Picture above is by Carissa Holm Photography.
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Our son will soon be turning one. I am frequently reminded of that whenever my son has lured somebody in with his smile and they inform me his birthday is around the corner. In those moments, I want to put my fingers in my ears and go, “Lalala, I can’t hear you.”
I remember being pregnant and feeling like a bad person because I was not overly excited about being pregnant. Now, do not get me wrong, my son was very planned and wanted. I even went through surgery to remove my endometriosis scars to ensure that I could have him. My entire pregnancy, I was filled with fear that I would not be a good enough Mom. I would cry to friends that I do not feel connected to my baby like the books said I would. Thankfully, my dear friend told me that a lot of moms feel this way but, it is not spoken about much.
At 39 weeks, I elected to be induced due to medical issues. I have to be honest with you, my birthing experience did not come with that magical sensation that I hear so much about. It came with a rude doctor, a wrongly stuck epidural, a midwife who kept pushing the see and touch experience (her and the guy midwife were amazing besides that), my son who decided to crown right away and stay there for 40 minutes, the oxygen I used in between pushes, and becoming extremely close to receiving a C-section. Undoubtedly, my birthing experience was not magical but, I would call it memorable. In fact, I think that every person in that room will remember my son making his appearance in this world.
I was losing hope after hearing “just one more push” for the 30th time. I told them, “I don’t believe you.” I closed my eyes and pushed yet again. I opened my eyes to find this slimy, bloody, purple alien looking thing on me. I proceeded to scream at the top of my lungs until I realized this thing was indeed my baby. Everybody got a good chuckle out of it after they realized what was going on. Here I am holding my baby and I still did not feel connected and was kind of grossed out by my child. I stuck through the recommended hour of skin-to-skin contact and towards the end, I began to feel the bond between a mother and a child that you hear stories about. I knew my life was forever changed in those moments.
That bond exponentially grew and I saw life from a new perspective. I remember having music play on my phone and singing to my son as I rocked him. “You’re Gonna Miss This” by Trace Adkins came on and I barely got into the song before I was sobbing as I sang the lyrics. I have always thought this was a touching song but, this time I heard the words in a way that touched my heart deeply. I remember crying in bed to my husband that our son is growing up too fast and I should have been writing the things has done down. I told him, “I do not remember everything and soon he will be all grown up.” My loving husband reminded me that I do remember. We sat there and talked about everything that has happened in our son’s life so far. Keep in mind, our son is at most 6 weeks old at the time. A little dramatic? Maybe.
I have sat here and watched our son continue to develop. My husband deployed and of course, the day he left, my son rolled over from his stomach to his back for the first time. He had been so close for a week. Perfect timing kid. The whole time my husband was gone, I hoped he would hold off on doing stuff. I saved some of the control able firsts for when he got back because, no matter how much we would like to control when our child accomplishes things, most things are out of our hands. My husband came back from deployment and we jam-packed things into a week. My son had his first solid food, a Cheerio, sat in a highchair and in a cart for the first time. Those events felt like a victory for me. The both of being able to watch our son achieve a milestone together is a spectacular feeling.
Other than during deployments, I want my son to do so many things and excel at them. I think it is natural as a parent to be competitive about it at times but also want them to slow down at other times. My husband pushes our son to do things, which is great because sometimes I would just like him to stay my little boy. My husband holds his hands and walks him around the living room. Now, my son walks along the couch. I am so proud of him but, also feel like it is happening too fast. Where did my little newborn baby go? Little babies are not supposed to hold their Mom and Dad’s hands and walk with them to the park.
I cry almost every time I hear “Boy” by Lee Brice. If you want to see me ugly cry, watch me try to explain why this song makes me emotional to my husband. (I have enough emotion for the both of us.) This entire song sums up everything though.
“But boy, you’re gonna come back home
You’re gonna settle down
But you won’t feel the way I’m feelin‘ now
Until you have a boy
He’s gonna know it all
He’ll think he’s ten feet tall
And run like he’s bulletproof
And total a car or two.”
I cannot count the number of times my Mom told me that I would understand once I became a mom. I never knew how your kids grow up so fast. I always felt like time moved slow. I could not comprehend why I would ever want to go through another pregnancy. Then, I watched our son grow up these past 11 months and suddenly understood everything I had ever been told.
Parenthood is filled with a crazy number of unexpected things. It is definitely challenging but, is well worth it. I think all of us look back and wish we understood this concept better when we were a teenager giving our parents gray hairs. I will cherish these moments with my family because I know he will be grown up sooner than we would like. Soon I will only be left with the memories of sleepless nights and the journey our son took us on. I will be forever grateful that God allowed me to become this little boy’s mom. Take your time in life; enjoy the ride it takes you on because it will be gone before you expect it to be.