I sit here writing this next to my snoozing little one, who is just the essence of perfection. You know what else she is the essence of? Terror.
Let me explain.
I spent the majority of my life genuinely believing I would never get married or have kids. Not that I thought I didn’t deserve them, I just never wanted those things. Further, you know the endless kids v. puppies battle? Well I was/am a puppies-for-the-win kind of girl, hands down. Puppies are easily cuter than babies at all times, and if you were walking down the street with your stroller and your dog I would go out of my way to come and pet the puppy and never mention your baby. Sorry about that.
But then the Lord did some redeemin’ in my life… and here I am a new mother.
And it is easily the most painful thing I’ve ever done.
My little girl is the most beautiful little girl in the history of the world. She’s absolutely perfect.
The problem is that she’s sooooo liittttle. I’ve somehow been convinced that she’s too little to survive. Every squeak, cough, and grunt sends my heart racing- and not in the good way. I lay awake at night, panicked that she’s going to somehow just stop breathing, especially now that she has discovered the art of spitting up.
I check on her relentlessly, especially now that my husband has banished her to our closet (after I had my first real breakdown from exhaustion, he stepped in to help get her on a better sleeping and eating schedule- clearly, he’s the strong one in this relationship) (thank GOD).
When I was pregnant I was honestly convinced that out of the two of us- my husband and I- I would be the disciplinarian. I had watched children before, even worked at a daycare with itty bitties, and crying babies had never really bothered me. I had always been able to do the thing in spite of the crying.
When this little girl cries, I feel a physical pain. A PHYSICAL PAIN. It actually hurts me to hear her cry. When her lip quivers, or she starts to frown I panic, thinking she’s in some terrible pain and there’s nothing I can do about it.
We discovered that she has a small tongue tie and a pretty significant upper lip tie, and I sobbed for nearly 3 hours thinking that she was in pain every time I nursed her. When I found out they may have to clip the ties, I sobbed for nearly a day. I apparently ate something that upset her tummy a few nights ago, and she refused to nurse while crying hysterically. I joined her, obviously. Turns out it was less her tummy and more that she just hadn’t had a good long nap that day and was overly tired. Didn’t matter. I thought I couldn’t take care of her, and basically lost my mind.
When The Professor stepped in to help me set a better schedule for her- for both her heath and my own- I cried then, too, thinking she was too young not to nurse every time she asked for it. When he encouraged me to let her cry a little bit before I ran to her rescue, I cried some more, thinking she would feel abandoned by me.
There’s this insane feeling of helplessness that I feel every time I think she’s in any pain at all- physical or emotional. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. And it’s certainly more intense than anything I’ve felt. Add to that the nutso schedule you keep with a newborn- feeding every 2-3 hours, 24 hours a day, changing diapers constantly, and just hoping you’re doing enough to keep everyone alive… it’s simply overwhelming. Include the pain of postpartum recovery and the pain of nursing a child with a lip/tongue tie, and you’ve got a formula for a few breakdowns.
Motherhood is not for the faint of heart.
I wish someone had shared with me how hard it was to love someone so desperately.
I wish someone had told me how painful love can really feel. I wish someone had prepared me a little more.
But the one thing I know is that she is totally, completely, absolutely worth the pain. When she cries, I cry. When she hurts, I hurt. And I’m on board with that for the long haul.
I’ll grow stronger as I grow used to the pain of loving her. I’ll grow stronger as I see her through sickness and health. I’ll grow stronger as I watch her grow into a strong, independent, well-adjusted adult. For that’s who we’re raising after all, isn’t it?
And for now, I’ll just learn to be okay with the pain, knowing that loving her is worth every single moment we get- whether it’s challenging or not.