Wow.

It’s been almost seven months since I became a first-time mother. I feel like we have made it up that proverbial hill and are now starting to slowly work our way down. I’m not sure if the extreme life change and shock you experience are the same each time you bring a baby home, but this is our first baby, and this little girl sure rocked our world, but in the best possible way.

Being a planner and always feeling the need to research, I felt like I had a pretty good grasp on what to expect. We have numerous friends and family members that already were parents and have watched them raise their babies, toddlers, and young kids. My husband and I had many conversations during my pregnancy with other parents and felt good about the fact that we were truly ready to become parents, after our seven and a half years of marriage. We almost felt like we were somewhat ahead of the game.

However, there are so many things that I didn’t understand until I gave birth to my daughter and brought her home from the hospital. I didn’t know I was capable of feeling this kind of love-the love of a mother. I had always heard about it and understood it on a mental level, but I never truly comprehended it until I started bonding with my newborn baby girl.

I didn’t know that I would have a myriad of emotions coursing through my body at any given time. I didn’t know that my baby wouldn’t love the trendy, sleek, looks good in our home baby swing we registered for. Instead, I should have just gone with the tried and true swings that have been around since I was a baby. Once again, my mom was right about that one.

I didn’t know that my baby wouldn’t always sleep, eat, and be awake during the time frames listed in the baby articles and books I had read during my pregnancy. I didn’t know that when my baby started sleeping 4-5 hours stretches early on, that it wouldn’t always be the norm, and that sleep patterns can be irregular. I didn’t know that babies can be unpredictable, that there isn’t always consistency, and that the cliché saying “every baby is different” it completely true.

I didn’t know that babies can be unpredictable, that there isn’t always consistency, and that the cliché saying “every baby is different” it completely true.

I didn’t know that there would be days that my baby followed a schedule and I felt that sense of normalcy and routine that I so badly craved…only to have it all fall apart days later. If you are Type A at all, you probably understand how this could make you become somewhat unglued.

Motherhood can be hard. Sometimes, during especially difficult seasons, it can be tough to see the silver lining and see the big picture, because our vision is so clouded. I was someone who was unsure if I would ever be able to get pregnant and then lost my first pregnancy to a miscarriage.

On days where I am exhausted and feel unqualified to raise another human being, I am reminded that this is a gift and that my daughter is a treasure, and that life is but a vapor. I am learning that I have to remind myself that I get to be a mother. It’s an honor, a privilege, and a high- calling that not every woman gets to experience. Yes, on some days it can be stressful, demanding, overwhelming, and tiring beyond belief, but it can also be an opportunity for God to refine us.

I get to raise, love, nurture, and help mold and shape this little girl’s life. It’s only been 6.5 months, and I know we have a long way to go, but learning to press into God on the days where I just want to press [or bang] my head against a wall, and praying under my breath instead of uttering words I’ll later regret, has made a huge difference.

My daughter is making me a better person.

I’m starting to understand that even though I’ll be teaching her most of her life, she will most likely be teaching me more than I could ever realize. Some days are challenging, some days are carefree and easy. Thank God for a sense of humor…but more on that later.

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Chelsea Garofalo

She has been married to her best friend for 8 years, and they welcomed their beautiful baby girl, Sadie, into their lives in September 2016. She was an elementary teacher for seven years, but stepped out of that role to run her home-based business and take a job at Bayside Community Church. She lives in the country, and enjoys being a ranch wife while helping her husband with their cattle business. She loves reading, inspiring other women, spending time with her family & friends, health, fitness, traveling to new places, baking, and a good cup of coffee! You can connect with her on Instagram at @theranchgirl.

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