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This shit ain’t easy, yo.
From conception to birth, newborn through teenage years, the terrible 20s and beyond being a mother is a rollercoaster of love, fear, nausea, and love. Yes, I know I typed that twice. It isn’t because I am the mother of four children, from 17 years old to newborn – although that certainly has depleted more brain cells than the rum has, I’m sure of it! No, that “love, fear, nausea, love” cycle is a pretty good descriptor of motherhood.
After the initial shock of discovering that you and your partner have created life you go through these phases: overwhelming love for this…this…growth inside of you. And you’re scared: scared of the physical pain of childbirth. Scared that you’ll go into Wal-Mart with your child one day for groceries, and get all the way home before you realize you left her in the shoe department. (I never did that, but, God, I was terrified I would!) I still have this fear. Now that I have four spawn, I have to do a head count each and every time we get into the car. The nausea thing speaks for itself in this stage, AmIRite? Saltines, anyone? But, oh, Lord. After the stretching, the retching and the pain you have this incredible, tangible proof of love and goodness. And you savor that love. You let it wash over you and fill your ever pore.
Until the third night your baby won’t sleep more than 30 minutes at a time.
We stand amazed at our toddler’s ability to grow and his first shaky steps. The love and pride we feel is second only to the fear of him falling and bashing his skull, bleeding out of his ears, necessitating a trip to the ER and, oh, a ridiculous level of imagination over just how badly this “learning to walk” think could possibly get. We wake up in cold sweats worrying about the next attempt. And then, come morning, our little man takes a wobbly step. And then another. And, oh, sweet Jesus, the tears we shed over this turn from baby to toddler.
The tween and teenage years bring a heightened level fear and nausea. It seems everywhere we turn, we hear of unspeakable horrors that befall children our kid’s age. We worry if we have covered every. single. scenerio. If they have LISTENED to our warnings, or whether or not the eyeroll prohibited our message from sinking in. We wonder about their friends. About their friends’ parents. Whether they are wearing the seatbelts. Or keeping their pants on. Or texting and driving. Experimenting with drugs or alcohol. The terror over missed curfew is palpable. It lingers in our mouths. It raises our blood pressure. And when they walk in the door, there is a brief thanks to the heavens…quickly followed by a verbal smackdown.
And on it goes throughout all stages of our babies’ lives. Of course we are only appreciated after buying them the coolest shoes, latest gaming system, paying for the semester of college…
Yet, there are the rare, powerful moments of an unsolicited hug from a sweaty six year old boy, the quick kiss on the cheek from a momentarily docile teen, and that majestic first real smile from the baby that make the entire evolution worthwhile. It’s true about motherhood: you don’t understand the love you have for your child until you actually have a child. There simply aren’t words to describe the fullness and the depth of our love for these tiny despots who try to run our homes.
And, like the Peace Corps – from whom I stole this title, you’ll work in less than stellar conditions, you won’t know the language or customs of these strange wee heathens, and, God knows, the pay is crap. But, truly, motherhood is the toughest job you’ll ever love.
Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Kelly is a Navy wife and mother to three children; 16 year old NT, 6 and 5 year old boys on the spectrum; and, since life was getting a touch boring, she’s added a bun in the oven. Kelly has been featured in a collection of essays on special needs children entitled, “Wit and Wisdom From the Parents of Special Needs Children.” She can also be found at MyTidewaterMoms.com, and as a guest blogger throughout the blog-iverse. In her spare time, Kelly is the Blog Master for, and member of, the Military Special Needs Network Executive Board. You can contact her via email at KellyHafer@MilitarySpecialNeedsNetwork.com.
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