On Becoming A Mom & Motherhood So Far

 

Honest thoughts on motherhood

I didn’t know what to expect motherhood to be like. I could conjure up images in my head of what it might LOOK like — sleepless nights, sweet baby feet, cuddles, dressing up my little mini-me, idyllic afternoons doing all sorts of wonderful things while my baby napped. But I couldn’t really imagine what it would feel like.

This is what it looked like sometimes — no sleep…literally running on empty. Feeling like a zombie.

 

Basically everything I thought it would look like….was wrong. Or just different, maybe? I feel like that is like a lot of things — trips, big events, etc. Reality is typically a lot different than our expectations and romanticized visions of it before we experience it. But it’s better in ways. And in some ways I found myself thinking THIS IS NOT WHAT I IMAGINED IT TO BE WHY IS THIS BABY NOT PEACEFULLY SNOOZING RIGHT NOW WHILE I DO ALL THE CRAFTS (reader, I never did crafts before Riley) AND BECOME A DOMESTIC GODDESS.

I think a lot of it, for me, was that I couldn’t imagine something that for years I wasn’t sure if I even wanted.

I grew up always just assuming I would have kids…I mean, that was what I thought women did…got married and then had babies. Then Will and I started dating seriously and we’d say things like “well when we have kids…” which was normally when we were totally judging parents whose kids were running amok as naive early 20-somethings.

And then we got married.

AND I LOVED OUR LIFE. I loved our spontaneous trips. I loved doing what we wanted. I loved the family unit of the two of us…and then when we added little Finn dog to our family. I started to seriously question whether or not I even wanted kids. I started asking myself what *I* wanted for me life. Will was 10000% sure he wanted a kid and he wasn’t budging and there was a little friction there between us because all before we were married it was assumed we would have kids based on how we talked our future….but then something in me changed and questioned if THAT was what I wanted.

People would ask me as I started approaching my late 20’s and I’d tell them I wasn’t sure if I wanted kids and they’d be like “SURE YOU DO! YOU’LL CHANGE YOUR MIND.” And that frustrated me. What if I didn’t?? It almost made me want to just NOT have a kid just to be spiteful. I really and truly didn’t know if I wanted kids. I thought maybe some FEELING would kick in that would help me decide.

As I approached 30 I still was undecided but I knew I wanted to make a decision one way or another which felt like a really weird decision to make — like if I wanted my pizza with just cheese or with pepperoni. Shouldn’t I have like this super motherly feeling like OMG I WANT TO BE A MOM?!? Shouldn’t I see a baby and feel my ovaries explode? Shouldn’t I just KNOW something so important?? I mean, this isn’t like food regret of picking the wrong topping on your pizza…this is being responsible for being a tiny human.

But I didn’t. Basically I was at a crossroads — I was in the middle with either option. Which felt wrong? Like I should not be so divided on something like that. I could imagine our life without a kid and, while I couldn’t always fully imagine it with a kid I couldn’t see myself regretting it and, honestly, the thought of Will being a dad made me happy because he’s so amazing with my nieces and I could just tell it was something he wanted with all his being. Whereas I couldn’t seem to feel either with much conviction.

Luckily around that time I met my friend Agata and I had never ever met anyone who felt the same way as me — because everyone in my life seemed to KNOW definitively.  She was pregnant and ready to have her baby and I instantly felt better talking to her especially after she had her daughter. She made me feel more okay with where I was at than anyone else. She also didn’t have those OMG I WANT TO BE A MOM feelings either and everything was okay.

So I decided to have a baby.

And we got pregnant VERY quickly which I wasn’t expecting. I was hit pretty bad with morning sickness that was pretty much 24/7 and I got kinda depressed. And then I started feeling guilty. Guilty that here I was, a woman who wasn’t even sure she wanted a baby, when there were SO MANY WOMAN who want it in the deepest depths of their soul and can’t get pregnant…and then I just get pregnant. I felt so guilty and it ate me alive.

As that little baby inside me grew and I could feel her and see my belly expand…I think I dipped my toes into seeing myself as a mom.

 

And then she was born….and I was the mom to a tiny human that literally needed 1000% of me. (Who let me go home with a child?? I can barely take care of myself).

