I didn’t consider myself to be a selfish person before I became a mother. In fact, I considered myself to be a caring, compassionate, and considerate person. While that may have been true, I have since learned that the person I was before knew little of what it meant to be selfless. From the moment I held that beautiful baby in my arms my thoughts and actions became consumed with what’s best for her. All at once it became less about me and all about this divine gift I was blessed to finally have in my arms. While everything did change the moment my daughter came into my life, that doesn’t mean I suddenly became a completely selfless person in that same instance. I believe that we can have moments that bring about change instantaneously like the birth of a new child, but I also believe that not all change can happen at once because change is a continuous process. I am still learning how to be a mother, as I’m sure I will continue to do so for the rest of my life.
Before I had my daughter I had an image of what it would look like to be a mother, one that I had built up my entire life. After the initial rush of joy from the arrival of my baby girl I realized that those expectations didn’t quite match up to reality. Although I loved my daughter with all of my heart, there was this deep and dark feeling within me telling me that I had lost a piece of myself, and that I had lost my freedom. I felt trapped, unprepared, confused, and lost. All of these feelings filled me with so much guilt. I began to hate the monotony of motherhood, the routines, the feedings, changing diapers, the endless cycle of doing the same things over and over again. I felt drained and exhausted. I had just begun and yet I already wanted to give up. The thing about being a mother though, is that you don’t really have the choice to quit, you just have to keep pressing forward.
Never before had I felt this way in my life, I just wanted to run away leaving all of my responsibilities behind me. At the time this made me feel guilty, however, I know now that it was just part of a learning process. The happy part to this story is that those feelings didn’t stay. I reached a point where I realized that my daughter deserved a mother that wasn’t halfheartedly raising her and just going through the motions. She deserved a mother that was going to love her unconditionally and take care of her with all of her might no matter how imperfect she was. Steadily I began to pull myself out of the dark trench I had been digging myself into. I began to search for the moments of joy amongst the monotony.
Those moments of joy were there the whole time, but I was just so trapped in thinking about what I had lost that I forgot to see what I had gained.
I had gained the unconditional love of a sweet baby girl, she needed me and relied on me for everything, it just took time to realize how much I needed her too. No matter the circumstance of your life, or the difficulties you may be currently in, the happiness and joy you feel will depend upon what you choose to see in those moments. There is always something we can be grateful and happy for. We need not wait for everything to be “perfect” to be happy.
I started to hold on to every precious moment with my daughter, I would just grasp the moment and soak it in. Every giggle, smile, and cuddle. I even began to appreciate the mundane things by turning them into something more fun. Like singing songs when feeding her or making funny faces and having conversations with her while changing her diaper. The mundane motions and routines of having a child no longer seemed like burdens that drew me away from things that were more exciting. Instead I became thankful for each moment I got to spend with her. There is good in almost everything although it can be difficult to see at first, but, with time, you can find bliss in the most simple of things. I am reminded of the song, “A Spoonful of Sugar” in the children’s movie, “Mary Poppins”. The first verse says:
In every job that must be done
There is an element of fun
You find the fun and snap!
The job’s a game
Likewise, if we find ourselves in a difficult circumstance, we can change the way we approach or feel about it by looking for the good, fun, and happy.
Now I couldn’t even imagine life without her sweet smile, her silly personality or awesome dance moves. She has made my life better in so many ways and she brings a new light and joy into my life that I never could have fathomed before having her. She is my little buddy, my shadow, my sunshine on a cloudy day, and I am so lucky that she is mine.
Motherhood is not easy. Motherhood is messy, emotional, complicated, an everyday struggle, but it’s also beautiful, magical, sweet, joyful, and is more amazing than I ever could express. Everyday isn’t perfect, some days are better than others. Sometimes I’m in tears because of the love I have for my daughter and other days I’m in tears for completely different reasons. I feel like my daughter is refining me and making me into a better, less selfish person; and I thought I would be the one teaching her! The truth is, motherhood changes every aspect of your life, the moment you become a mother your life will never be the same again. It’s the most difficult thing I have ever done, but also the greatest thing I have ever done.