First Impressions

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The following is a re-post of “Birthday Wishes” from Defining Motherhood:

Four years ago today, my life began to change in a very big way as I gave birth to our first child. Now I’m not saying everything changed the moment they lay him on my chest and our eyes locked for the first time. No. It didn’t happen that way at all. After 14 hours of labor, I squinted down through swollen eyes with a burst blood vessel to see a wailing newborn lying on my chest. He looked eerily like a shriveled version of my father. My first thought was not, “What a sweet and precious baby.” It was, “I just gave birth to my dad.” Followed closely by, “When is he going to stop crying?” He continued to cry his way through the first hour of his life, only being soothed once he began to nurse. To this day I am still his security blanket that he seeks when he needs soothing, and after a long and slow delivery, he is still a master procrastinator.

I know some moms say they were overwhelmed with love and affection when they first saw their babies. But I’ll be honest; while I was happy to meet him, the reality of becoming a parent scared me. Jonas was 10 days past his due date. While that bothered most of our family and friends, I was okay with delaying parenthood for a few more days. I knew how to care for him when he was still in the womb. All that changed when he finally entered the world. I had absolutely no baby experience and in some sort of ironic twist, Jonas was no textbook baby who would ease me through the immense transition into a new life stage. Instead he refused to sleep, had colic and wanted only his mommy…all the time. And again I’ll be honest; it was not an easy adjustment for this independent introvert who had visions of completing work as a peaceful baby snoozed in the bassinet in her office.

Four years ago, I left the hospital as a woman with a newborn. It would take a few years before I would feel like an actual parent. So I suppose this is the birth date of not just my firstborn, but of my journey to motherhood. And while we’ve both experienced growth spurts, milestones and temper tantrums along the way, we’ve come far from those delivery room tears. We have a lot more growing, learning and maturing to do, but we’re getting there. So happy birthday to us both.

Many thoughts and emotions course through your mind during birth. Some are more surprising than others. Tell us what thoughts first went through your mind when you met your little one. Were they funny, serious, emotion-filled, irreverent…? Were you excited, scared, relieved, joy-filled, uncertain…?

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