 

Literally my first seconds of seeing her after laboring all day, pushing for 4 hours and getting my lady bits destroyed

And as you know it was a pretty rough birth and recovery ahead of me. I was hit with the postpartum depression really hard within the first week and it just kept getting worse. In the darkest parts of some of that time, when I felt out of control and ill-prepared, I would cry I JUST WANT TO BE HER MOM MORE THAN ANYTHING. Which was a new feeling for me — to know definitively — that I wanted to be the mom to this little human. I knew I wanted to get better for her and that I would do anything I needed to. I got help. And I got better.

I was able to be myself again…while trying to figure out this whole motherhood thing. It was still hard at times and an adjustment. I struggled really hard with my identity. But I was slowly embracing it as I was taking care of myself.

And here we are….4 months into motherhood.

(this is the sweater I talked about in this post!!)

It still isn’t always what I thought it would be, it’s messy af sometimes and honestly in most ways it is better than I could have imagined (I’m only saying that because she had a good day and night last night…ask me tomorrow). Settling into the mom role was a struggle for me as I really do have a hard time with change….let alone one of the biggest changes of my life.

It felt a lot like when you do something totally new with your hair and you just aren’t sure if it fits you. Some moments you are like YES work it girl and other moments you convince yourself it’s hideous and looks weird. And at times you walk past your reflection and almost don’t recognize yourself. It just takes a little time to settle into it and get used to what it looks like, how it feels to wash it (isn’t washing your hair after a major haircut a bizarre feeling?), how to best style it, what it looks best with/what makeup compliments it, etc.

I still can’t explain motherhood.

It’s the most bizarre thing sometimes. In the beginning I remember crying and crying because I had this baby who only wanted to sleep on me and the other day I was like “awww man remember when she used to snuggle up on me..that was so cute?” And then I was like LOL way to really see that differently than it occurred, self. Or how the other day I had a whole afternoon away which was like PRAISE THE LORD but I spent the whole time missing her. Like whaaaat?

It’s the hardest thing sometimes. When I’m just so tired and don’t feel like getting up to feed her or when I just want to go do something that I want to do ALONE or when I just want to spend the whole afternoon under the covers with the book. When I don’t know what she wants. When I just miss being selfish with my time. When I need to make a big decision for her. It feels so hard. And it can be so confusing. Like your mind just got off the Tilt-a-Whirl.

It’s the best thing sometimes. Seriously, I never understood it. I love when she smiles at me and laughs at me. I love watching her learn new things. I love how excited she gets when I come to get her out of her crib. I love snuggling with her and reading books to her. She just melts my heart sometimes and everything is seriously so worth it.

And sometimes it just is what it is. Some days I don’t have time to think about motherhood as I go through my daily life. It just is what it is. I feel like it’s always BEEN the way my life has been. I can’t imagine when it wasn’t like this (which lol it’s only been 4 months). I just get up and I DO IT.

But 1000% motherhood is quite the learning experience and adjustment. I have learned so many things in my 4 months of being a mom and learned so much about MYSELF through this experience. Maybe I will talk about some of those things sometime.

I was talking to a friend about motherhood the other day, and she asked how I was feeling knowing that I never knew if I wanted a baby, and my reply was this:

(seriously super in love with this comfy sweater from Target and I kiiiinda want to buy it in all colors especially since it is on sale)

I know I could have been 10000% happy and content if we didn’t have a kid. I know I would have never regretted it. I can see Will and I (and Finn) growing into old age together with no kid. But I literally cannot even imagine my life without HER at this point. I just know I’m so happy and content in general right now as I navigate this season of my life that is motherhood and that’s all that really matters to me.

 

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 30 year old married lady who is in denial that she’s actually that old. When she’s not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, listening to music with oversized headphones and having adventures with her husband and dog.

Comments

  1. This post was so sweet, omg ❤️ I remember seeing how you were perfectly fine without ever having a kid and now you’re a mum and you seem like such a great one! Do you think sometime in the future Riley will have a sibling (or if she’ll be an only child)?
    But I totally understand, because I’m so incredibly selfish with my time, that I don’t even know if I want a kid. Like I have a hard time even imagining having a bf, because it means I’d have to share my time with another person.

