Friday, May 15, 2009

What a Feeling!

With my first Mother's Day behind me, I have been asked a lot about how I feel as a mom. I've heard it said that while men become fathers once their baby is born, women become mothers the second they find out they are pregnant. While I can see some truth in that, I really had no idea what it meant to be a mom until Ethan was born. Actually, in all honesty, I think it took me a bit longer that that. The first few days, weeks, even months, are such a whirlwind that they seem almost surreal. Every waking moment is spent in anticipation of the next, second guessing decisions, holding your breath, marveling in the beauty of the tiny creature that you created. I went through a mental checklist every time I scooped newborn Ethan into my arms (1: Wrap the baby straight jacket swaddle, 2: Support his head, 3: Bounce, jiggle, rock, repeat). I sanitized EVERYTHING, and made all visitors scrub like surgeons before touching the baby. I changed my body wash and shampoo to neutral scents that wouldn't offend Ethan's delicate sense of smell, and washed my clothes in baby detergent so that his skin wouldn't be irritated when in my arms. I caught glances of myself in the mirror, babe in tow, and almost didn't recognize myself.

Wow, how things have changed.

I was chatting with a friend the other day while Ethan squirmed on my lap. Instead of jumping up and starting the frantic bounce/jiggle/rock dance, I stayed seated and switched Ethan's position about five times without missing a beat in the conversation. It was then that I was hit with the realization that (while extraordinary) being a mom has become ordinary. Routine. Comfortable. Delightful. I really like this mellow mama version of myself much better. Mental checklists are out the window, except when leaving the house (Diapers? Check. Wipes? Check. Cheerios? Check. Keys? Where are my keys?). I let the dog lick Ethan's face, and allow Ethan to "explore" (ie: chew on) Max's toys. I am guilty of blowing dirt off of a dropped piece of food and popping it back into his mouth. I'll scoop up my non-swaddled, sturdy boy ten different ways, sometimes even *gasp* throwing him into the air or flipping him upside down. I can change a diaper in less than 30 seconds flat. I make baby food. I sing lullabies. I stare in wonder as my little man discovers the world around him. I'd rather be home than anywhere else in the world. Okay, that's a lie, I'd rather be on a beautiful sandy beach in an exotic foreign country, but only if my boys are with me. I know that with each new phase I'll learn and feel something different. For now, though, I can say that I've learned what it feels like to be a mom, and it is incredible.


Anonymous said...

You articulated this SO WELL Sarah! ;) I'm so very glad you put these thoughts down for us to read!

I've experienced my own baby learning curve, as well. Not through having my own (gosh, no!) but through being friends with another Sarah and hanging out with her and her (now) 2 year old and newborn. I have gone from barely being comfortable hanging out in the same room and not knowing what to do EVER, to holding (gasp) an infant w/ a floppy body.

I still have my limits (diapers - yuck!) and don't quite know how to soothe a colicky baby, but I've become quite the Auntijen! :)

I'm so glad that you have become quite the Supermom!

Emily & Luke said...

Beautiful! Isn't it wonderful? And that picture is beautiful!