There are days when motherhood can feel like a battlefield. To date, it is by far the hardest “job” I have ever done, one where the hours are 24/7 and training manuals do not quite do the trick. You must learn as you go, the stakes are high, and just when you feel you have mastered one thing, everything changes. With each stage, one thing gets easier and another gets harder. This does not always bode well for perfectionist worrywarts like myself.
In the early days, I remember often feeling like I was failing miserably. I had difficulty breastfeeding, and with the onset of my postpartum depression, could not find the wherewithal to continue trying. I felt overwhelmed with exhaustion and the newness of it all, and felt like an imposter since about 99% of the time I had no idea what I was doing.
It seemed simple enough in my head before she was born; you change them, feed them burp them, play with them, and rock them to sleep. And as they get older, you play and interact with them a little more, but the general formula stays the same. At some point you throw discipline and potty training into the mix, and over all you let them know just how much you love them.
Then she was born and I realized moms have the toughest job in the world.
During a difficult transition into motherhood, I was fortunate to have some veteran moms rally around me . They would say, “You are doing just fine!” I wondered how I had not been found out yet, but they said, “She’s eating, sleeping, and growing. What else is a baby to do?” They reminded me they had all been in the same place before, and encouraged me to face things one day at a time.
Day by day . . .
We are on the 12th day of what we think is a stomach virus that has been ailing Sassafras (and recently hit our entire household). In these last two weeks, I revisited some of the thoughts and feelings from the early days. We have had several sleepless nights, about a hundred loads of laundry, and doctor visits all of which have resulted in fatigue, frustration, and feelings of helplessness. Somehow, Aliya has managed to keep a smile on her face; I threw up for one day and was an anxious, crying mess. Who is the baby here?
And so even after these 12 days, I have to remind myself . . . we are doing just fine. Day by day.
Moms also have the best job in the world.