A flood of emotions overtake you. Crying. Smiling. Dancing around the bathroom. Tears. Fears. Uncertain of the journey that lies before you now.
The smells. The nausea. So tired you could sleep for days. Or perhaps not.
You're belly is growing. Although, no one else can tell just yet, you can feel it.
The announcement. Whether it's joyfully accepted or maybe frowned upon, one thing remains the same. God placed that baby in your womb. He makes no mistakes.
You read all the books, compare all the baby stuff, and wear those ridiculous looking but much more comfortable elastic waisted jeans.
Wait. Was that a kick? It's hard to tell at first, but at some point it becomes undeniable. There is most certainly life inside you.
Your belly swells. Your hips begin to sway. Ok, just face it. You're waddling. The day is drawing near.
They say, "Oh, just wait until you see your baby for the first time. The joy! The overwhelming love! All stuff good just floods in!"
Anxious. Nervous. Excited.
Achy. Tired. Ready. You worry that just maybe your body won't know what to do.
The time has come. The day you have been waiting for for 9 months now. You will finally meet your baby. But there is hard work ahead of you.
Natural or medicated. Hospital or home.
These feelings. Aches. Pains. The rush that comes when your belly tightens, and your body works to push that baby down. They're all new to you, but soon enough you will know them well. You're excited at first. Energized even. But the hours go by. Maybe 3. Maybe 12. You start to doubt. Can I do this? I DON'T WANT TO DO THIS!
Then that moment comes. Uncontrollable. That baby is coming.
Or maybe God had other plans. It's not what you wanted. This isn't how it was supposed to be. Panic. Fear. Doctors rushing and cutting.
Either way, the end result is the same. Pink or purple, slimy and screaming, your baby is here.
Relief. OH THE RELIEF! All of your hard work is over. You grab hold of that baby. You are ready to just soak it all in, and just start oozing of joy and happiness and love for your baby.
But all you can think about is how completely exhausted you are.
The time that follows is a hustle of visitors. Family and friends oohing and ahhing over your little bundle of "joy". But then it all calms, and what is left is you and your baby.
Sleepless nights. Baby cries. You nurse. And nurse. And nurse. Your nipples crack and bleed. So terribly sore. Your body is definitely NOT your own anymore.
In the deep dark of the night, you sit there in bed with this tiny, precious child at your ever so full breast. Between the lack of sleep and hormones going crazy, you begin to doubt. Those overwhelming feelings of love and joy you were supposed to feel? Are instead replaced by fears of being inadequate.
But I want you to know, sweet, sleep deprived and overwhelmed mama, you are not alone. Those feelings of failure have been felt by every other mother. We may put on our happy faces or pretend we've got it all together, but by golly we don't.
I thought something was wrong. I was supposed to be so happy and in love with my baby that the lack of sleep and 24/7 demands of my baby wouldn't matter. But all I wanted was to have a moment to myself, and I became overwhelmed with what was ahead of me raising this child. Every night, for the first couple of weeks, at about 9pm I couldn't help but just cry. Over anything and nothing. Or I would be sitting there at night with an inconsolable (which I would later realize was gassy) crying baby and think, "Everything. It is up to me (and yes, daddy too) to teach him everything, and I am certain I will fail." Or there was the, "Well, it's settled. I will never, ever sleep again, and my husband will sleep on the couch forever."
I feel like it's not talked about enough, how hard that first baby is. Personally, I would have loved if someone was real with me about it, instead of just getting the, "Ya better sleep now, because when the baby comes you ain't gettin' any. Hahaha."
I think expecting new moms need to be prepared for the good AND bad. And I totally get it! No one wants to go up to that glowing and happy soon to be mommy and say, "So, I know you think it's all going to be just sweet snuggles and soft baby skin kisses, buuuttt..."
So, yes. That first baby is HARD. The labor and birth are HARD. Trying to survive on little to no sleep for days and days (maybe weeks) is HARD. Dealing with the terrible pains from nursing is HARD. Trying to calm a screaming baby who won't be soothed no matter what you try is HARD. Letting go of life as you knew it is HARD. Feeling like a failure at something that's apparently supposed to come naturally is HARD.
BUT! Having survived that first baby myself, and gone on to have a second...and a third...I can honestly say: IT GETS BETTER! The discomforts that come from giving birth will cease, and your body will feel normal again. You WILL sleep again (or at least your body will adapt to needing less sleep). You will get to know your baby and figure out his likes and dislikes. You will create a new, and even more fulfilling life. Your love for your child will grow to depths you didn't think it could go. You will become more sure of yourself and your abilities to mother. But most importantly, you will realize....
They are so worth it.
Side note: Although, I don't believe I had it, if you have feelings of depression, anxiety, worries, etc that last for a prolonged period of time you may be suffering from postpartum depression. Please, oh please don't be scared or ashamed to talk to your healthcare provider about it!