I was reading the latest issue of The Mother magazine and a line in one of the articles struck me. She was talking about the birth of her first child and I came across this line.
"I know why I was so afraid. I knew that a part of me would die when she was born"
I found this an incredibly powerful and true statement that moved me to have a good hard think. A part of you really does die when you meet your firstborn. Life as you know it is forever changed and you will never be the same. In our western culture we mostly resist this change, trying to make our baby become a part of our old life. By doing this we can really miss out on an opportunity to grow. The article goes on to say-
"what I didn't know was that it was OK to grieve and that every ending would also be a beginning"
We are not encouraged to mourn that loss of self, to turn inward as a new season begins in our lives-but at the same time we are also not always encouraged to go with the flow and let your life be turned upside down for the new person in your life.
I can really relate to that terror of being a new Mama. On Tannah's second night earthside I sent Luke home from the hospital to get some sleep (I know lol) and the drugs that had made my poor baby so sleepy wore off. She was in pain from the injury she sustained from the ventouse and her mother had no clue what she was doing. She started to scream and scream and scream. I remember like it was yesterday-the feeling of utter panic and fear. What had I done? What was I doing? I knew in that moment that life as I knew it would never be the same again and I was afraid. I rang Luke after about 4 hours, in tears and told him to come help me. But it took me that long to ask. I couldn't see the new beginning right in front of me. All I could think about was how I would never get any sleep and how my baby must hate me because I couldn't fix her pain and how I felt so damn alone in a stupid hospital and how I wanted things to go back to before. I was holding on tight to my old self.
I wish I could have had a magic slide show then of all the incredible moments I have had with my firstborn, I could have smelled what her hair smells like now, heard her singing to her Ponies, seen her smile, heard the music that is her laugh and felt her arms around my neck. I wish that I could have known that being a parent would change me for the better in ways I could have never imagined and how my children would be my greatest teachers. I wish I could have know then that all the horror stories were wrong and that I would enjoy being a Mama so much.
I get a bit of "wow! you do all that with 3 kids" from a few friends with one child and I can't explain how it just gets easier (mostly lol)- the jump from no children to one child was (for me) the hardest of them all because I had to let go of my old life and trust that it would all be OK. I do grieve for my old life sometimes, I cried all the way through a Triple J You Am I concert on TV once because I wanted so badly to go, but most of the time I'm growing as a person, and my kids are too. The beginnings are so worth the endings.