Each day this month I will be answering one question from these December Journal Prompts.
Day 18: Write about something unexpected that happened to you this year and how you journeyed through it.
There are so many things that nobody told me about the aftermath of giving birth and the first year of motherhood.
Nobody told me that, in those first few months, I would somehow feel so full and so empty at the same time.
Nobody told me that, until we found our groove, nursing would be accompanied by excruciating pain—even if we followed all the “rules” and were technically doing everything “right”.
Nobody told me about postpartum night sweats. I had no idea that I’d be sleeping in a puddle of perspiration for six weeks after giving birth.
Nobody told me that some babies like to catnap, or how hard I’d have to work to get Avra to sleep for more than 45 minutes at a time during the day.
Nobody told me about the crippling loneliness—the isolation I would feel after being at home alone with my baby all day, every day, just trying to figure out how to survive this thing.
Nobody told me how all those hours rocking and patting a crying baby in a dark room would eventually get to me—that sometimes it would break me down and crush my spirit as I waited for a light at the end of the tunnel.
Nobody told me how utterly lost I would feel at times, floundering around to find answers that no one seemed to be able to give me.
Nobody told me how quickly things would constantly be changing—that as soon as I felt like I had found a groove, it would suddenly unravel at lightning speed.
Everybody told me that it was going to be hard. Everybody told me that my life was about to change. But nobody told me how. Nobody gave me the truly gory details. But I think I might understand why.
Maybe nobody told me because, like me, they intrinsically knew that the unexpected hardships of becoming a mother were beyond worth it.
Maybe nobody told me because the glory of motherhood is wrapped up in the entire experience—the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Maybe nobody told me because as the days, and months, and years went on, they forgot about the loneliness, and the catnaps, and the pain. All of it was eclipsed by the beauty and wonder of watching their precious child grow.
Maybe nobody told me because they remembered that each and every hardship they faced as a new mom was always overshadowed by the explosion of overwhelming and unconditional love they felt for their sweet babe.
Maybe nobody told me because nobody really could tell me. Nobody could foresee the details of my experience… and I think it’s better that way. Because it meant that I truly got to experience it—my way, and in my time.
Maybe nobody told me because they knew I didn’t need to be told. Like them, I would figure it out. I would do what I needed to do to journey through it, and I would be stronger, braver, and better for it.