Sunday, February 7, 2010

Coming to Terms with the Sacrifices of a Mother

Hopefully, when Everett reads this post years from now he doesn't take it personally. I love you, Everett, with every corner of my being. Becoming a parent is the most wonderful and most challenging thing I have ever done.


The first sacrifice of a mother is her body. It expands, contorts, leaks, bears scars, sags, etc. It will never be the same. But this body also nourishes, loves, cuddles, comforts. There is nothing like a mother's embrace. This sacrifice was one of the easier ones for me.

The next sacrifice is sleep. First, it's hard to sleep as a pregnant woman. Then, there is limited sleep in the first few months of caring for the infant. Finally, when that has resolved and you think your long lost friend, sleep, is is limited by thoughts, worry, and the desire to spend time to yourself. (I'm so used to not being by myself, that if I don't have Everett with me, I feel like I'm missing an appendage.) Of course, with those things come the indescribable feeling of a baby twisting and kicking inside of you, being needed and vital, and then the time and space to reflect and process. Everett's smiling face looking up at me in the morning, even if it is way earlier than I would like to wake up, is the sweetest, most precious gift he can give me.

Another sacrifice is your life as it was. I used to HATE it when people said to me, "your life is going to change." Well, thank you very much Captain Obvious for that newsflash. Of course it was going to change, and I knew that. I wasn't a 15 year old not thinking about the consequences. I was nearly 30, had thought about it a lot, was in a stable marriage, and was very ready. I knew we wouldn't be able to go to late dinners, parties, or be with friends as much as we were used to. But with that sacrifice we get bath time, story time, playtime, cuddle time. And those times are precious. We also get amazing new friendships with new moms, dads and babies, playgroups, trips to kid places, baby yoga, etc. And we'll get to be with our other friends more -- they'll have babies. :) And we'll figure out how to make it work.

The final sacrifice I'll mention (there are more I am sure) is my occupation (for now). I have always had pride in saying that I am a nurse. When I say "I am a nurse", I feel like people immediately get a glimpse into the kind of person I am and hope to be. When I decided on nursing, I had an amazing feeling of clarity as if the puzzle pieces of my life fell into place and this is what I was meant to do. Well, I also knew I was meant to be somebody's mom, and I love this job too. I can't count down the hours until my shift is over. I can't leave crazy patients behind (sometimes I think I AM the crazy patient). I can't bring home a paycheck. But I do get paid in love and fun. When the time is right, I'll go back to nursing and will miss these days immensely.

The things I have not sacrificed: spirituality, our marriage and relationship, relationships with family and friends. These things have only grown in depth and importance in ways I would have never imagined.

1 comment:

  1. That was the sweetest and most honest reflection I have read thus far and I have a lot of friends that have recently in the last year had a baby. Thank you! You and Eric are wonderful parents and enjoying him to the fullest and Everett is blessed to be in your care. I can't believe how big he is in 3 months WOW! It feels like we just saw newborn picts. Miss you guys! Monalisa and Howard