Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Lessons learned from motherhood

Before I had children I never knew how much strength it takes to be a mom. It's strength that's needed in all its glorious forms: physical, mental and emotional. There is no amount of training that can prepare you for motherhood.

When Ryan was in the hospital with RSV, it took all the strength I had not to completely freak out. Sitting in the hospital holding my then-4-month-old son, counting his breathes and watching his chest cave in with every breath was the hardest thing I ever had to do. It took every ounce of strength not to break down in tears. I needed to remain calm, I needed to be strong for my son. I needed to project calm feelings to keep him calm. It wouldn't do anyone any good to have a screaming, tense baby and a screaming tense mom.

Before I was a mom, I never knew real fear. Sure, I've been scared, but it was nothing compared to the overwhelming emotion that takes over every thought and movement when it comes to my children.

I've had nightmares, in fact I had one last night, about my children being in danger. Last night I jumped out of bed and called my husband's name as I ran down the hall to my daughter's bedroom. In my dream, Sophia was sitting at the kitchen table having dinner and she started choking. Her face turned blue and, in my dream and in real life, I jumped up to save her. My husband woke up to the sound of me jumping out of bed and yelling his name. I still haven't fully explained my dream to him because I couldn't bring myself to talk about it last night.

Sometimes fear can take over and make me not want to leave the house. Here is this tiny, helpless child who I protected in my womb for 40 long weeks, when all of a sudden, there she is, exposed to all the elements. After the birth of each of my children, I became completely consumed, I would say fiercely consumed, with the need to protect them.

Before I was a mother, there were so many things that I didn't know about myself. I didn't know I was capable of functioning with little to no sleep. I didn't know I could love the smell of little baby feet or baby hair. I didn't know how calm I could be and how quick I could react. I didn't understand what a mother's instinct was, until I had it.

Most importantly, before I was a mom I never really understood my own mom. Becoming a mother has given me an insight to her that I could never have know before I had children of my own.

I am so thankful that my children have given me the opportunity to be their mother.


Tara said...

I've read your blog before and really enjoyed it. Thanks for a great post!

I submitted you at my table. :)

Diane said...

Thanks. I've read your blog several times before too. That video of your daughter with the jelly beans (http://taragernerziegmont.blogspot.com/2008/04/jelly-beans.html) is priceless.

Thanks for adding me to your table.