Today is my baby's 5 month birthday.
He spent his first night away from home this weekend while mom and dad went to a wonderful friend's wedding. My stepmother and dad were kind enough to keep Oliver, and it was nice to have a weekend away and be adults! THANK YOU MISSY AND DAD!!!! It was such a treat!!
For the last few months I've been mentally making a list of things I want to tell all my friends who will become mothers. The funny thing is that there is not one single thing someone can tell you to prepare you for it. People told me that before I was a mom, and I was like "well duh," but I still thought I knew what it would be like just a little bit.
My first dog Milly was the love of my life up until that time. I lost her tragically, and I just assumed that it was similar to losing a child, or that I loved Milly as much as I would love a child. While I am in no way discounting how much I loved Milly, because God knows that was a deep deep bond and love, the way I love Oliver is entirely different. I did not know what it would be like, and there was no way I could have.
This is not exactly how I want to describe being a mom, but it's the best I can come up with. I am lucky enough that I have never been truly addicted to anything. I've always been able to walk away from vices with no problem. With Oliver I feel like an addict. It goes beyond a mental desire to see him. There are times when I wake up at night and I just need to go be near him. I have yet to sleep through the night, but not because Oliver is crying or I need to feed him. I wake up at night just to make sure my family is ok. I check on Jimmy, make sure Charlotte is snuggled in, and then look at the baby. I assume it's like being addicted to cigarettes, but much much better (obviously). As soon as I walk into his room in the morning and see that sweet smile it's like I got my fix and life can continue. Hopefully someone out there knows what I am talking about and is not reading this thinking I'm just obsessed with my child, which I might be.
So here is my advice for my friends who will be moms one day.
The love you feel for your child will be the most powerful love you've ever felt, but it's ok if it takes a second.
I was scared to admit this at first because it made me feel like a failure. I had it built up in my mind that Oliver would be born, I would look into his face and be stabbed through with a love unlike any I had ever known. While that was true in some ways, it happened a little bit differently for me.
This is a photo of me he first time I got to hold my sweet man. I believe the photo speaks for itself. It was without a doubt the best moment of my life, and I was filled with all kinds of happy emotions. I had wanted a baby for as long as I could remember. I am 100% certain I was put on this earth to be a mother. The strange thing is that in this moment my biggest feeling was gratitude, not love. I was so grateful that this perfect child was born and entrusted to Jimmy and me. I had the exact birth I wanted to have. I was overwhelmingly grateful to my doctors and family for getting me through the 14 or so hours of labor and helping me bring Oliver into the world healthy. The biggest surprise to me that I was filled with an overwhelming, awe inspiring love unlike anything I had ever known, but it was for my husband.
I went into the hospital the night before so that I could get induced. It was two weeks before my due date, and my blood pressure was so high they wanted to just get the baby out of me. From the time we went into the hospital until the time Oliver was born, Jimmy never left my side. In my head there were five major things I was afraid of, and Jimmy and I got through them all together. I would love to discuss those with anyone who knows me personally or wants more information, but I will spare you the exact details here :).
After I got the epidural, I was unable to move the lower half of my body. Jimmy took over positioning my legs and back. At points I got so tired I couldn't speak, and he spoke for me. I have had one pillow my entire life. I feel like I was a fairly easy patient, but every time I got flipped from side to side I needed that pillow and smell of home right next to my face. Jimmy did it every time without asking. When It came time for Oliver to actually be born, Jimmy was right there. He helped me the entire time. I was afraid that during the birth I would get annoyed or bothered by people who were trying to help me, but I did not. Every time I needed help or reassurance, I just looked at Jimmy, and he was the strength that got me through. There is no doubt in my mind that God gave him to me to be my life partner. That day we became a team.
During the days and weeks after Oliver was born, I learned to never doubt Jimmy. When things got hard I knew he would be there with me. When I cannot speak for myself, I can trust him to speak for me. I never realized that someone could love me in that way before, or that I could rely on someone so completely. It was the biggest and most delightful surprise of childbirth.
