Remember Tara and Cory? Last month, in Tara’s 9th month of pregnancy, she braved fences and potential trespassing charges for her maternity session, handling it like it was all old hat. And guess what? We didn’t get arrested for trespassing! Yay! Well, that, and… her baby is here! Celeste is here at last and now Tara is an official card-carrying (diaper bag-carrying?) member of the Motherhood sisterhood. And what does being around a newborn do to me, you ask? It might have given me the tiniest(!) bit of baby fever, sure, but it also sends me into major self-reflection-slash-blogging-wheels-are-turning mode. I’m a thinker. Always have been, always will be. So after a shoot like this, reflecting on how you jump into motherhood and life will suddenly never be the same, it flowed for this one. A lot. The fact that I’m also a mom defines my identity in ways that still overwhelm and astound me.
My journey to motherhood wasn’t easy. For a long time, I dwelled on the journey that knocked me down and broke my spirit- what was wrong with me? But then, finally, my dream come true… a little brown-eyed dream that weighed 8 pounds and awarded me the fastest labor of anyone I’ve ever known. And then, a few years and a few more struggles later, my other dream came true… this time, that dream was a 10 pounder with curly black hair and the most squeezable cheeks in existence. It’s funny. The struggles and heart ache and tears that defined my life for what, back then, felt like it would be forever, actually had a purpose after all. They shaped me. They’re always sort of there, lingering in the back of my mind when I’ve had a hard day with my children. They’re there to remind me of how far I’ve come and how very lucky I am. And I am lucky. So very, very lucky.
If you think about it, it’s actually really easy to take care of a baby. Need a diaper change? Done. Hungry? Got it. In need of a walk around the house, at 4 am and only in a very specific position in your arms? That’s the easy stuff. The harder parts of motherhood come creeping in as your babies get a little older. The easy, most primitive needs of a person give way to the more complicated stuff. How do you take a helpless newborn baby and turn it into a smart, kind, productive adult in only eighteen or twenty years? There’s so much to teach them and so little time.
It’s so daunting, the idea that it’s only going to get harder. I worry sometimes (okay, I worry pretty much all the time) that I’m not going to be able to teach them everything I want them to be armed with. And seriously- how am I supposed to help them with their Calculus homework when the last formula flew out of my head years ago?
I wish I had the answer, but I don’t. So here I sit, a few days before my youngest daughter, my Little One, celebrates her first birthday. And I’m a wreck. How can I teach either of them all the stuff in the world when first steps and preschool graduations make me cry? I don’t know. I just don’t know.
But what I do know is that if I could go back in time, years back, and have a choice: the easy road or that road less traveled, full of bumps and setbacks and doctors appointments and ultrasounds and tears and pain and sadness, knowing that it would be a rough journey, guess what? I’d still do it. In. A. Heartbeat. Because I look at my girls, so beautiful and smart and funny, and I know that it was worth it. SO WORTH IT.
So I push along. Like me, Motherhood is a lot of things. Life-changing, rewarding, challenging, fun, exhausting, exciting, boring, busy, lonely, joyful… and more often than not, all of the above, all in the same day. It’s also a process. You become a mother and let’s face it. Most of us have no idea what we’re doing for a good long while. Or ever, really. (And guess what? Those who act like they know EVERYTHING about motherhood, all the while giving you the stink eye because your kid is a genius and wants to eat mud at the playground? They’re lying. They have no clue what they’re doing either.) It’s a learning process, and you figure things out as you go. And the best part of all is that you have the most perfect companion to figure all of this stuff out with over the next few decades: your baby. See what I said? SO WORTH IT.