Thursday, March 11, 2010
Mom's the word
I promise this won't be another long winded essay about my mom or worse, my MIL. I will say, just to get it off my chest that I received another email response from my MIL today which set me off and sent all my forgiveness work out the proverbial window. This was so bad it even involved an emergency call from Dr. Phil who is supposed to call me back in a few minutes. I predict that today's blog will be posted late.
Therapy-by-phone. That was a first for me, I feel a little better, I won't bore you with the details.
I recently heard a story about a woman in Florida who had been blogging about her daily life for years. She is a talented photographer and a wonderful writer, her blog entries are filled with beautiful pictures of her adorable two year old daughter, her two stepsons, her husband and her beautiful self. A truly stunning and happy family, with some awesome clothing! She was expecting her second child in January and the whole family was thrilled.
The reason this blog is making the mom rounds is the story of the birth of her second daughter Nella.
I had no idea what I was in for when I heard about Kelle and her blog, I just heard that I must read this woman's story about the birth of her child, and that it was incredible. OK, I like cool writing and I like babies, when I clicked the link and saw her beautiful pictures I knew that this woman was not only beautiful and extremely gifted but she was a cool chick too. I looked around her blog for a bit and then found Kelle's birth story, I thought maybe it would be something like mine, I was wrong. She actually had a pretty easy birth, lucky girl. It wasn't until she described what she felt when they placed the newborn in her arms. She knew instantly that her baby had Down's Syndrome. The thing that set Kelle's blog apart from other women who found themselves in the same situation was the honesty in her description of that moment and the night that followed. Reading her entry from that day was like being in her hospital bed. It's not about her writing style (which is wonderful) but how she opened up to herself and anyone who was reading. She describes the moment she saw her new daughter as the most defining moment of her life, she painfully writes what her baby daughter was saying with her eyes as they looked upon each other for the first time:
Love me. Love me. I'm not what you expected, but oh, please love me.
I have never before been so moved by the words of a woman I have never met. She talks about how she knew her baby wasn't perfect and waited for someone to tell her differently. At the same time champagne was popped, camera's flashed and everyone in the room was celebrating the joyous occasion of baby Nella's birth. Kelle waited for someone to tell her what she knew was true, and finally her pediatrician, and good friend, came in and told her the news that she already knew but desperately did not want to hear.
and then she cried.
She talks about not really remembering much only that Nella breastfed like a champ immediately, how she looked down at her daughter who was instantly at home in her mom's arms, happy and safe. She felt horrible for not feeling the same, for wishing it was the other baby, the one she should have had. Her room was filled with family, friends and her other daughter, the new big sister. When it was time for everyone to leave her best friends stayed with her to get her through night, they held her while she cried. She describes the agony of that night and how she just wanted it to end. She wished she could take her older daughter and run away, run back to the day before when she was still pregnant, still happy and excited. Finally morning came and along with it, a new hope. A hope and a love for Nella that was so strong she knew that it was her destiny. This time the tears flowed but they were tears of joy and nothing else.
I think that this is so moving to me because she was so brutally honest about what she felt. Things didn't go as planned and that pissed her off, she allowed herself to be upset, to feel all she needed to feel. Until she finally found that place of pure love. It's so rare these days for anyone to admit to feelings that might not be construed as positive, especially regarding children. I remember the first few weeks of K's life I was so lost, so scared and so sure that I had made one hell of a mistake. Who could I possibly have shared these feeling with? If I said this to anyone I knew they would either take my baby away or never talk to me again. The new mommy friends I met at baby groups all talked about how perfect everything was. They talked about easy it was to breastfeed and how quickly their babies would go down for naps or sleep. What kind of kid came out of me? K wouldn't breastfeed and she slept when she felt like it. Plus she was so small none of her layette would fit. She wore tiny white onesies that were always dirty while all the other babies were dressed like Baby Gap ads. A few weeks in this "nightmare" a friend came to visit and brought me a bassinet she didn't need anymore. She took one look at me and started laughing, don't buy the "mommy lies" she said. She then told me the awful details of her own first few weeks at home (which I never knew) and told me to never believe a thing new moms say. They are all over-stressed, sleep deprived zombies who would hate for anyone to think they were less than perfect. I was so pissed off but relieved. When I told her my problems with K she said I was crazy, K was perfect and I should be lucky. The breastfeeding didn't quite work out for us so we moved on. When I got dirty looks as I made formula bottles I just blew it off. I was a great mom, I just needed to tell myself that, and I needed to believe it.
I then told all my non-mommy friends the truth about those first few weeks. every single one of them have since thanked me for saving them from new mom angst.
Kelle's blog is another victory in the "Mommy Wars" and can hopefully put an end to the Mommy lies. Just be honest. Be honest about being tired, about being scared and don't be afraid to admit that this was not what you expected. Once the fog lifts and you get a little sleep, the realization that nothing is ever perfect will hit you. Nothing except the perfect little baby in your arms. Who cares if she doesn't sleep when she's supposed to, or breastfeed easily. Make your own rules and enjoy every minute of it, it goes by fast. Every baby is a perfect part of us, to be adored and cherished every minute of every day. Kelle knew that the second her baby was born, it just took a while to kick in.
Welcome baby Nella, I can't wait to see what you do next!