During the first few weeks of Oliver's life, I kept waiting to feel this love for my baby that would move mountains and blow my mind, but if I'm being 100% honest I was scared and tired. I had no idea if I was doing the right thing or if he would make it through his first few days at home, and he was a fat healthy baby! I just felt such overwhelming pressure to keep this child we created alive, and I didn't really let the joy in right away.
That joy came for me the first time he held my finger, stopped crying when I hugged him, fell asleep in my arms, and cuddled with us in bed. It came slower than I expected, but when I started feeling that love it blew me away. The first time Oliver smiled when he saw me I thought my heart would explode.
You Will Never Be Your Pre-baby Self Again, and that's OK!
This one took me by surprise, because I was pretty pleased with pre-baby Blayne. I had a husband I loved, an unbelievable family, and friends I was thankful for every single day. Life was great! This is also hard to explain, but I am not the most important person in my life anymore, and that blindsided me. I know it shouldn't have because it's a fairly easy concept to grasp, but like the love of my child, I didn't really get it before I met him.
For the first few months of his life I really struggled with the feeling that I would never again be able to enjoy things that I was passionate about before he was born. Examples: Cooking, shopping for clothes, going to the movies, working out, hanging out with friends, going on trips or to concerts with Jimmy, and drinking ice cold beer. (I'm very serious about all of those things)
As time passed I figured out ways to incorporate all of those things back into my life, but none of them were the same. Examples...
Cooking. I love cooking. LOVE IT. Before Oliver I would spend hours finding things online I wanted to make, and then go after work and spend a tremendous amount of time at the grocery store finding everything I needed. If we ate at 9 or 10 it didn't matter... we had no children. For the first few months I did not cook at all, and it depressed me that I lost such a major part of my life. Jimmy discovered Garnish & Gather, a company that delivers a meal and everything you need to make it to a local drop off site. Now I get to cook once or twice a week and it only takes 30 minutes! I still get the joy of cooking, but's its totally different.
Hanging out with friends and drinking Ice Cold Beer.
Before Oliver I loved meeting my friends for happy hour or throwing big parties at my house where I could get everyone together. I loved being the hostess and making big plans. Now I can't meet for happy hour because the nanny leaves at three. It's impossible to hide all the baby stuff, and I lacked the energy to get the house into party shape. At first I was really sad about losing those things.
I've wanted to start a company softball team ever since we started Beacham & Company, but somehow I waited until I was three months postpartum to actually do it. I've had the best time setting up the team and organizing the games, and for one hour a week I get to drink beer, hang out with my friends, and focus on something other than being a mom, which has been a Godsend. It's hard to think about anything else when the shortstop is hurling a ball your way, and it's just the break I need. I get to go back into being a mom with my energy restored and refocused after just an hour or so break.
I've been able to reinvent the way I do all the things I love, but nothing is the same as it used to be, and I've learned to embrace that.
This Moment Will Never Happen Again, So enjoy it Now.
My friend Ginny has recently been posting a lot on Facebook about the "Busy Trap," or people who just overstuff their lives and don't have time to enjoy things. Before I had Oliver, I was busy! I had houses to shoot, friends to see, movies to watch (I like to see all the Academy Award Nominated movies), drinks to drink, and music to hear. When people asked me how I was, I think my answer usually led people to think I was just very very busy, and I was. Now that I'm a mom, I force myself to slow down and savor these moments while they last. It's not to say that I do not feel stressed, or tired, or angry or even sad sometimes, but I am able to remind myself to let go of the small stuff and savor these very very important moments.
Even if I have more children, I will never again have the luxury of laying on the couch with my one baby and watching him sleep, so I try to do it every day.
I will never again get to watch my family fawn over their first nephew or grandchild.
God willing, we will not always be a family for three, but this is my life right now, and I want to enjoy and remember every moment of it.
For any of my friends out there who plan on becoming moms, let me encourage you with all my heart. It's the best thing you will ever do.
Thank you all for your continued support. You have no idea how much it means to me.