  2. Donna Gambale says:

    I was 100000000% in the same boat regarding ambivalence toward becoming a mother in my late 20s… and the reasoning behind deciding to have a baby…. and how easy it was to get pregnant/accompanying guilt — basically you wrote my story. I’m three months in and writing this after my son’s first 6 hour stretch of sleep (hallelujah!). You hit the nail on the head on how new motherhood feels! Thanks for giving me something to read in the middle of the night!

  3. Ciara Smyth says:

    I was reading about a recent study where women talk about their feelings around children and it was fascinating. There were mothers who said, and I’m paraphrasing here, “people talk about how hard it is but then they smile and it’s all worth it. Well it’s not all worth it because of a smile. Don’t be ridiculous.”

    You obviously adore her. But I think it’s ok to long for the other life sometimes, the one without ‘non specific children’ rather than your specific daughter (does that make sense?) and to not always feel like the little things make it ‘worth it’. Some days they will. Some days you’ll think ‘I can get an f-ing smile from any kid on the street.’ 😛

    It’s all ok is what I’m getting at. All the feelings are ok ones.

  4. Ah, I needed this today! I have had so many of the same thoughts. My husband and I dated for a long time before we got married, and as soon as we got married, he wanted to have kids. And I was like, wait, did we ever even talk about that? I never thought we were those people whose dream it was to have a big family. And now we’re getting older, and we’re working our way through this. I worry about what kind of mother I would be and how our life would change. It reassures me a lot that you didn’t necessarily have that strong desire to have kids, but it’s all working out now that your daughter is here. It’s nice to hear other people’s stories without them judging you, like I sometimes feel with people in my own life (when they question when we’re having kids or try to “reassure” me that I would feel different about my own kids).

    Your little family is so beautiful, and I’m looking forward to reading more about whatever you choose to share about motherhood.

  5. Isn’t this the realest thing!

    I totally get you on the looking back with regards to cuddles. Granted, with Teddy he didn’t always need to be cuddled to fall asleep but he was totally cool with being held and cuddled and chill. Now he will tolerate being cuddled and chilling out while he’s taking a bottle and when he’s super tired. Otherwise, he wants to play and to roll around. Also he has to be sitting up, god forbid he be held in the other direction.

    It’s interesting being a mom when you weren’t even sure that’s what you wanted. For me, I wanted it at some point but like I had this idea of the order my life should be in. I wanted to get engaged and then get married and then have a year or so of marriage and then get pregnant. But nope, one very very drunken night later that life plan is all out of order.

    I am glad I am not the only one with guilt about getting pregnant so easily whereas other people in my life are having such a struggle. My sister in law is finally pregnant after a round of IVF and it was guilt inducing and aggravating that during my pregnancy I had to be almost on egg shells, at least with the announcing of it. Like, it sucked to have to be so mindful ALL the time.

    Also, I just want to say I love the direction you are going with your blog. I hardly read book blogs anymore or really even put my heart all that much into blogging. Yours though is one I actually care to read and comment on. So, nice job.

  6. I don’t think I’ve ever seen or heard someone talk about being ambivalent towards kids, so honestly seeing you talk about this is so reassuring. I’m in a pretty similar situation as you: before marriage it seemed like a given that we would have kids, but in the past year or so something in me has changed and I’ve been more like “Wait, I don’t know if I actually want kids.” I don’t have that strong “OMG I want to be a mom” feeling and can see being 1000% fine without them, but my husband wants at least one. Not right away, but it’s hard when he’s all for it and I’ve become more and more unsure. And now that we’re married everyone keeps asking if/when (but mostly “when”, ugh) we’re going to have kids and it’s like OMG STOP. If we did have kids we’d definitely wait a while so maybe my feelings will change in 5 years or so, but it’s a strange place to be. However, it’s comforting seeing that you were in the same spot and everything turned out well for you. I truly appreciate how open and honest you are about your experiences.

  7. This is such a great post! My story’s a little different, but similar. I grew up knowing that I would have kids some day, but never really feeling excited about the possibility. It was basically something that I just wanted to get out of the way so I could get back to my career. Then I met my husband who has ALWAYS wanted to be a dad and the reason I knew he was the one was because he made me want to be a mom too. Even then, becoming a mom was something I felt super nervous and anxious about. We decided to start trying for kids a couple years into our marriage and even though we were both in our mid-20s, we just weren’t getting pregnant. I think more than anything, that’s what made me more committed to doing this. The first few months of not getting pregnant were an odd mixture of disappointment and relief. But then after a while it just started to be disappointment and I wasn’t feeling that relief anymore. Luckily, modern medicine is AMAZING and we were finally able to get pregnant after two years of trying. Now I’m 15 weeks along and starting to get nervous again, but I just know that I want this baby so bad! Thank you for sharing your path to motherhood. It’s comforting to hear real stories–not just the Instagrammable ones.

