The first time you look at your baby is an amazing experience. You are looking at this small helpless human being that depends on you for everything. It is part of you, it came from you. You feel this warmth in your heart, a feeling of accomplishment and fear. You worry if you will be able to care for this little person. You worry if you will be able to set a good example, if he will love you as much as you love him.
This baby is life that came out of you. It is life that will depend on you. It is a blank page waiting for you to share your experiences, your love, and your hopes. This little life changes you completely. A new woman is born in the delivery room.
You want to protect, you want to be the best you can be. No, you want to be more, always more, always better. You forget about putting on make up, or even brushing your hair. You are lucky if you get time to have a good shower, or a shower at all. Every time your baby cries, you need to be there: “Are you hungry?” “Do you need a diaper change?” “Are you cold or too hot?” “Is it gas?” “I am sorry baby, mommy doesn’t know what’s wrong…”
Besides of all of your worries, there comes breastfeeding. Your milk doesn’t come right way and they tell you your baby is loosing more weight than he should. You spend all day pumping… pumping… no sleep, no rest… pumping… pumping… Meanwhile, in your head you are wondering if you were made to be a mother. Maybe your body wasn’t made for that. “I am sorry baby… I am sorry you are starving…” “Give him formula! “No! I will keep pumping.” Eventually your milk comes, now its all gonna be better.
Oh no, he is not latching properly. Pain, bleeding, guilt again. As if it was your fault, but you feel guilty anyways. Lactation consultants, nurses, other moms… all have a lot to say about how you should do it. Some are judging you because you are giving your baby a bottle, some bring you a gel or cold pack to soothe your pain. “Should I give him formula?” “Oh don’t do that, your baby is going to have a lower IQ, or he will be an obese adult. It will be your fault!” More guilt, you cry and isolate yourself from your friends, from who really cares about you. “I am a bad mother, I am sorry baby…”
Although it seemed forever to you, in a few weeks you and your baby figured out all about breastfeeding. Your baby is putting on weight, is looking healthy and is growing fast. You did it. You are, after all, made for this. You are proud of yourself.
Your baby grows so does your love for him. Sleepless nights, bags under your eyes, but you are happy. You still fear, you still have moments of insecurity but he is all yours and nobody knows him better. You know every cry, you know just the right angle he wants to be held. You are connected and you feel like you are one.
Sometimes you get lost in time staring at your baby or checking several times if he is breathing while sleeping. You wish you could stop the clock when he falls asleep in your arms. You dream for him, you suffer and you love for him.
You are rewarded by each smile, each milestone achieved, by a happy warm hug in the morning. Even when he is scared and calls for you. He trusts you, you are his hero.
You think you can never love this much again. Your heart is taken, your soul is now devoted to him. Then, a new little life comes out of you and depends on you. Your heart is bigger than you thought, and your ability to love and give grows even more.
This is motherhood, excitement, fear, pain, love, and immense happiness. It’s the toughest and most rewarding job a woman could have.