A year ago I had changed hundreds of other people's babies' diapers, but it wasn't until these past few weeks that I got to experience changing a diaper in the pitch black middle of the night while half asleep.
Three months ago I was jaded, thinking I'd be completely different from other moms I had witnessed, and "in control" of my emotions. As prepared as I thought I was, I'm learning my perception on how things would be was way off.
Three months ago I had never looked into the eyes of my child and had no idea what it felt like to love someone this much. I wasn't prepared for that kind of attachment. The way I love my husband is different. This is a love I can't control; it consumes me.
This week I applied my makeup and straightened my hair with one arm, while nursing my daughter in the other. I dropped everything I was working on to mend her cries. I toted her into the bathroom with me while I took a shower so she wouldn't have to cry alone in her bed, and so the sound of the water running would soothe her. I had no problem shutting babies I babysat outside the bathroom door and letting them cry for a few moments while I used the restroom, but three months ago I learned I couldn't bear to do that to my own child, fearing she'd feel like I'm abandoning her by not immediately tending to her needs.
She cries when we're in the car for too long, and it's the worst feeling in the world not being able to help her.
To me, the duties of feeding, watching, cleaning and holding my child aren't what's hard about being a mother. What makes the job more difficult than anything I've ever done is the undying love I can't tame.
Several months ago a woman told me I'd be begging to go back to work partway through my maternity leave, that work outside the home is so much easier. I know it's only been a few months, but I couldn't disagree more. My role as a mother doesn't end just because I'm outside of the home for 8-10 hours a day. I'll still wonder, worry, pump and love, then still attend to her needs when I get home.
Another woman told me my mind might change after I've been at home with my daughter for 6 months. Unfortunately I won't have the chance to know.
It’s a blessing my husband is at home to watch and take care of her.
I'm not going to argue whether working outside, inside, or solely as a mother at home is more or less difficult than any of the other. That's not what it's about.
Having this newfound love makes it nearly impossible to leave her daily for a job that feels insignificant compared to her. But in order to put food on the table and keep a roof over our heads it's necessary for the time being.
I knew this when we chose to move forward with expanding our family now, rather than years from now.
I'm hoping, wishing and praying to find a way to do what I do best at home with my daughter by 2012. If it's meant to be it'll be, and I can't help but feel like that's what I'm suppose to do.
****Married for six years, with a successful journalism career under her belt, --formerly known as Future Mama, finally has the child she was blogging about long before she was born. But now she's learning motherhood is nothing like she imagined. She was an open book describing her ideals when it came to her journey towards the inevitable baby bump, and now she eats her words on her blog Baby Makin(g) Machine.
Photo Credit: Grand Felicity Photography (Jennifer has the rights).