  8. I love this post.
    My husband and I have been together for 8 years (dated for a little over 6 and married for almost 2). Everyone asks me all the time when will I be pregnant?! If I mention one day that I’m tired everyone goes around saying I must finally be pregnant. I have patients who do nothing but tell me I need to be pregnant or I need to want children.
    I have a very busy life. I work a full time job during the weekdays and I work a part time one at nights and weekends. I work all the time so I hardly get me time as it is. I just don’t know that I would have the time to be a good mom since I’m selfish with the limited time I do have. I want time with my husband and newly rescued dog. For now that is all I need. So I love that you weren’t over the moon about wanting a baby earlier on. I’m in my late 20s and I’m still not over the moon about the idea.
    Sorry for the rambles.

  9. Lovely post!! I was like that with our son, too. I was never one of those girls that just wanted to get married and pop out 5 kids. I knew I wanted kids…someday…in the future…not sure when… We were married six years before we got pregnant (on accident) and he’s the best gift I never knew I needed. He’s five now, and the time just flies. Enjoy this time! (as best as you can sleep deprived and spit-up splattered, lol!)

  10. Thank you so much for your honesty in this post. I am surrounded by friends who are all having kids now, and while at 20 I was like, of course I am going to do that, it wasn’t because I thought about it and knew it was what I wanted. It was because that is what people did. Now I am actually takin the time to think about it…and I’m not sure if its for me. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but I love how honest you were about your ambivalence as well. There are many different lifestyles, and many different ways to have a family (adopt! Foster! step kids!) and we all need to make the decision best for us.

  11. Kimberly Jensen says:

    Jamie, your birth photo is BEAUTIFUL. I totally get you with feeling like it’s always been this way. It’s so weird that its only been 4 months… How is that even possible?

    I can’t even tell you how much your thoughts about getting pregnant quickly touches me. We really struggled to get pregnant and had met with an OB and a fertility specialist before we got pregnant, and in that time I had some of the worst things said to me. Questions of which one of us had “the problem”. (They wanted to know if it was me or Dan. And really, WHO asks that?!?) I was told that maybe we weren’t “meant to be parents” because it was taking longer… So many ridiculous things.

    But the fact that you are aware of how fortunate you are, and that you know that others have struggled, means so much.

  12. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone talk about being ambivalent towards wanting kids, everyone seems to be oh so for it, your life won’t be complete without kids, or super against it. I’m the latter, honestly really can’t picture myself with kids, and it really annoys me when I tell people I don’t want kids and they say I’ll change my mind and my friends joke that because I’m so against the idea of having kids, I’ll be the first to have them. Like I know what I want and kids have never really fitted into my idea of what I want for the future, so I doubt I’ll change my mind, unless I’m with someone who really wants them.

  13. This post has me feeling all sorts of emotions. I think there are so many of us who feel that children are just part of getting married. I know it was that way for me. I can’t say I ever really wanted kids, not in that consuming way you see with some women. I can’t say I really ever liked kids; I never was fond of babysitting. It never dawned on me that not having kids when married was something you could do, so it was something that neither my husband nor I ever discussed. It was always “when we have kids”. Then I got pregnant about eight months earlier than we had planned. My first reaction to the news was “oh, shit.” And not in a good way. I don’t think I ever really warmed up to the idea of motherhood until Connor was a few months old. (Things changed with my second child, who was very much wanted from before conception.)

    I do wonder sometimes how different our life would be now if we had opted not to have children. Some of this is a natural thought as my children hit their teens and move out of the house. I know there is no way to answer that question, but when the kids are at their worst, I still wonder if it is worth it. I can say I do think motherhood is like any relationship. There are times that you love every minute of it, and there are times when you want out and wonder what ever possessed you to get involved in the first place. That is the one constant in the odd thing that is being a mother.

