Motherhood is the essence of a woman, an aspiring beauty queen once said. Getting pregnant, watching your tummy grow, and finally giving birth to your baby are all life-defining moments, but the responsibility they entail is enormous. Motherhood means being responsible for the safety and well-being of another human being, a fragile, little thing whose main source of survival is your care.
Upon getting pregnant, I had the firm resolve to be the best mother I could ever be. I was set on being a fulltime, stay-at-home, exclusively breastfeeding mom, and nothing can stop me from being one. I started reading up on how to breastfeed, what to eat to make sure I have an abundant milk supply, et cetera, et cetera. I actually thought I was ready to face motherhood. Cute, right?
My little girl, Benriya Jean.
Then came September 21, 2013, when I gave birth to a 4.6lb little girl who cried with gusto upon entering the world. Right there and then, I knew she’d be one hell of a toughie like her Mommy. You see, she was born prematurely at 35 weeks and 1 day in utero. Upon the resident pediatrician’s recommendations, my daughter did not need to be incubated and was allowed to room in with me about two hours after birth. Small and premature, yes, but healthy as a horse.
She took my heart away the exact moment they placed her in my arms. I checked every single part of her, every finger, every toe, and fell in love with everything I saw. And that dimple, oh, that dimple was just icing on the cake. She was – still is – my pride and joy, and nothing will ever be as beautiful in my eyes as her.
Her father and I took her home on a Monday, September 23rd, and were all emotional about being a family. About, at long last, having a kid of our own. We were so confident that our baby was too much of an angel to cause us sleepless nights. Then came the ugly stuff.
She slept all day and nursed all night. She needed to have her diaper changed at least once in two hours. She even nursed while having her diaper changed. She hated taking a bath. She even hated getting cleaned up.
By the second week, I was in tears. I had eyebags and dark circles under my eyes, my hair was in tangles, and the tangles were in tangles, too. I could count the number of baths I have had on my fingers on one hand. And, worst of all, my head felt like it was being attacked by a jackhammer. I was ready to give up, throw in the towel and say that motherhood is not for me. My only salvation then was my husband’s unwavering support and my daughter’s smile. If not for them, my sanity might have flown right out the window and I wouldn’t be writing this now.
Seven months into motherhood, I still sometimes think I have no idea what I’m doing. I cry at every milestone my daughter achieves thinking, ‘My God, she’s growing up so fast’ and then look forward to the greater things ahe can achieve in the coming days. You see, motherhood isn’t just a journey, it’s an adventure. You may not always get it together, but you will find a way to make it work. So, to all the mothers out there who have got their shit together, hats off to you.