Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Mom Thoughts

It still feels as if one day I might wake up from this dream (or nightmare, depending on how I'm feeling)—that's how surreal motherhood has been for me.  I have about three months of mothering under my belt, and I still feel totally lost a lot of the time.  A lot of people have told me in the past that I would be "such a great mom" because they had seen me interact with their toddlers, or because they know what I do for work (pediatric occupational therapist in the school setting), or probably because of the naturally bubbly energy that I bring to social gatherings.  When I was pregnant, I was imagining all of the fun things that I would do with my kids—crafts, sports, shows, hikes, reading, cooking, rolling through the grass, you name it.  I also imagined that I'd be fun-loving, tireless, and gracious.  Of course I knew that I'd have to get through the newborn phase, but hell, I don't think that anything could have prepared me for just how exhausting and mentally challenging this time has been.  

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Three Months: Trials and Triumphs of the Newborn Phase

I used to think that I was not into newborns.  They cry, they don’t reciprocate, they don’t have personalities.  I wanted to have kids, of course, but I wanted to skip over this phase and get to “the fun stuff.”  Now that Zoe is moving out of her newborn months, I feel a sense of bittersweetness.  I truly did enjoy each day of the last three months, even though there were tears, aches, and sleepless nights.  She’s just full of surprises—like that one night when she popped up on her forearms for the longest time, that afternoon when Wes stuck a rattle into her hand and she maintained her grip and brought it to her mouth, that time she grinned from ear to ear on the changing pad and let out a laugh.  Newborn babies change so quickly, if you so much as blink, you might miss something!  Now that we are at the three-month mark, we’ve actually seen many signs of a personality and reciprocation.  But even before she smiled back or looked into our eyes, it didn’t matter.  She’s ours, and I honestly never would expect anything of her except for her to just be healthy and well.  Basically, all she has to do is to exist and we’d be happy.  

We just watched the Oscar-winning documentary, My Octopus Teacher on Netflix, and it really reminded me of how we've observed and learned so much from being with our newborn.  In the documentary, the filmmaker studies an octopus in its habitat and arrives at not only an appreciation for biological phenomena, but also introspection into his own mind and what matters most to him as a human being.  He watches as things happen to the octopus that he does not expect and cannot control.  He cannot help but become attached and emotionally invested, so much so that when something painful happens to the animal, he feels the same pain himself.  What used to be an otherworldly creature suddenly becomes part of him.  Zoe is just the same kind of an enigma to us.  We were drawn to her from day one, but we understood nothing.  Now, we are just shy of a hundred days, and we are still constantly perplexed and amazed by her...our own little octopus who has her tentacles wrapped around our hearts.