January is often a time for self-reflection, starting new projects and making resolutions. Many of us begin the new year with hopes to improve ourselves. What a perfect time to feature a series of posts on gaining wisdom! Over the course of this month, we'll post interviews with experienced mothers and feature stories written by women about what they've learned, and are continuing to learn, about motherhood. Thank you for starting the new year with us. We wish you all a very happy and inspired year of growth! ~TMC--
When I first found out I was pregnant I'm sure my oldest sister probably thought to herself, "Oh crap, here it comes..."
Over the past few months I have texted her at least four times a week asking random questions about aches, pains, breasts, hips, and lady parts. As my oldest sister, with three children of her own, it is her responsibility (opinion warning) to be my living, breathing, and talking version of What to Expect When You're Expecting.
My sister has handled me well, but as with most new moms I began my pregnancy in search of as much information as I possibly could. Despite my upbringing with six siblings and experience with babies as a nanny and "Auntie Kels," becoming mom is an entirely different ball game. Don't get me wrong, I've got the job of auntie on lock. Give them lots of candy and treats they shouldn't have, let them watch as many episodes of Fresh Beat Band as they want, and under no circumstances put them to bed when you were instructed to. If they cry, you just give them back. If they bite you, you just give them back. If they are in a bad mood, well you get it by now, just give them back! However, the one growing inside of me right at this moment, the one that could come out at any point in time over the next few weeks - I can't give her back. She's mine. And I've checked all the baby and pregnancy books - kids do NOT come with a return policy! There is no label on them that reads,
"If dissatisfied with lack of sleep, sore boobs, mastitis, crying (even your own), and lady parts on fire please return to hospital to have baby shoved back inside."
When I found out that this month's theme would be Gaining Wisdom I realized that I have been seeking wisdom as a pregnant woman and soon-to-be mother. From asking my sister a slew of weekly questions to reading from blogs and books - the past nine months have been based around gaining as much knowledge as possible on pregnancy, labor, pumping, and all things baby related. Quite frankly, I've scared myself more than I've educated myself! But as I prepared to write this post I thought to myself, "What is wisdom when it comes to being a new mom?"
Let me first define wisdom: "(n) The quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment; the quality of being wise."
Nothing about that definition applies to a new mom. Nothing. Experience? Being an aunt doesn't qualify me for being a mother. Knowledge? Two days ago I had to ask my midwife why my stomach and back hurt so bad throughout the day only to find out I have been having false labor. Good judgement? When someone shared the benefits of co-sleeping to me I asked her (sarcastically) if it is 'as beneficial' for our baby to co-sleep with our yellow and black labradors instead of me. (She didn't think it was as funny as I did. Actually she didn't find it funny at all.)
We seek the wisdom and the knowledge of others because we know absolutely nothing. By asking others we are receiving opinions and ideas that we hope to apply when our children come into this world. The simple truth remains, however, that it is ultimately our decisions and choices that guide how we raise and nurture our children. It's important to be educated, to seek the wisdom and knowledge of others, but in the end we gain the most wisdom by doing it. Applying little things here and there, but never living by the books, the blogs, or the opinions. I believe whole-heartedly that there are two births that occur when we have our children. The birth of the child is obvious, something to remember and cherish, but in that moment there is the birth of the mother. Things change for us in that moment. Our existence is no longer defined by our accomplishments, our goals, our tasks, or our agendas. Our world is immediately wrapped around the baby that just ripped apart our downstairs and has spent the past 10 minutes screaming at us because our boobs are seemingly defective. Get comfy ... It will be 18 years before you get a break and unfortunately those boobs will never shrink back to normal.
When I did research on this post I skipped over all of the "new mommy" questions and went right to the gut of things. I wanted to hear moms tell me what their children do or have done that have made them proud. I wanted to slide past all of the breastfeeding/pumping questions or post-labor healing tips and tricks. With days (or weeks) to go I needed to read that this is all going to be worth it. I needed to see women in my life brag about their children and how parenting, regardless of how difficult, has its rewards. The task before me is a daunting one and in my search of wisdom I've often just returned scared or confused. I hoped to find the light at the end of the tunnel that says, "You'll get through it and it will be awesome." So, I posted on my personal Facebook account asking mothers what has been one of their proudest moments. You know what most of the ladies responded with?
"I can't choose just one!"
I read each response. I poured over the brags and the flaunts and praises and I smiled to myself. I sought comfort in my time of fear, and I found it. Maybe that's all the wisdom I need to glean right now. Maybe, just maybe, I just need to know it's worth it; that the pride outweighs the challenges.
So for now I'll sit back and wait on my daughter to make her grand entrance into the world. And when I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing or am fearful I will focus on what's to come:
Pride, confidence, wisdom, and the birth of a mother.