This is part 2 of my story from Airman to Mom. If you want to start from the beginning click here.
It is weird. I had wanted to be a mom for most of my life and on the outside everything looked great, but inwardly I was scared of losing (giving up) everything for this baby I knew was coming.
Mom Life Begins
My son Luke arrived, through an induced and super long labor I didn’t want. I had been planning a natural birth and right away I felt like I had failed at motherhood because this didn’t happen. I had failed to be an advocate for my son and didn’t have the start I was hoping for. When he was born there wasn’t the instant love people had talked about. More like a numb heart, I was emotionally and physically exhausted from labor and afraid of where things were headed. While at the hospital my mom asked if I was okay and I always would say something like “I have been to Afghanistan” in my mind having a baby and being a mom should be easy. Labor was hard, but I had survived everything would just get better from here on out.
The Rough Transition
The first six months of being a mom were probably the hardest six months of my life. The military didn’t make it any easier by having my husband leave for 2 months of training when Luke was two months old. I cried almost every day the first two weeks he was gone. It was so hard. Luke went from sleeping great up until the day my husband left and the day he left he became a horrible sleeper. He would sleep a few hours to start off and then wake up almost every hour. Every day I would countdown to bath time so I could put him to bed so I could have one to two hours of being alone.
One day I felt like all he was doing was crying so I pulled out his roar onesie, took a picture of him screaming and sent it to my parents. Trying to be optimistic and silly, but hurting so much inside. My husband returned home from training when Luke was four months old. I thought life would go back to normal, instead Luke continued to struggle with sleep and I continued to struggle with transitioning from Airman to Mom.
Learning so much
The two months alone with a little baby taught me so many things. It forced me to rely on God because I did not have the strength to get through so many of those early days. I was forced to quickly realized how much I needed God each and every day in parenting. Being a mom brought me to my knees. Worship songs and Christian blogs were the lifelines I clung to. Luke and I would dance around the house to Overcomer and the Good Morning song. We had some special moments that I now realize only happened for such a short time. But it was still a struggle and a huge transition. I continued to feel pretty certain I was failing at being a mom. And sometimes felt like I should pack up my bags and run from being a mom.
Life continued and things got better. Luke started sleeping more and my husband and I found a new normal. I still had a lot of doubts that I was doing a good job, but there really was no turning back. We moved from Ohio to California (my husband is still in the military). I was really excited to be closer to family and ready for a new adventure. My husband and I prayed for God to help us find a new community. He showed up in a major way. I was led to an amazing church and then connected to a great Bible study that gave me the community I had desperately needed when Luke was born.
Baby Number 2
Then we got pregnant with Jacob. We had been trying for months and then finally we got a positive test. Jacob changed everything. I don’t know how a baby growing inside you can teach you so much, but Jacob did. The amount of love I had for Jacob from the moment I saw the positive test showed me how much love I had for Luke. This love thing changed everything, for the first time I was beginning to realize I actually was a good mom. I really wasn’t failing. My pregnancy was one filled with hope and anticipation, instead of fear of the unknown.
Jacob was special to me before he was born because he truly saved me from the pit I was digging. He changed my failures into successes and most of it happened before he was born. And then with his arrival being the natural birth I had dreamed of (well it was a lot more painful than I imagined). It has changed everything.
The fear and resentment I once had with Luke is gone. It has been replaced with such peace and joy that only comes from God. For a time, all I could see was huge FAILURE signs over so many parts of my life. It hurt so much to try and be a good mom. Because each time I did I would just see a sign at the end of the day that said FAIL. God has changed me so much in the last three years. I don’t see those signs any more.
Motherhood is still hard, like really hard. We have good days and bad one, but through it all I know how much I love my boys, how much God loves me and my boys and that has changed everything for me.