  14. Solidarity. I wasn’t sure one way or another on being a mom. But I did want to see what our babies would look like! I think I mostly wanted to start in case it was hard to get pregnant, but like you, happened very quickly (both times. We have 2). Some days I’m still not sure but I also can’t imagine not knowing them!

  15. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for your honesty on this. I relate a lot and have felt a lot of guilt for not having overwhelming maternal desires when I always assumed I would have a kid.

  16. Oh, my word. I just love this post so stinkin’ much. It is so rare to hear honestly from women who felt the way you did. I never thought I would have kids, but it was mostly because I couldn’t ever picture the person whom I would have kids with. Once I met my husband, I wanted the family and white picket fence with him.

    But, before we even got pregnant we talked about how we would feel if it turned out that we couldn’t have kids. My husband would have been disappointed, but it wouldn’t have affected our love for each other. We’d probably just get a dog, take some trips, and continue to love on each other.

    All that word vomit is to say, that it’s refresing to hear a woman’s perspective who isn’t sure about motherhood. I love my kids but I don’t have a maternal bone in my body for other people’s children. Kids aren’t something that comes naturally to me and I have to believe that there are other women out there like me, too!

  17. Thank you so much Jamie for your honesty, sincerity and these beautiful words <3
    Wish you the best for the future 🙂

  18. So refreshing to hear this POV! I’m coming up on my 30th birthday (and one year of marriage) and I feel like everyone assumes that we’ll be having kids soon…and I’m just not sure! We love our life with our pug and all of our travels, and although I can totally see us with kids…I can also see us really happy continuing this lifestyle with maybe another dog! Only time will tell, but it’s nice to hear how things can shift from this viewpoint to actually having a kid. She’s adorable, keep up all the great mothering! 🙂

  19. This is a such inspiring post! I am not yet a mom and getting married would probably take a year or so. But this post makes me feel like when I get to that point in my life that I am going to be a mother, it is going to be difficult but worth it. I just hope that my health conditions would not hinder any of my plans of having my own cute little family.

  20. My daughter is almost two, and I tell everyone that motherhood is the most amazing and most terrible thing I’ve ever done. It is quite literally ALL. THE. THINGS. sometimes within the space of a minute! I think we’ve all just got to be a little more forgiving of ourselves and enjoy this crazy ride! Happy Thanksgiving!

  21. Now I am crying! But they are happy tears. This is beautiful. My path to motherhood was NOT the one I planned or wanted, but my daughter the most precious gift I ever received. I will always treasure the privilege of being her mother. I wish I could go back to when she was little, and just hold her in my arms forever. Happy Thanksgiving!

  22. I relate so hard to this. <3 The part of questioning wanting kids (though I did it silently, I didn't share), getting pregnant really quickly (Like we didn't even try and whoops there I was pregnant while a friend had been trying for a while so I felt guilty too) post partum depression and stuff. I'm working on building down my dose of anti depressants so hopefully next year I will be meds free. But we'll see.

    I don't miss Merijn when he is a day at grandpa, I get to blast music, but I'm glad when he gets home. <3

    I never knew that I still had so much to learn about myself that I did learn during the first year or so of being a mom.

  23. I feel like I could’ve written this. You described my feelings on motherhood so perfectly, and it makes me feel so happy I’m not alone. And for real, I hate that so many people refuse to admit they miss being selfish with their time! Like, I MISS reading all day, and if I mention it to any moms I know they act like they never want alone time anymore and I truly think it’s a big lie. I think one of the hardest changes for me was adjusting to a tiny human who needed me 24/7 no matter how tired, sick, or lazy I’m feeling at the moment.

    I don’t really ever comment on things that people post, I’m pretty shy, but I just had to tell you that you’re so not alone and I also really wanted to thank you for your honesty. Your posts have helped me so much, and I thought you should know that. I had my boy in April, and I’ve been struggling with post partum depression and anxiety ever since then, and I just didn’t want to ever tell anyone or admit it, because it’s so taboo. I truly appreciate your posts on motherhood, I appreciate your forward ness talking about experiencing Ppd. I actually just recently admitted to my husband that I think I need to seek help for it, and I’m hoping that it helps me because all these months later I still feel like I’m not truly being my sons mom to the best of my ability.

    • <3333 Thank you for your comment! I plan to come back and comment fully but just wanted to acknowledge that I read it and I'm here for you!! <33

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