When I named this little corner of mine “Suddenly (a) Mom”, I was pulling from my own experience of jumping into motherhood with both feet. I considered myself a mother right when the pregnancy test said positive, but honestly being a mom with a baby on the inside and a mom with a baby on the outside are two totally different things.
When I was pregnant I was already eating rather healthily. I didn’t drink soda regularly (don’t want to stop drinking caffeine free root beer though) and I normally fixed healthy meals for Mr. V and myself. We aren’t really “crunchy”, but we do try to eat what helps our bodies. The one thing I did have to cut out was caffeine, and that was hard. I was/(am) a BIG coffee and tea drinker. It goes back to being a barrista for two years while in college. I love them both. Before I was pregnant I would drink a few cups of coffee throughout the day (whole milk, no sugar) and end my day with at least one cup of black tea. While pregnant I got used to drinking chai at the coffee shops instead of lattes and that was fine – fast forward to now where I can’t drink either (no caffeine, no dairy, so sad). Anyways, I saw taking care of myself as taking care of the baby, which it was. While I was pregnant being a good mom meant being a good human. It wasn’t that difficult.
When Little W was born, it was no longer “take care of both of us”, it was “take care of the babe, period”. It was automatic from the first cry on. I went on the back burner the best I could, even through all the miserable aches and pains of healing, to take care of the little one. It was like all of a sudden I was a real mom. There was no pause button. No going back. It had to be jump in feet first and don’t look behind. We were on this journey together and alone.
I get a good glimpse of this when I am around family and it gets late in the day. I am wearing down and we still have a drive to get home, and Little W spits up everywhere and requires a quick bath and an entire change of clothing. For a second I sit there and think, “Is anyone going to come over here and help me?” In that pause I find myself going back to my childless roots, expecting someone else to take this responsibility off of my hands. Then I snap back into reality, “Hey, this is my child!” And I pick her up and we head to the bathroom together. As I clean her off she smiles and winks at me and we get to share another little mother-daughter moment. Lots of work, lots of joy.