In my last post I talked about how it took me a few weeks to have the “falling in love” moment with Blue, that it didn’t happen right when he was born. It’s not that I didn’t love him, I did, but it wasn’t the kind of love that I felt for him a few weeks later.
Before I became a mom, I worked as a social worker working primarily with young, first time moms and dads. My very first supervisor was a wise woman who, early on, gave me some very good advice. She encouraged me not to make assumptions about the families I was working with, in particular not to assume that the moms and dads had fallen in love with their babies right from the beginning. Instead of asking them, “Don’t you just love your baby?” or “Isn’t being a mom (or dad) the most amazing thing?” she advised me to ask them, “Are you having good and bad days?” or “Is being a parent what you thought it would be?” Immediately I thought that was a good idea and used those questions with the families I saw and I always felt that by approaching the families with those questions allowed them to be more honest with me. It allowed them to feel safe telling me that sometimes it was really hard and sometimes they didn’t know what they had gotten themselves into.
I really wish someone had asked me those questions.
So many, good intentioned, (mostly) women would ask me if I felt overwhelming love for Blue or they would talk about how amazing it was being a mom and wasn’t it the best thing I’d ever done?! At that time, it wasn’t. I was exhausted in ways I can’t even describe. My brother-in-law said that when he saw us a few weeks after Blue was born, we looked like walking zombies. That’s because we were! I felt completely overwhelmed by my new role as a mom. I struggled to juggle my new role as a mom with my roles as a wife, daughter, sister, employee, friend, housekeeper, etc. And I admit that all of those roles suffered while I figured out how to adjust to everything.
I longed for someone to ask me how I was doing or to ask me if I was having some good and bad days. I wanted the freedom to say that some days really sucked! That I was worried I had made a mistake having a baby and maybe I wasn’t meant to be a mom, that some days I felt like I was going crazy. I just wanted to be able to be honest with someone and I never felt like I could. I would put on a happy face, smile and answer their questions with bold-faced lies.
Slowly things got better. As Blue and I got to know each other better and I figured out his likes and dislikes, life began to improve. I began to understand what those moms had been talking about when they asked me about “overwhelming feelings of love” and it was/is amazing. By the time Blue was 3 months old, he was sleeping through the night which made me feel human again and we had a good routine established. That helped so much. I was finally able to really enjoy my beautiful baby and it was wonderful!
Blue has grown into a perfectly normal and perfectly wonderful toddler and I love him in ways I can’t even put into words. I’m so glad we survived those first few weeks.