Motherly feelings | Overstuffed Overstuffed

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Motherly feelings

I knew I was a mother when I first found I was expecting Bria. I knew I was a mother as I carried her for 9 months, and was willing to do it, even though that meant vomiting constantly and not being able to leave the couch.

But I didn't feel like a mother.

I knew I was a mother when I woke up at 2 in the morning and realized I was in labor. I knew I was a mother when I heard her first cries and I couldn't wait to meet the baby that I had planned for and loved for months.

But I didn't feel like a mother.

I knew I was a mother when they placed that beautiful baby girl in my arms. I knew I was a mother when I gazed into her eyes as she stared back at me, looking into my very soul, and I felt I had already known her forever.

And yet, I still didn't feel like a mother.

I knew I was a mother when I never got any sleep because I was waking up every hour to feed her. I knew I was a mother when I didn't even mind that feeding my baby meant excruciating pain, at least for the first few weeks.

But I didn't feel like a mother.

Perhaps it was the exhaustion of the first few months of new motherhood. The going through the motions, but not really being conscious of them. I wondered if maybe motherhood was something you grew into, instead of something that is thrust upon you (although it is definitely that!). Whatever the reason, and no matter how much I loved that baby, I just didn't really feel like a mommy. Not yet.

And then one day when she was 5 weeks old, she smiled at me and said ah-goo. My heart jumped from my chest and I wanted to tell everyone on earth just how amazing my baby was. After marveling at her and coaxing her to repeat her genius gooing and flash that gorgeous grin at me just one more time, I realized it: Nobody else would really care that my offspring just said her first consonant. Nobody else could possibly derive the same kind of joy from her smile as I did. And painful as it was to admit, nobody else was likely to even notice how amazing my baby was.

But I did.

And I finally felt like a mother.

23 comments :

  1. This is beautiful, Lara. And a great mother, you are.

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  2. What lovely thoughts. Thanks so much for sharing them.

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  3. Love those moments. That is so warm and fuzzy. You are a great mom.

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  4. Sweet post, Lara. And yes on the excruciating pain of those first few weeks of nursing...nobody quite prepares you for that.

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  5. Lara, those were my similar feelings when I found out I was pregnant with Lisa, when she born and I saw her, I couldn't stop crying that my whole body shook! Now, I look at my children and my breath still catches at my throat...

    Thank you for this post! (crying again)

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  6. Beautiful post, beautiful kids! Thanks for the post!

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  7. That is truly a wonderful Essay on Motherhood.

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  8. I'm really relating to these feelings right now as I'm going through the process of copying all of our little digital videos of the kids onto DVDs so that we can watch them as a family and--heaven forbid--our computer crash or something terrible like that. I just feel myself getting a big, goofy grin on my face when I see Owen as a little baby just smiling back at me. Isn't that such a special gift to feel that between two people. Families are so special.

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  9. That was beautiful Lara.

    I scrolled down the comments to get to this box to type my own and there at the bottom of the list was a comment with the name Audrey. I started reading it wondering if I had commented on this post already and forgotten, but soon realized it was another Audrey. Just a little weird moment for me...

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  10. You said that so perfectly. I think that we all have had our moments where we wondered what the heck we thought we were doing, this having children bit. But those precious, small moments that only moms can notice about their babies sure know how to get into our hearts and prove to us that we can be equal to this responsibility of caring for these precious children that our Heavenly Father has sent to us.
    :~D

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  11. You're awesome. These moments come again as your kids get older. Watching them drive away on their first date, attending their high school graduation, dropping them off at the MTC - all these milestones that are so important to you and generally elicit a "Hm, that's nice" from everyone else - those are the times when you say to yourself, "Well, I guess you had to be his mother to understand."

    Dads get it, too.

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  12. I had a similar experience with my first. In the delivery room, I knew he was my baby, but I couldn't quite grasp it for a few weeks. And then bond hit with a vengeance.

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  13. What a sweet post! I enjoyed it very much.

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  14. P just said her first normal person sound the other night. Drew and I were both like, "OMG -- that's a real person sound."
    It's the little things.

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  15. I love all of your insight and posts. You have some really amazing girls and a great heart.

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  16. What a wonderful post! There are some days I still don't feel like a mom. Is that weird?

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  17. One of your best post...EVER. Loved it!

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  18. I knew and felt like a mother when I read your post and had tears streaming down my face.

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