The first time I remember trying to give up on anything was the day I had my daughter. I grew up believing I was the little blue train in The Little Engine That Could, but all of that flew out the window as I approached hour five of pushing her into the world. The good thing was, no one at my bedside would let me quit and a sweet and swollen baby girl was finally placed on my chest to my own disbelief.
The thing is, throughout this beginning phase of motherhood, I have had to battle this feeling of “I can’t” many times. I have cried in the middle of the night over breastfeeding. I have been convinced I am failing at motherhood because Sprout woke Scott up when I know he has an important day of work ahead (for the record, he completely disagrees).
Many mothers have sincerely told me to ask them if I have any questions, which always translates to ‘I’m here for you’ in my mind, but what I’m realizing now is that I don’t usually need help finding answers to my questions. I can Google ‘diaper rash remedies’ and ‘when will my baby sleep through the night?’. What I need help with is all the feelings. Sometimes I’ve wondered if my baby likes me. Sometimes I feel like I’m a failure if she scream-cries when I feed her. Sometimes I’m completely overwhelmed by how quickly time passes. In the light of day, after some fresh air or a good nap or looking at a gummy little baby smile or watching her sleep in a ball in my chest, these feelings vanish and I know we’re right where we’re supposed to be and that even the hardest moments are precious and fleeting, but I wanted to write them here anyways so that other people can know that I’ve had them in case they have too.
In some ways the struggle brings me comfort. I get nervous when things are too easy. I just have to remind myself that sometimes success in parenting looks like a bunch of dirty diapers, a sleeping child in clean pajamas and a mom with spit-up in her hair and Desitin under her finger nails.
It’s all ok. It’s like the lady with a mop of grey hair said to me in the locker room at the gym two weeks before Sprout was born…”We can do this!”