I wrote this post a few months ago and completely forgot about it. I just stumbled across it this morning, and it made me tear up! Hopefully you like it.
Ache of Motherhood
You faintly hear the cry. But you’re in the middle of sleep. Really good sleep. And you haven’t had really good sleep in a few days, because for some reason you can’t sleep- you’re up at ridiculous hours worrying about your babies. But tonight you could, and you went down hard. You’re in the middle a dream that leaves you wondering if you’re married to Brad Pitt or Leonardo DiCaprio. Or both.
You hear the cry over the monitor again.
Is it Leo or Brad? You ask yourself again. You look over at the brown haired man next to you. He’s neither. But, lucky for you he’s better looking.
You hear the cry again. Louder. She’s awake.
You slam your glasses on your face. You hobble to her room, thinking ‘please, give me a break.’ You sigh and reach down get her out of her crib. You start to rock her and pray that she goes back asleep before she wakes up too much and destroys the next few hours of sleep you’ve got.
You look down at her perfect face. Perfect eyes, lips, hair, and a pug nose that is so adorable, you think about pinching it off.
Seconds later, she’s fallen back asleep in your arms. She’s sleep nursing, her lips moving in a perfect rhythm. You start to lay her back in her crib, but you stop and you feel it:
The bitter sweet ache of being a mother.
You desperately want to put her down. You probably won’t sleep again for another month, and you’d really like to go back to bed, but your heart aches, knowing that every night she wakes up one day older.
Why can’t we kids alternate ages every day? Like Mondays their cuddly, colicky babies, Tuesdays rowdy toddlers, Wednesday semi- self-sufficient teens, Thursdays adults to talk to, and Friday-Sunday you get a break. Shouldn’t every mom get a three-day weekend?
Instead, we’re bombarded with the heart meltingly sweet, yet exhausting years of babyhood all at once. We desperately plead with ourselves to enjoy it, while barely being able to hold our eyes open long enough to be conscious.
You look at your baby once more before you lie her down, trying to memorize her tiny face in your mind, because even though you have a lot of nights like this left, you know you will wake up in a few days and she will be 21. She won’t need to be rocked, and you’ll never know another baby like you knew this one. Your own baby.
You lay her down in her crib. She softly grunts, but thankfully stays asleep. You hobble back to your room, trying to keep your glasses from slipping off your face.
You lay down, willing yourself back into a deep sleep, but it won’t come. You let out a deep sigh. She’s asleep. You’re awake. You’re thinking about that baby face. And then you think about another face. It’s your own mother’s face. And you realize what she must have gone through when you were a baby. The exhaustion she felt, the joy, and terror of having to be responsible for a tiny human. She didn’t have Google!
You remember her faces, the one that she makes when she’s proud of you, the one that she makes when she’s disappointed, and the one that she makes when she wants you to eat your vegetables. You realize they’re all basically the same face.
It’s the bitter sweet ache of motherhood.
That look that says I’m exhausted, I don’t know what I’m doing, I’m scared, but I’m unconditionally in love with you. I’m so in love with you that you could stick a thousand knives through my heart, and I won’t complain. You could say the most hateful words to me, and I will give you a hug.
It’s all the same look, it’s the look that says simply, ‘I’m your mom.’
‘On my best day, I’m simultaneously indestructible and yet completely open-hearted. On my worst day, I’ll still be by your side.’
So, you check the monitor, and look into that peaceful baby face. Then, the tears flow. You cry about how beautiful she is, how much of a miracle she is, and how you desperately don’t want to make any mistakes. It’s a short cry, though. Because, before you’ve finished your thoughts, you pass out. Unconsciously, your body waits for the next cry. When you’ll hobble back to her room and hold her little body close to yours. And feel the ache. The ache that she put in your heart the first time you saw her face, and the special bitter sweet ache that will never go away.