Journey to Motherhood :: Surprised and Unprepared

Journey to Motherhood

Every journey to motherhood is unique, each so compelling. Some of us have more difficult paths to navigate before reaching our final destination, while others follow the straight and narrow, hitting bumps further on down the road. For all of us, however, motherhood is a roller coaster that brings inexplicable joy and unavoidable pain, making us feel as if our hearts might leap right through our chests. To celebrate all of motherhood, we at Wichita Moms Blog are sharing our personal journeys.

For as long as I can remember, my deepest desire was to become a mother.

It was always an unspoken for my husband and I, knowing we wanted children. We never really sat down and had the talk about when, where and how to begin the process. Sure, we mentioned wanting a couple of kids someday and would get lost in dreams of our future family. But there was never really a defining moment where we sat down and hammered out logistics.

Now this approach is completely against every grain of who I am as a person. I’m not exactly a go-with-the-flow kind of gal. I often get tangled in the details and have been known to make situations more complicated than necessary just to make sure I am ultra prepared. And for that reason exactly, prepping for a baby always got put on the back burner for fear of creating anxiety that I wasn’t yet ready to deal with. I liked my simple, carefree life {that I was in control of}.

Until one day, I had a feeling. A really strange one that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. One that I definitely hadn’t mapped out or planned for. One, quite honestly, I wasn’t yet ready for. But there it was anyway, a positive pregnancy testIm Pregnant

Of course after announcing to my husband and after a few days of processing, I was giddy with excitement. It took a minute to navigate the fog, but we were thrilled to be expecting! And more so, we were humbled and grateful for our little surprise.

But in those first few hours, I was flooded with emotions of disbelief, shock and complete surprise. Baby wasn’t on my radar. I was focused on my new career, a career I’d recently left a really great one for. One I was {and still am} paying off some major debt for. We hadn’t even broached the subject of starting a family. I simply wasn’t in the mindset.

Throughout my pregnancy, however, I got more and more excited over the usual things expecting moms get excited about. I loved walking through the baby section at Target, felt butterflies when I sat in the nursery rocker, teared up when I washed and hung the sweet teeny baby clothes. My husband and I even unintentionally started our first family tradition. We spent every Saturday from the moment we found out I was pregnant, talking about baby things – names, strollers, future family trips. And to this day, we rarely miss a Saturday morning “coffee talk” – it’s our family connection time.

But of course, as all moms will tell you, no amount of talk or research will prepare you for the reality of a new baby. From the moment they arrive, babies do a whole lot of “surprising”.

No one, for example, warned me about the infamous “uterine massage” moments after birth. {I will take transitioning contractions all day every day over that torture.} Or the fact that breastfeeding is nothing like practicing with those dolls in class. And it hurts a lot {almost as much as the uterine massage}.

I was completely unprepared for not only the physical aspect of birthing my child, but the emotional aftermath as well. I can remember rocking my baby girl on day 5 of motherhood, and my husband coming in to check on me because I was sobbing uncontrollably. The reason? Because a boy might break her heart someday. {Really, hormones?}

But perhaps what I wMama and Babyas most unprepared for was all the feelings. The moment they placed our daughter on my chest, I knew I had experienced that same something that all mothers before me talked about. Something you can only experience, not explain. I fell in love so hard, so immediately. That unforgettable intimate moment that will replay in my head every August 19th for the rest of my life.

Those first few months, I continued to experience a wide range of feelings. Conflicting feelings I wasn’t quite sure how to manage. Elation, tenderness, fear, joy, anxiousness. And of course new mom exhaustion that we all somehow survive. But the worst feeling of all was deep in my gut and perpetually got stronger and stronger as my maternity leave got closer to its end.

I had tremendous feelings of sorrow.

That is what I was most unprepared for.

How can a mom who felt such joy, who connected so naturally to motherhood, who was blessed with a perfect, healthy baby, have feelings of sorrow?

Some days, quite frankly, I had a hard time getting a grip. I cried a lot, rarely slept {even though, ironically, my baby was}, and felt so bitter about being back at work in a profession I regretted taking on. I felt inadequate in all areas of my life, including being a good mother to my baby. And I remember beating myself up over the fact that so many before me advised being back at work eventually gets better, but it never really did for me.

Until I made a much-needed change.

After some help, those sad and anxious feelings eventually went away. But not without a lot of tears, a major job switch and some professional counseling sessions. Turns out those feelings were actually postpartum anxiety that I had a hard time identifying {and accepting}. I made some major changes in my life, and I eventually felt normal again.

But those super-sappy roller coaster mama feelings? I still have those. All day everyday.

And to this day, they still catch me off guard. But it’s more than ok because who doesn’t love a good surprise!

This post is part of our Journey to Motherhood Mother’s Day Series. Read more posts from this series…

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One Response to Journey to Motherhood :: Surprised and Unprepared

  1. Erin Bartel
    Erin Bartel May 2, 2015 at 7:46 am #

    I love this, Angela! I’ve had depression 3 times in my life, and EVERY SINGLE TIME? I didn’t realize it until someone else pointed it out. You are SUCH a good mama, and I’m glad you’ve finally settled into “normal” again 🙂

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