Okay—I only gave birth four days ago to my third baby, so I'm no mom of three wizard (yet), but I think I have just uncovered one big motherhood life lesson.
Instead of preaching to new moms to “enjoy every moment”—I want to now say, with a kind and genuine and compassionate heart, “enjoy the moments that feel enjoyable to you.”
I want to say—don't pressure yourself to “take every second in” and to make sure you love “every single moment.” I don't want new moms to feel guilty if they're not checking off all of these society-imposed happiness perfection buckets.
Because you know what? There are so. many. enjoyable moments in new motherhood. Sooomany. Childbirth. Newborn cuddles. Tiny newborn clothes. That newborn smell. Their first smile. Their little noises.
It's without a doubt absolutely amazing.
But it's not all enjoyable. Not every single moment. And guess what? It doesn't have to be. It's okay and normal. You shouldn't worry about making every diaper change and pumping session magical.
There are hard parts of life, even within the most insanely beautiful moments. And motherhood is the perfect example of that.
So in a time of your life when there is a lot of pressure to do and feel all sorts of things, I want to eliminate the pressure other people—and ourselves—put on us to “savor every single moment.”.
Because while I may not enjoy the painful clamp of my newborn's shallow latch while we're trying to figure out breastfeeding—I do enjoy the gift of being able to feed my baby from my body.
I may not enjoy the guilt I feel about relaxing and taking it easy while my husband and in-laws wait on me and take care of my older children—but I do enjoy feeling loved and cared for.
I may not enjoy seeing myself naked right now. The five month pregnant looking belly I have (with no baby in it) and all my newly acquired stretch marks can be a lot to take in for me. But—I do enjoy the amazing miracle of pregnancy and childbirth my body just went through. My body was my child’s first home, and I shouldn't feel any shame in its transformation.
I may not enjoy snapping at my husband for ridiculous things while I ride my hormone roller coaster (and he may not either!)—but I do enjoy every second of his support and the strong team we've created together.
I may not enjoy all the worry that comes with having a newborn—Is her poop turning mustardy/seedy looking yet? Is she breathing? Why is she making that noise? Are her bilirubin levels going to be down today? Will her blood sugar levels be okay? Is she getting enough to eat?—but boy do I enjoy having this beautiful baby in my life to worry about.
I may not enjoy seeing my baby-as-of-last-week second child struggle a bit with figuring out this new situation we have at home—but I do enjoy hearing her say, “I love you, baby Natalie” while holding her little sister and giving her a kiss on the head.
It's going fast. Again. My third time. I don't want it to, but that's how this stuff works. Until I can obtain Zack Morris’ superpowers of freezing time (but instead of talking to the audience, I would just stare at my babies) this is what's going on—time is moving at a rapid pace.
And I'm enjoying it, I swear! Im enjoying all the moments that I can. They're not all perfect, but they are all part of this adventure. I'm trying to live in the moment and be present—accepting this whole package for what it is and not rushing through any of it—even the frustrating parts.
Because one day I'm going to want these exact frustrating moments back.
I'm only home from the hospital two days and I was getting sad looking at pictures I took in the hospital thinking how that would probably be my last time experiencing all of that.
Wow, that part is already over.
But, the next part has begun. Yes, that part is over, but the adventure continues. The getting into our new groove at home part has started. The introducing our new baby to her big sisters and getting used to our new family dynamic is underway.
Now is the time to be in these moments.
Memories are treasures, but I don't want to live in the past. I don't want to always be yearning to go back all the time. I don't want to always feel sad looking at pictures comparing now with then.
Motherhood is a unique experience where you often find yourself loving every second of one moment, wishing for the hard parts to speed up and be over, all while wanting to go back in time to relive special memories.
The thing is—these memories we’re making every day are precious. I’ll always cherish them. But I can’t live in memories. I have to keep challenging myself to live in the now.
Because the now is really, really incredible, too. The good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly—it's all pretty incredible. And I'm one lucky mama.
This post first appeared on Mother.ly