Every day I celebrate the joy (with its complications included) that is to be a mom. I know motherhood is not for everyone and that is okay. I have respect for any woman who respects herself and who fights for what she wants. Some of them might be moms and some might not; I am not here to judge a woman’s decision to or not to bear children. I just want to make that clear. Today however, I am here to share a bit about my journey as a mom. It kinda comes to me around this time of the year because is my firstborn’s birthday this week and all those emotions just kinda crawl up on me.
I will be celebrating 11 years since I had the first opportunity to hold a child whose life started in my womb. And I have talked about pregnancy before, and as you know no pregnancy is ever the same. Whether you are comparing different pregnancies for the same mom or simply different moms, it is a journey that is so unique each time. My first pregnancy was a tad bit challenging. There weren’t many physical complications, except for the actual birth, but I was scared often having so many new experiences. The nurse made such a snarky comment when I called paranoid experiencing something that she called “heartburn” … excuse me if I never experienced it before! Sure, it sounds silly now, but it was no joke when it happened. I ended up in the emergency room a couple of times because my asthma came back during my first pregnancy after many years asthma free and to monitor the baby the other time. Overall though, I think it was good with just a few minor hiccups from a physical point of view. The emotional side of it is another story.
I think “scary” is a great way to capture many of the emotions that take place during pregnancy especially if it is your first one. Our bodies are so amazing and know just what to do but we don’t really know that until is happening. And I think “exciting” is another great one to capture most of the other emotions that also take place. Knowing there is a tiny person who will join you makes all those experiences worth it. But the journey only begins with pregnancy; there is a long way to go and it will just get harder. Sure no one likes to hear that, but it is the truth.
And then there was a baby in my life. Babies are cute, smell great (when they don’t have a surprise in their diaper), and bring so much joy and love to your life. Is a type of love that simply can’t be described. And then another set of crazy things happened. A baby becomes your priority, and your whole world will revolve around him (or her). You experience joy when they start rolling and worry at the same time because now there is a chance they can fall off the bed. You celebrate their first steps and worry at the same time because now they can get hurt with pretty much anything (baby proofing the place time). You get excited celebrating their first birthday and realize they are not a baby anymore. You celebrate their first day of school and worry at the same time because you don’t know if the other kids will be nice. So many new experiences for your child which means new experiences for you, and you just don’t know how it all will work out. We just kept going through them hoping for the best.
Over the last 11 years I have learned so many things about motherhood and parenting. Every time I come across a new parent or parent-to-be, and they allow me, I share this with them:
What works for one kid will not work for the other and that is okay. You will receive a ton of unsolicited advice and know that most of it won’t apply to you. Only you know what is best for your baby. Accept and love your child’s uniqueness. Enjoy every bit of this crazy ride because it truly goes by fast.
I can tell you that my three kids are so different from each other. Their personalities are different. Their milestones are different. Their reactions are different. What works for one won’t work for the other. It has been part of the crazy parenting party! You try one thing, and if doesn’t work you go on to the next one of an endless list of choices. What a beauty, ha?! Learning to accept their uniqueness has been very important for me. It is embarrassing to admit it but that wasn’t the case at first. You kinda get pushed into the comparing when other moms (usually) start asking why is your child not walking yet, or speaking yet, or having a larger variety of foods yet, or don’t know their ABC’s yet, or… I mean that list in endless. I used to worry about it at first, but that has stopped long ago. I know each kid is unique and I don’t do myself or my kids any good comparing them to anyone else, especially to their siblings.
11 years have gone by in the blink of an eye. Looking at old pictures for the perfect one to share with you I realized first that smartphones weren’t as important as they are now because I only have a few pics in an old hard drive. I have a lot more pics of my daughter when she was a baby because by then all my pics were being saved to my Google drive but that wasn’t the case 11 years ago. Then I got reminded about the importance of pictures because looking at them takes me back to the moment when they were taken. How tiny were my kids! They are growing so fast, like truly, madly, deeply fast! Which goes back to my other point to embrace every moment. We were so eager to see Baby Bear walking and playing with older brother and sister. But since the moment he started walking, he has been non-stop. Don’t get me wrong, that is a good thing too, but often I just want to hold him and rock him to sleep on my arms like I used to before… aww, I miss those days! He is much too large and active for me to try, ha!
And over the last years, the relationship with my body has changed too. I was upset because my body didn’t shrink back to normal after having my first child. Like, why?! Many moms don’t have a problem with it, why did I? And it was a struggle to try to lose the weight, and then three years later I was preggos again. Struggling again. Being too worried that I was gonna gain too much weight again. And after my second child was born, I continued the struggle to lose weight. But when I got preggos for the third time, things had changed for me. Yes, I still had some extra “lbs” but for the first time I was grateful with my body for what it had done for me before and for what it was about to do again. Like I said, I had very few physical complications with my pregnancies but I know a few ladies who have struggled for years to get pregnant. It took a really long time for a couple of them to get pregnant and a few others never could. Why was I being harsh on my body when it was capable of so much as helping host three healthy babies?! Not anymore! I have stretch marks and I am truly thankful for them. They are a great reminder of what my body is capable of. They are beautiful!
This journey has been amazing! I’ve experienced different challenges with each of my kids, but they’ve just made me stronger. I am so excited, and scared yes, for what is yet to come for me as a Mama Bear. I know as they go into teenhood I will likely be tested in so many new ways. That is scary! But I am hopeful. I trust that my love for them will help me guide them the best way possible through life. I want them to be independent, to take chances, to be daring, to be kind, to be respectful, to remain truthful to who they are. I am excited to see them shine!
Ohh Mama Bearhood… you learn every day, you get challenged every day, you grow every day.