This year I became a Mom.
I’m a Mom.
But I’m not the only one; countless other women became moms this year too. Maybe it was their first or their fourth…. Strangers, family members, even some of my friends. All Moms.
Yet here I am. Lonely. Never really alone though (why is my kid so obsessed with me?)
Being a Mom is something I was never too sure about, (hello rough childhood! But that’s a whole other story) as a little girl I never dreamed about my wedding or played with baby dolls always knowing I wanted to be a mom when I grew up. Hell, even 3 years ago I still wasn’t sure if being a mom was for me. But here I am, rocking my Sweet Pea to sleep and typing this as a note in my phone. Only now I know Mama is the best name I’ll ever have, it has been challenging, amazing, sleepless and just freaking fantastic!
No seriously. I loved every minute of my pregnancy, I went into labor at home and had a somewhat easy delivery and she is the absolute best baby, or maybe those are all those Mom goggles. I’m obsessed with her and have never loved anyone or anything so much. *Cue those postpartum waterworks*
But it’s hard. This whole Mom life is hard. Some days I cry just because I love her so much and some days I cry just because it’s hard. There’s this stigma that women shouldn’t need help or ask for it. And we don’t most of the time. We are super human. At least that’s what I like to tell myself! Working, raising babies, being wives, keeping home, being a friend. The list is endless. Yet we all feel alone and that Mom guilt all the time. I know I do. I’m now all of those titles and generally I feel like I’m failing, at least 90% of the time. I’m now a work-at-home, stay-at-home mom. An extremely grateful and blessed one but damn, some days are tough.
Being a photographer most of my job is sitting in my office. Alone. There’s that word I keep coming back to. But now I have a baby to take care of and somehow I’m just supposed to go back to work (most women anytime after 6 weeks!) and have it all figured out and still manage to do all of those things I listed above too. And let me tell you. I’m 5ish months in and I just don’t have it all figured out, truly I don’t think I ever will. I hate asking for help and most of the time I end up just getting short with my amazing husband because “why aren’t you doing something”. Like he’s supposed to read my mind and know what I’m thinking and how to help. But I don’t.. I don’t ask for help and I NEED to. I’m insanely obsessed with this little human I grew and brought into this world, I love her more than anything I ever dreamed to be imaginable and yet I struggle. . I’m sure all moms do but no one talks about it, that big giant elephant staring me straight in the face. I’m just not sure how to be anymore.
Where am I? Will I find my new way of life now that I’m mom?
I feel as if though I’ve lost my identity as a human a little. This little person runs my world, as she should but how can I now be Mama and me? Honestly, after 5 months I’m not sure I’ve found myself yet. There’s so much no one tells you when you’re going to have a baby. Like all of the gross things that will happen to you and how you’re honestly not going to give a f**k, or that you won’t sleep a wink while you’re in the hospital. And my favorite is just how many women actually have a miscarriage; I never dreamed that would happen to me… I’m now that statistic, 1 in 4
I never knew how awful I would feel and that trying again would be gut wrenching. And no one EVER told me that I would feel like the literal worst mom for getting overwhelmed now that I get to snuggle my baby when I should just be grateful to have her. But you do. I feel like I can’t leave her, I can’t need that help I talked about earlier, I can’t need a break, I’m not aloud to feel overwhelmed and just want to be selfish and watch a movie or have lunch with a real adult and just freaking talk about me and not my baby. I struggle y’all.
The first time I left her I was gone for 25 minutes to get a haircut and just this week got a second for the first time in about 4 months. Our first “date day” I think she was a little over 3 months; we went for pizza and to see a movie. And wouldn’t you know it, a little too judge-y family member stopped by, and apparently how dare we leave our baby? It’s just shit like that that causes us moms to be insane. I guess what I’m getting at is that now, as a new mom, there’s so much to learn, a human someone just let you leave a hospital with to keep alive, judge-y family, work, life, THERES JUST SO MUCH! And I’ve got to figure out how to do all of it and still take care of my own self, my physical and mental health. So far I’ve not mastered anything, every day is a struggle some less than others but still a struggle. I can only hope that as we grow as a family I can learn to take time for myself and remember that I need it as well and not feel like a shit mom for taking care of me.
So here I am, a not quite 27-year-old first time mom just trying to figure it all out. I’m working on learning to ask for help, how to manage it all, how to be me again and Mom. It will come with time I’m sure of it. But today and everyday this far, I take it day by day. The struggles, the loneliness.
Day by day.
I repeat that in my mind, my mantra like the little engine that could.
And today, even with my daily struggles, that work/life balance trying to still be a friend, wife and have some me time. I remind myself how wonderful life is, how blessed and grateful I am to be with my baby girl every day and set my own schedule, not having to miss a milestone or special day with her. Take that random trip to the zoo, or Target… (Come on, we ALL cruise those aisles aimlessly.) I get to set my own rules and guidelines for how to do life these days, knowing they may need modified to adjust with everyday life and the ever-changing ways of life with a child. When I’m working, I’m working. And when I’m not, I’m mom, it’s her time, I’ve learned life may be jumbled into one but I need to learn to be present in whatever task is at hand or one or the other is going to suffer. It means not working the day after being gone photographing a wedding all day, or a Saturday because it’s a designated family day. Someday it will mean saying, “Mommy will play with you (no distractions) for an hour and then I have to work. Still, who knows, that will all probably go to shit more often than it should, and I’ll fail.. again. But tomorrow will be a new day. Day by day. Day by day. I’ll never forget that feeling of failing her but her amazing resilient self and unconditional love for me. She will. She will wake up the next day never thinking of yesterday, not knowing my internal struggles, she will look up smiling at me and she will give me another chance. And that’s all that matters, knowing she loves me and is taken care of, even though we are all out here struggling to juggle it all and out here always feeling judged as hell, I know I can do this and I know you can do this.
Day by day.
Abbie is someone I instantly connected with from the moment she took mine and Seth’s engagement photos. She literally has been with us since day one, capturing all of our life’s big moments. She was one of the first people to know we were expecting Henry and Matilda both. She helped me in moments she didn’t even know she helped with. Being there for me during the struggles of being a new mother and just letting a person vent. When she told me she was expecting baby Sutton I was completely ecstatic for her. I had seen her patience and the way she was with my own two little ones, I knew she was going to make a great Mother. Thank you, Abbie. Thank you for allowing me to share your story on my blog and to open up about being a new mommy!
P.S. If you are looking for a bomb photographer that takes flawless pictures. Abbie is your girl!
To follow along with the series you click the names below and ENJOY!