Friday, March 8, 2013

New Motherhood: The Bitter with the Sweet

From the moment we give birth, mothers experience a steady stream of bittersweet, or paradoxical, emotions.  You are ecstatic to welcome your new baby into the world, but at the same time a little sad that baby is no longer safely curled up inside you.  You will no longer feel him kick you when you eat a bowl of ice cream, or feel the comfort of those little nudges when she has the hiccups.

This emotional rollercoaster only continues as your baby grows.

It is exciting when your baby outgrows her newborn clothes (because it [perhaps] means she is sleeping longer stretches), but it is surprisingly sentimental to pack those clothes away or pass them along to a friend.

You are happy and relieved to find a sitter to watch your little one so that you can have a long-overdue date night, or go to the dentist solo (what luxury!), but you worry about him the second you close the door.

(That's me, with my sweet, complicated, funny first-born)

It can be a relief when you are ready to wean your baby from nursing or bottle-feeding and move on to the sippy cup, and yet you miss that time together too, and are in disbelief to be packing away pumping supplies, dozens of bottles, and special cleaning brushes.

As your rambunctious toddler demands more and more of your energy, you (admit it!) look forward to him starting preschool, where he will be entertained by someone other than yourself for a few hours a week... and yet you can't believe that this growing, walking, talking big boy was once your tiny baby.

Yes, there are some moments of Motherhood that are universally accepted as purely joyful-- again, sleeping through the night rings a bell, as well as the first big gummy smile, the first belly laugh, and the first word (here's hoping for "Mama").  But I've been surprised to find that more often than not, there is a small sense of longing at certain milestones-- even ones we've been waiting for.

Here's to enjoying more of the sweet.

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

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