I had the wonderful opportunity to meet with a group of women tonight at our local Stroller Strides -hosted Luna Moms Club Mom’s Night Out. Also, aside from the normal amount of interaction with new moms I am blessed with through my work, I have had a couple of dear friends recently give birth and so I am bathing in the proverbial enjoyment of nurturing and celebrating with women in this terrifically emotional time of life. As I have sat with, emailed with, and talked via telephone with women from all walks of life, in a variety of geographical locations, and enduring different stages of New Mommyhood, I have found myself again and again reflecting on my own transitions into first motherhood, twice motherhood and thrice motherhood. And the same words keep reverberating through my head with each reflection, “Oh, if I only knew then what I know now.”
While every different stage of Motherhood is tough stuff, making that initial transition from Free Spirit Woman Who Can Sleep in on Saturday Mornings If She Wants To….to….Awake Every Two to Three Hours During the Night With Bags Under Her Eyes, Yet Crazy In Love With Her New Baby…seems to be the hardest.
It’s not just coming to terms with the fact that, “once that baby makes his or her entrance into your world, you are responsible for the well being of another person in some way for the rest of your life,” that makes the transition…enormous…it’s the worry, anxiety, questions, confusions, process of trial and error, self-doubt and doubt of the validity of one’s own parental instincts that makes the transition what it is. And as I watch friends, students and new acquaintances struggle with night time sleep issues, feeding issues, discipline issues, and balancing act issues, I want so much to give them all just a little bit of that magical ingredient I seem to be slowly developing as I make my own transition from New Mom to Seasoned Mom: relaxation.
I’m not saying I am a totally laid back mom all the time…or even most of the time. Ask my husband, and he’ll tell you, I am an emotional zero to sixty kinda’ gal. One of my favorite places to be is on top of a soap box. But I’ve learned to go with the flow a little more as each day, week and year of parenthood passes. I am better able to disengage from the screaming tantrum antics of our three-year-old son and the, “my hair isn’t cooperating!!!” antics of our five-year-old daughter with nary a rise in my blood pressure. Sometimes. But I don’t find myself doubting my core capabilities as a mom like I used to. And I do seem to finally trust in the concept that tomorrow will be another day, and with it comes a new opportunity.
When our eldest was a colicky infant, I couldn’t see past the next hour, let alone trust in the opportunity that a new day would bring. But those days are long gone now, (long enough gone to refer to them with a touch of nostalgia) and now the best I can do is offer the moms who are newer at this stuff than I am the encouragement that, “you will get through this. You will sleep again. You will figure out how to comfort her crying. You will find yourself again.”
Cheers to all the mothers out there, new and not-so-new. Keep up the good work!