I read a post yesterday by Kristen, and can I just say that the girl is BRAVE?! I have considered writing a post like the one she wrote for a long time... but never felt safe enough to do it. Why? I don't know - I've never really been accused of holding back on this little corner of the web... but at the same time, I think that there is a certain shame new mothers feel when things don't immediately feel like sunshine and flowers everyday after you have the baby you wished, hoped and dreamed for... especially if you longed for that baby for over 8 years - like I did.
There were days in the beginning that I wondered if I was really cut out to be a mother - scary and gut-wrenching as that was... there isn't much choice once you bring that baby home... you are all they have, and you love them more than life itself... but make no mistake... it is HARD.
James is every bit the fulfillment of all of our prayers for many years - and the prayers of many of you as well... and don't get me wrong... he is a wonderful little bundle of joy. He hasn't been a particularly hard baby or fussy... but he has had his fair share of tummy troubles that we've navigated and worked through. There are times that he cries and we can't quite figure out why... times that he is inconsolable for a period of time... but we've been lucky too because that hasn't been really consistent. He hasn't had colic that we've known of - or anything that causes him to cry for hours on end... but he has been particular on some things.
My little man hasn't really wanted to be outside of his element until recently (within the last two weeks) - he would get really out of sorts if we took him places other than restaurants. For some reason he could handle the short spurts of being in a restaurant for the most part, but take him to my Dad's house... church... John's parent's house... or shopping... and you were in for meltdowns that would make you question your sanity. There was a shopping experience on John's birthday that rocked me to my core with James... we were in the grocery store trying to gather some of John's favorite things to make a special treat for Daddy... but James had a colossal meltdown of epic proportions. The kind that had half the store wishing that a whole in the floor would open up and suck James and I into it... and the other half wishing and wanting to help me. In the end, I scooped up James and left the store without buying anything because in that moment - he just needed to get out of there and be taken care of... and as his mother - that is what I am going to do. So Daddy ended up buying his own birthday cake this year. HAHA!
For me, the hardest part of that isn't canceling plans or not attending events... it's the times when you do, and then you just feel horrible for him being upset. I'm the type of mother that can't handle even the slightest thought of him being unhappy or hurting... I just want to grab him up and hug him in those moments.
There are times when you HAVE to do something for their own good - like say, take them for shots... or give them a bath in those early weeks when they absolutely hate it. Or maybe it was just James... he now loves bath-time and massage-time... but he didn't for a good 2 months or so.
Women don't really talk about it being hard... or maybe if they do, it's typically with their family or closest friends - but never would they put it out there in the mainstream that motherhood is hard. It will challenge every thought you've ever had about yourself, your desires, and the depth of your strength. Thank goodness, I am a Christian - and could lean on God in some of those moments... and there were some desperate prayers in some of those scary early moments. Prayers for him to just sleep, eat, or whatever I thought he needed in the moment, but was resisting.
All of this, has made me a different woman than I was in April... hopefully for the better... I don't know - I'd have to let others be the judge of that. It is all worth it for that baby smile, coo, and snuggle. I can say that right now - James is the light of our lives... I can't imagine a moment of life without him in it... and love him in ways I didn't know were possible. He is getting to that stage where you can watch him exploring and learning about everything - each new toy, experience, and day brings with it the joy of seeing it all again for the first time through his eyes... which is incredible. Hearing him laugh, seeing him play with John, and light up at the puppets on his Baby Einstein videos (OH how he loves those puppets) brings me to tears... and for THAT - I know every difficult moment in the beginning was worth it beyond my wildest imagination.
As I sit here and type this, I realize that I'm about to enter in those early days again with Tyler... as I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with James... we start over. Will it be as hard with Tyler, I don't know... I don't know if now that I've been through it, maybe I'll be more prepared for it... to be sure, having two babies is going to be hard... there will be challenging moments and moments that will make us question if we can make it - but in the end, being a parent is the greatest gift of all.
It changes everything about you - your perception of every situation... what you're willing to tolerate, and gives you a new understanding when you see people at the end of their ropes in some instances. You are better for having gone through it all, and the depths of the love you feel for that child (or in my case... children) will take your breath away. So, I will keep it real... and tell you that it is the hardest challenge you will face in your life... but it is the MOST rewarding one you will experience in this lifetime as well. It really is true that anything worth having is worth fighting for!