What I am Learning From Having A Baby - Different Than I Expected
When I was pregnant, I had no idea what to expect for Motherhood. I had no idea what my baby would be like, what kind of Mom I would be like, or how I would take on this new life season.
As a first time pregnant mom, I would see other babies and convinced myself that “surely, my baby won’t be that difficult!”
I suppose I didn’t really understand that this baby was 50% ME, which meant he would also take on some on my personality traits. (When I realized this, I immediately wanted to change myself into the most carefree, easy-going, non-particular person EVER. Anybody else?) So, when I thought about what it would be like to have a baby, I imagined a sweet, easy-going baby that slept and ate easily. "‘Cause Rachel, she’s the most carefree person ever (said NO ONE ever)."
Maybe it was because I was a first time mom, but when I thought about things I was scared of for motherhood, it was not the things that take up my mental energy now. I didn’t know how hard it would be on my emotions and my body. I was scared of not being able to be flexible or being tired all the time. And yes, those things are true. But, for me, motherhood is harder is such different ways.
First off, I had no idea how emotionally invested I would be in this tiny human. The second you meet your baby, you become a different person. And yes, every time someone told me that when I was pregnant, I would roll my eyes (secretly). But, guess what? All those cliches are true! And second, I didn’t know it would be so hard for me to be away from my baby. I thought I would be fine to leave him with my mom for several hours while I worked. I don’t like to be away from him for more than 30 minutes. I miss him while he naps. I know, I am crazy. And not all moms are like this. But I am. And I didn’t expect this of myself. I didn’t know that motherhood would be a constant state of balancing conflicting emotions, wants, and needs.
I was also unaware that I had subconscious expectations of what my baby would be like. For some odd reason, I expected him to be easier than other babies. Several years ago I struggled with lots of digestive issues (and have since found lots of healing), but after lots of cleansing and hard work on my end to heal my gut, I thought I would have the healthiest kid on the block. I mean, that’s what I deserved after being sick for so many years, right?? WRONG. I actually ended up with a little one who has lots of digestive issues and we still battle them. Which is totally fine, just different than my expectations.
So, what am I learning?
The lesson I am learning is that God gives us what we need, not what we want. In His faithfulness, he gave me the perfect baby for me. He knew I needed a baby that would force me to run to Him and depend on Him. I am a fairly self-sufficient and efficient person, so I can get a lot done on my own. But, having to depend on God for everything? That takes a big change.
So, in His loving kindness, God gave me the baby that would help me to slow down and be present. He is teaching me to let go of expectations and be fine with the fact that every day will be different.
I am a very relational person, but I got very used to being alone all day and running my business. In fact, I grew to love it. So, adding another human who is 100% dependent on me, is a lot harder than I expected.
And the mom guilt. Ohhh, the mom guilt.
I feel guilty when I am away from him. I feel guilty when I am on my phone (but that’s probably good). I feel guilty when I go to Target and leave him at home with his dad. I mean, it’s all just crazy. My best advice for the mom guilt? Remember that you are the PERFECT mom for this child. You were selected to be his/her mama, so no one else could do it better!
Becoming a mom has been a fast track to recognizing my shortcomings are learning to grow. And grow quickly. I learned that I have a lot less power and control over my life than I thought. And that’s a real good thing to learn. But, it’s a hard lesson that takes constant self-talk and maneuvering the guilt and shame it can being.
Expectations are inevitable, but they are great catalysts to bring change. Are you a mom, if so, what did you expect from your children that isn’t the case?