When my husband and I found out we were going to have a baby, it was very exciting. A little fraction of a peanut in an ultrasound photo. The first photo of a lifetime.
Instantly life changes. You haven’t even looked your child in the eye and already your planning everything in your power to keep them safe, healthy, loved, educated and included.
I loved being pregnant. Sure at 30 weeks it’s not pleasant getting kicked in the ribs; and I never knew heartburn was so painfully uncomfortable. I read a lot about the development through each stage and found it fascinating. It’s so amazing how communication and interaction start in the womb. I am still in awe of how a child grows and learns to this day.
Babycentre.com sent helpful weekly updates to my email. I am still receiving the toddler pages.
As I grew to become noticeably pregnant, I was humbly surprised by how strangers of all walks of life started to treat me. Sure, it is a common courtesy to give up your seat, hold the door or help the elderly, pregnant or disabled up the stairs. I was having people point out ice and walk me around it, offer meals, bring me tea, carry bags, clean snow off my car. I felt the true essence of “it takes a village to raise a child”. It warms my heart to feel first hand how much people value and cherish the life of a child.
I’ll tell you, I have a terrible memory, but those memories of first kicks and when my daughter was lying on my chest after being born she looked at me with one eye; nothing will take those away. These moments, and many more firsts, are my most valued treasures.
Being a Mom is hard work. In the beginning I was having internal battles while dealing through the obvious sleep, hormone, feeding and infant care issues. Each time you think there’s a calm clearing of the fog, your baby goes through a growth spurt, new developmental stage or starts teething.
I was told by my midwife to take a big deep breath and let it out slowly every time I was overwhelmed or tense. Your child feels the rate of your heart and hears heavy shallow breathing, then emulates it. If you can just slow yourself down and become calm by letting your lungs fill with air and taking that moment in; it will calm your child in the same way. This advice has really stuck with me. I consciously do this as needed. I believe my daughter mimics this and regularly benefits from it. For the record, having a midwife was a very fulfilling, personal, educational, supportive experience and I urge everyone who is pregnant to find a local midwifery.
So, my daughter is now 22 months and I ask where the time has gone. She is running, climbing, hopping, forming sentences in conversation, eating at the table, peeing in the potty, showing true affection and care, getting dressed, singing and acting like the little person she is.
In amongst all the busy routines, temper tantrums, relationship challenges and hormones; I think every mom has moments of clarity in keeping sane while smiling through it all. I’m hoping other moms share moments like these…
• Instead of putting your breakfast bagel on a plate you put it on the placemat to save dishes.
• You skip having a meal just so you can finish something while your child eats.
• You make up a game called naptime for your toddler to play so u can rest in one spot with your feet up.
• You have more “pyjama days” than you’ll ever admit.
• You loose track of time enough to miss lunch time.
• You distract your child by putting on their favourite tv show just so you can go to the bathroom, clean the kitchen or cook dinner.
As a parent, I now have the urgent need to make a will. Not only so my daughter is financially better off and keeps family keepsakes and heirlooms. Also, so her guardian is a trusted, familiar friend or family member that would parent her much like I would. I recently read that it is not a given that law would put her with family. They would put her in foster care or the equivalent. This terrifies me and makes me sick to think about.
All I know for sure is that I will forever treasure and love my baby girl.
I will protect her with my life.
I will truly listen to what she says no matter how silly, important or painful it might be.
I will be present.
I will do everything I can to give her what she wants and needs.
I will be open and available for her whenever she needs me.
I will make mistakes.
I will never hurt her.
I will teach her all that I know, don’t know and would like to have known.
I will let her experience new things at her own pace.
I will support her in her choices.
I will encourage her to play, explore and read.
This is just the tip of the iceberg and I look forward to the journey.