Walking through the dark

This year has felt, at times, like I was walking through a pitch black room with my hands out in front of me, groping for some type of solid object in front of me that felt vaguely familiar, as if just by touching something familiar I would know that, while I couldn’t see, I was still going to be OK. You think, prior to having a child, that as a sane, functioning, independent, thoughtful, caring adult who previously survived all 28 years of her life, that upon giving birth to a child {whom you developed in your body for 9-10 very long months} you’ll know what to do with it. You think that because you worked with children/teenagers for years that you have a handle on discipline and the “type” of parent that you want to be. You think that possessing an above average IQ, and combining said IQ with your husbands {who, let’s be honest, is probably higher than yours} will offer you at least a solid head start on knowing how to handle situations as they come. It’s not that you’re being proud, it’s that experience has taught you that while you might not know a whole lot about a situation going into it…given time and resources you can probably figure it out. You think that having a child is going to be a just like every other adventure you’ve ever been on, only much more sentimental.

And then you find out that you don’t have a clue.

It starts with your first trip to Babies R Us, the one where your head starts spinning, when you realize that you have no idea what a breast pump is. And by the way, why would you even need a breast pump if you’re nursing? You leave the store dizzy, and in desperate need of something stronger than Diet Coke…except, you’re pregnant and so you can’t have it. And then you realize that this is your life now…a tug of war between your needs and the needs of someone you have yet to meet, who’s smile will ignite a love in you so fierce you can hardly breathe. Your second clue that you don’t have a clue comes when the nursery starts accumulating “necessities”. At first its just crazy that there’s newborn clothes in a closet in your house. But, then you look around the room and you see humidifiers, snot suckers, wipe warmers, crib soothers, three different types of thermometers, and the list goes on. What in the world? Do you really mean that I’m going to have to stick a thermometer up somebody’s butt???

The baby makes its grand entrance into the world, and if you weren’t already convinced, you are now certain that the hospital staff probably shouldn’t let you go home with this fragile human because you’re pretty sure you have no idea how to keep it alive. You’re not even sure you have enough brain power to count how many diapers you go through in a day, much less the number of times its nursing…which is, a lot.

But, the moment you really know that you don’t have a clue is the first time that you’re woken up by a screaming child, in the middle of the night, and you realize they have a fever…and it’s high. Panic and adrenaline shoot through your system simultaneously as you look in your husband’s eyes, expecting some type of anchor you can cling to, but it’s not there…because he doesn’t have a clue either. Or, maybe, it’s when that first tooth starts moving. That cuddly, cooing baby is now screaming its head off incessantly and everything that you’ve known to do has suddenly lost its nerve-calming abilities…theirs and yours. That’s when you know you’re playing far above your weight-class.

And, my dear cyber friends, that’s when I’m exceptionally grateful for my tribe of “Facebook Moms” which is what I’ve called you for the past year. More times than I can count I’ve posted something that I was clueless about, felt overwhelmed by, or had recently experienced for the first time…and you guys have responded with overwhelming love, tons of support, and sound advice. In fact, the trust that I put into the advice that I receive on Facebook and this blog is on par with the trust I have in my pediatrician, or pastor. Granted, I have my mom, and I have specific friends that I text random questions to…but almost always, I still post something on Facebook just to see what the response is. I distinctly remember a post on Facebook after my first trip to Babies R Us that said, “Ok moms, tell me what I need to know about baby stuff”…by the end of that day the post was flooded with comments. I received advice on everything from breast pumps to which clothes last the longest. I’ll also never forget a comment that was left here on the blog when I was having a rough time staying at home with Zoe. It was left by my friend Kathryn, and she said that if I could see this year from Zoe’s perspective, she would talk about how awesome her days were because she got to play all day long with her mom. That comment still, months later, brings tears to my eyes. It changed the lens I view my life through.

I wasn’t going to write yesterday’s post about my anxiety over traveling. Mainly because I thought I was a little silly for being so nervous about it. I wrote it because I couldn’t get it off my mind, and I’m so so so glad I did. Throughout the day I received texts and a phone call or two from friends. And then last night, after being away from home all day, I opened my computer and read the comments that a few of your wrote. And you know what? It was like aloe on a sunburn, instantly soothing to my soul. By the end of the comments my mind was completely at ease. Zoe and I are going to rock this whole traveling solo thing in 2 weeks. So, thank you, once again, for going before me and sharing your expertise. You make stumbling through this new territory a whole heck of a lot easier!

Happy Wednesday ya’ll!


2 responses to “Walking through the dark

  1. oh my gosh I feel the same way!!!!! It’s like this warm community in a world that is no longer raising a child with a village….it’s my village!

  2. Way to make me cry! Glad I could provide some healthy perspective. 🙂 Seriously, this is some great insight to first time motherhood (I need to bind up your blog and keep it for my first…seriously)! Love you!!

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