I have in regards to motherhood and there are so many, but you do it with such love and care and understanding . . . and you're brand new! And you're right, you never know what you're doing, but somehow it keeps working out. You really need to write a book. I love to read what you write.

Nikki said...

I loved what you wrote Nikki, so true! What a beautiful little boy you have...just seeing those pictures makes me want to hold him. Good luck in all of your "new Mom" glory!

whitney williams said...

He is such a sweet little boy...thank you for your talent and gift with writing. You are always able to express so beautifully what I have felt in my heart many times, and through many circumstances and have never been able to put it so elequently. Enjoy the time as it does go by so fast...and don't be so hard on yourself...motherhood is a learning process we all must go through...no one has every answer all the time and it doesn't come as "naturally" to everyone as you might assume. You'll be a great mother because you want to be and because you will work for it!

Congratulations again on your sweet angel.

McLeod Clan said...

Man I love to read your blog. I am so glad that you post stuff like this because even though i am not starting my family yet I think that to read these things prepares me a little for the whirlwind of emotions that flow when you bring someone into this world that is part you and part that other person that you love so dearly all to create one being! it's amazing. He's adorable and I absolutely LOVE that blanket!

Brooke said...

Nik,
He is a beautiful baby and you are a wonderful mother...I'm glad you're enjoying the tiny moments.

Sarah L. said...

He is beautiful. Good Job :) Motherhood is the best. You will find that you will get the hang of it and you'll feel more confident as time goes by. Love the post
sarah

Nicole Cave said...

Give yourself a break... you are doing great!

Marci & Daniel said...

Gorgeous pictures of a gorgeous baby - those facial expressions! Your writing is beautiful - thank you for sharing your thoughts. And although I have yet to experience motherhood, all your words rang true. xoxo

Anonymous said...

hey nikki. this is ryan henderson. isee ur a mother...congratulations. mical and i are in nyc for a couple days and i was wondering if we could get together. we leave early wed morning so if ur free mon or tues it would be cool to see u. call me if u can 702 265 4018. hope to see you soon.
ryan

Rebecca said...

Oh I just want to hold him and cuddle him and love him. He's a good looking one, for sure.

Anonymous said...

What a kiddo! I can't get over that face, those incredible expressions! It's so fun to be an aunt and see how different and distinct each niece and nephew is. I can't wait to get to know little John better!

Brynn