Maternal Instinct: So Now You're Someone's Mother
Words by Cecile Davis
We've been following Cecile's journey as she became a first time mom after her experience with miscarriage. This is the last post in this series, and we hope you've enjoyed following along with Cecile and her sweet baby girl as much as we have.
At the end of my pregnancy, it felt like I was going to be pregnant forever. All I wanted was to have this baby, then you have her and she’s here, and you realize you’ve got her and more importantly she's got you for the rest of your lives. Whoa. It's so real you can't really wrap your head around it and for a second you start freaking out… then you change a diaper. Then you feel your milk let down. Then she makes eye contact and she smiles at you. Then your heart grows three times its size and your baby fits right in there.
She's now eight weeks old and it feels so natural. I'm not saying it's not hard and that our lives aren't completely different, but it’s natural. I feel like I’ve been hard-wired to do this and it’s somehow exactly right, even though I am probably doing a bunch of stuff “wrong”. Is it weird that I can’t stop looking at her? I mean she’s obviously the most beautiful creature that has ever graced the earth, but seriously I can’t stop looking at her. The love is so deep and piercing, I worry that if I look away I’ll miss the growth of an eyelash or a precious little sneeze.
I’ve read a lot about postpartum depression and I was a prime candidate for it myself with my history of depression and anxiety. So, I never expected this. This crazy love that feels better than any drug ever could. Even when we’re up at 2am bouncing on the yoga ball or rocking in the rocking chair because she won’t go to sleep. Or when she has a "poopcano" (a poop explosion that overflows the diaper like a volcano) and I spend an hour cleaning her and every surface she touched, or the fact that as I’m writing this she’s asleep on my lap, well mostly on my keyboard, which to the casual observer may seem annoying, it’s not. It’s all wonderful and amazing and awesome in the truest sense of the word.
I wanted to share my love with you, dear readers, for two reasons. One, I think we all fear postpartum depression these days and I worry that the existential fear of not bonding with our babies contributes to the prevalence of birth anxiety, which in turn leads to the idea that we are not good enough, strong enough to give birth drug free, which leads to epidurals which leads to postpartum depression. This is just a theory and I’m only basing this on the rise of medicated birth and c-sections and the correlating rise of postpartum depression. Two, when I was pregnant and before, I heard more often than not how awful being a parent is. I think humans are prone to be dramatic (I know I am!) and people want to tell you about the sleepless nights and temper tantrums because it's a more riveting tale than the sweet, quiet moments of love and wonder. Suffering is always more entertaining than bliss.
So, I'm here to tell you it’s incredible and I highly recommend it. Procreation is not only good for the perpetuation of the species, but also for the soul. Surround yourself with positive parenting role models that share your beliefs and ideals and will teach you all the things the books don’t. My last piece of advice is this: let the love make it easy. Parenting only feels hard when you let it, when we start taking the miracle for granted and let our grown up anxiety creep in and push the love out. Share the sweet things, keep the horror stories to yourself and before you know it, all you’ll know are the sweet things, the quiet moments, the first smiles, and little sneezes.
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Cecile is a photographer and filmmaker living on Maryland's rural Eastern Shore. She specializes in artistic and highly emotional wedding coverage. Her husband and two dogs welcomed their baby girl into this world on April 24th 2017!