I always wanted to be a mom, for as long as I can remember. Maybe it was because my mom was a mother of 4 (and she was pretty awesome at it!) or maybe it was just something built into my DNA. If there was a baby doll, I was taking care of it; if there was a doll house, I was playing “house.” When I was a teenager, I would daydream about my life one day: living in a cute, little house with Matthew-loud, full of love, and full of babies.
After Matthew and I had been married for about a year and a half, I started getting baby fever. I began asking him month after month, Hey babe, do you want a baby? Hey, don’t you think a baby would be soooo cute?! ha! It was pretty funny the stuff I came up with to try to convince him to want a baby. But I patiently (okay, maybe impatiently) waited until he was ready. And one day, he just decided he was ready, and we weren’t together at the time because he was working, and he told me in a text. I actually love that he did because now I have this memory to keep forever.
I remember the feeling of elation and pure excitement I felt in this moment knowing we were going to grow our nest. And 2 months later, we got those 2 pink lines!
When Avary came into this world, life changed in an instant. I cried the moment they laid her on my chest. This baby, this little person-designed by God-was nurtured by my body and came from me and my husband. I love that Avary is a tangible representation of the love Matthew and I share. How incredible! She is our love wrapped up in her sweet little self.
I think motherhood has taught me more about myself than any other experience I’ve had in life. It has shown me that I am way stronger than I ever thought I was. Going through the tiring work of growing a human being, to the exhausting work of labor and delivery, to the long and sleepless nights with a newborn, motherhood has shown me that I have strength and endurance!
Motherhood has taught me about sacrifice. Giving up my body again after pregnancy to commit to breastfeeding was a true sacrifice. Becoming a stay-at-home mom, many times I have to sacrifice the things I want for the things we need. Motherhood has transformed my way of thinking. Instead of a self-centered way of thinking, being a mom has shown me that I can make someone else #1 and that it is okay.
Motherhood has shown me that life is messy ( ^) and imperfect and doesn’t always go they way we think it should. That in the midst of endless days and sleepless nights, poopy diapers, constant spit-up, colic, reflux, nose-sucking, sleep training, babywearing, breastfeeding, nap-skipping, tantrum-throwing days, we can rest in the fact that our job-as “Mom”-has meaning and value beyond the ‘every day.’ We are not just “babysitting” tiny humans; we are raising world-changers! The love, time, and attention we pour into our little ones all day long is shaping their minds. The values we instill are shaping their hearts. The struggle of motherhood-trying to find a spare moment to go to the bathroom alone, microwaving your coffee 3 times because it went cold before you could drink it, going Hulk-crazy on the dog for barking during naptime-that’s life. I’ve learned that I can let the upsets confuse me, frustrate me, and derail my whole day or I can just go with the flow, laugh at the madness, and embrace the crazy mess.
I recognized the truth in the statement ‘It takes a village to raise a child,’ because friends, IT DOES! Motherhood was not meant to go at alone. You need support. I learned that when I tried to do everything on my own and hold myself to an unrealistic, Tumblr-type standard of perfection, I failed miserably. And, I made myself miserable in the process. Reach out and reach up! Until I started reaching out to my husband, my mom, my sisters, my friends, other moms, the online community and looking to God for help and guidance, I was drowning in my role as a mother. I’ve since learned to surround myself with a #tribe and not do this motherhood thing alone.
What I learned from my first year of motherhood is that love at first sight does exist. . . The love that I have for my little girl is beyond anything I expected. The moment I laid eyes on her, I felt like I knew her all my life and I loved her instantly. She holds my heart in her hands. I am so thankful that God entrusted her to me, that she made me a mama, and that I get to experience life with her. She is forever my heart-changer, my mini-me, and my baby. . .
I love you, Avary Layne.