I dreamed of you for some time now. I knew that one day I would be a first time mom and you would be in my life; upholding, lifting, and pushing me forward into motherhood. I felt in my heart’s core that you would be a love that I have never experienced before and one that would change me. I had spent my life giving myself attention and care and was ready for a new kind of love. Your Papá and I wanted you so much for our family, and on July 5, 2020, we found out I was pregnant and going to be a first time mom. We cried and kissed with joy. We began planning.
We made a list of names and Maya was the easiest name for us to choose. It felt perfect. It felt natural for our family. It felt like the name of a person I had known forever and was finally going to meet.
Most of my pregnancy with you was pure excitement, love, and anticipation of your arrival. Though with that, I had not given much thought as to what being a first time mom was going to be like after you arrived. I did have personal expectations though, and most were grandeur thoughts of happiness and success bringing you into the world.
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What I did not expect so entirely in the first few weeks as a first time mom were the lonely shower cries, the pain and exhaustion, and the fleeting feeling of regret. I call these my dark moments, and I am sharing them with you because you deserve to understand what it meant for me to become your mom, and to be a mom for the first time.
These dark moments were kept secret, and at times I even tried to push them down so deep that I may ignore them. Some days were darker than others. On those darkest days I would be asked “how are you feeling?”, and my response was “fine” and “I am a first time mom and still learning”. It’s true; I was and still am learning how to be the best mom for you, but I said that to excuse my feelings of failure and not feel judgment from others.
I did not want others to know that I was feeling lost, confused, chaotic, and tired of trying to learn. In a way, I was attempting to ensure our family and friends felt that I was doing fine so I wouldn’t have a group of people disappointed in me. In reality, those were my emotions taking control and encouraging me to lie to myself and others.
During the first four weeks of your life, your Papá did most of the physical and emotional heavy lifting. He would help feed you, change you, and rock you to sleep, while also making sure I had his shoulder to cry on. He balanced a lot for us during that time, and that was one place of comfort for me. Other times I would take a moment to shower alone, and in-between the shampoo and conditioner routine, I would cry. I would cry and weep in yearning.
I yearned to feel normal physically again; the hours of failed pushing that turned to an emergency c-section were devastating for me, and my body felt dismantled from head to toe. I yearned to not feel needed at every moment by you, Papá, and even the dogs. I yearned to run to the car and drive, finding solace and peace in being alone. I yearned to drink coffee and wine like I used to, and not have to actively worry that it would affect you through my breast milk. Above all, I yearned to feel that I was doing motherhood “right” and that I was the best mom for you.
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It was easy to feel like a failure: I couldn’t push you out of my body as I planned, I didn’t get to hold and bond with you immediately after you were born, you had jaundice, and you hadn’t gained enough weight in the first week as the doctors had expected. I was failing you, and it was devastating even though I was told by doctors that I was doing it right. I whispered to you how sorry I was every day. I held you close and promised I would try harder. Your Papá would say “it will get better” which I couldn’t believe in at that time. I couldn’t see how I would get better.
As the weeks went by, tiny moments of hope swept in. Jaundice left your body and you began to grow. Small increments, here and there, but I could see it. You outgrew your diapers, your newborn size clothes; you began smiling, babbling, and watching me move around the room. Your eyes became brighter, your latch became better, and you slept better during the night. What I did not realize at first was that I, too, was growing.
I started to understand that you and I both were growing and learning. As a first time mom, you and I were learning how to breastfeed and communicate together. We were learning with, and from, each other through everything. It was now easier to feel pride in what we were accomplishing together.
What I needed then as a first time mom, and what I want you to understand, is that I needed to be kind to myself. I needed to be thoughtful and patient with myself, and with us. Motherhood, and becoming a first time mom, is not an easy task. It is not all sunshine and rainbows, but hard work that requires patience and understanding.
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Being your mom is new, but also feels right. It is the one bond that is special and uplifting, and I am so happy to have this for the rest of my life. I am embracing becoming a first time mom and now yearn for the mornings when you wake up and smile at me. I yearn for your bath time and to see you kick and splash the water with joy. I yearn to sit outside with you, listening to the birds and the breeze. I yearn to see you grow, no matter how that is, and become a good person for this world. I love you, Maya, and thank you for loving and being patient with me.
Forever and always,
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out another mom’s perspective on Postpartum Depression and Recovery: My Year With Postpartum Depression and How I Got Better.
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