Motherhood: The Best Hood
I’m sitting up at 4 am writing this while nursing my two-month-old baby. He’s looking up at me with such wonder in his eyes. I have never known a love so pure. I look at him and think about the life I wish to give him, how I hope he never wants for anything I can’t give him. I want to protect him from all evil seen and unseen. I pray for his freedom and happiness. While I am over the moon with joy, the harsh realities of motherhood have hit this new mom like a bag of bricks.
My son has been earthside since July 11th, and I've felt every minute of this time. Other mothers keep telling me this time will fly by and I will miss it, but I'm not sure I'll miss the newborn/infant stage. There is not much help, anyone, even my baby’s dad can offer me right now. My baby wants me, and as much as I love being his center, I’m losing my own in the process. I’ve always wanted to be a mother and Mikai is the greatest gift I’ve ever received. However, the realities of motherhood are rarely discussed. It seems like our mother’s and our mother’s mother’s were too prideful to tell the full truth, ashamed of admitting when they were overwhelmed. They were ashamed to ask questions because admitting you don’t know is failing, especially since nurture is supposed to be a woman’s nature. The secrecy of motherhood has led many women to discover the hard truth(s) on their own. My truth is: I left the hospital almost clueless. My baby sister has been a mother for two, almost three years, and she's been doing a damn good job. I thought I’d be a natural just like her. Mothering is learned. There is no instruction manual for motherhood; you just figure it out. People can offer all of the advice in the world, some of it may work, and most of it may not. Unfortunately, I tested positive for COVID while in labor, so I had to spend most of my time in the hospital alone with my baby I carried for 9 months, but had just met. I got very little help with nursing, so I wasn't sure he was eating. My breasts were finally serving a purpose, but I was so confused about how they function. I felt like a little girl again playing with a doll, except now my baby had a pulse and breath in his body. So different from the Baby Born doll I practiced on. I thought playing house was getting ready for the real thing, not quite.
Once we were both “cleared” we were discharged from the hospital and sent home. Two strangers were tasked with getting to know each other, me being responsible for keeping this person alive. Fast forward 71 days later, he's here and a whole 6 pounds heavier than his birth weight! I have to be doing something right, but my anxiety won't let me pat myself on the back or sleep when the baby sleeps (if I hear that one more time I'm going to scream).
The truth is: Sleep deprivation has made me very forgetful. Breastfeeding means I'm always starving and thirsty. I get musty easily, must be these hormones. My sex drive is back, but healing from the second-degree tear I suffered during labor means I have to learn how to ride a bike again and the baby doesn’t give us any time for foreplay.
The truth is: my mother made this shit look easy, and she had THREE TODDLERS at the same damn time and she was a single mother for most of my childhood. I’m stuck like chuck with my one baby, with my baby daddy, my mama, and my sister in the house for support but THREE?!?!?!? All she had was my grandmother, and what a great help she was, but that was later on, my grandma didn’t change diapers. Lawd only knows how my mother has any hair left on her head or any beauty, love, or light to share with us. I’m so thankful for her strength and resilience but I wish Mommy would’ve told me. Having a baby has changed my life in so many ways, mostly for the better, although I’m sure what I wrote above doesn’t seem like it. Well… this is my website and I get to write what I can’t form the words to say out loud. I’m so thankful for this opportunity to be a parent and watch my baby grow. I’m excited about my growth as well. I’m committed to growing with the flow and blossoming as my own woman in the process. I am not just a mother, but a woman with so many layers and offerings for the world. Mother is one of many hats I’m honored to wear.… but I think I want to wear a dad hat in my next life; at least they get to have a drink when the going gets tough.