A few weeks ago Adam and I were five minutes into a new show called Chicago Med when a doctor rushes in a teenage girl bleeding out only to realize she had just given birth somewhere on the street. Frantic, the doctor runs a couple blocks away to where the young girl was found to track her steps and see if he can find her child. The doctor finds a backpack in an alley and opens it up.
And there he was. A newborn. In a zipped up backpack. Helpless.
And there I was. A new mother. In a glass case of emotions. Crying.
I cry. A lot. Almost everyday. Since having my son, I cry. I never used to be like this. I don’t even like crying, but my son has opened a section of my heart that I never knew existed until now. A section that just loves to mess you up emotionally and mentally and physically… a section that screams, “Welcome Mommy! Here’s all the hormones you can have at once!”
And just like that, I’m a mom.
The most frequent question I’m asked since having Brooks has been: “Do you love it?”
Do you love it???
Don’t you just love it?!?
“Yes! Gosh it’s everything I imagined it would be and BETTER. Being a mother is the best, gosh yes these ARE truly the best days…” is what I did not say.
No, I don’t love it, whatever it is. I love him. And so I do it.
No I don’t love having my schedule revolve around when the next feeding is. No I don’t love being woken up several times in the middle of the night from loud cries to continue said schedule. No I don’t love gas being so bad in my baby he decides to just cry all day long, literally, with no end in sight and I get nothing, and I mean nothing, done. No I don’t love being exhausted all the time, and feeling like a cow, literally and figuratively. No I don’t love being peed and pooped and spit up on on a daily or hourly basis. No I don’t love going two or three, maybe four, days without showering because you seriously don’t have a minute. No I don’t love crying so hard out of frustration because it seems as though you cannot do anything to stop your baby from crying and there’s nothing left for you to do but cry along with him. And no I don’t love how very real and scary postpartum depression is after you’ve given birth and how physically crappy you feel for quite some time.
No, I don’t love it.
But I do it.
Because I love him.
I love Brooks. Oh my gosh do I love him. I am so in love with him it is scary. The thought of anything happening to him makes me sick to my stomach. I wish I could describe in words my heart for him, but I honestly can’t. I look at him and I can almost physically feel my heart melting. All else falls away. All I see is him, my son.
** Note to self ** Go back and read that paragraph each time Brooks keeps me up in the middle of the night because he just. won’t. sleep.. and my temperament changes from “Shh, it’s okay sweet boy” to “OH MY GOSH WHAT DO YOU NEED FROM ME?!??”
These last eleven weeks have been the craziest, most exhausting and challenging of my life, and it will continue to be as long as I am a mother. With every stage comes different challenges and as Adam tells me each time I have meltdowns in his arms (which happens more times than I care to admit), “You’re a mom. It’s the hardest and most important job you’ll ever have.” He’s never been more right.
Yet today marks Friday, January 1, 2016. New Years Day. And in just three short days, I will need to figure out how to be a full-time mom with a full-time job as I head back to work. Another stage, another challenge. For how very anxious I am to take this next step, and as determined as I am to continue to give my very best to my job, a job that I do love, in the stresses of each day I need to remember Adam’s words.
Being a mom to Brooks is the most important job I will ever have.
I have never been more aware of God’s strength than in being a mother. And I have also never been more aware of my weaknesses than in being a mother. The truth is, I don’t know what I’m doing. And honestly, I feel like I never will. But God knows this. He sees where I fail and yet He’s chosen me anyway. God has chosen me to be the mother of Brooks. No one else. No one on this entire planet can be the mother of Brooks besides me. God has entrusted me with this child, and it’s because of God that I can truly love this child, because God loved him first.
I know I’m going to fail. I already have in the short eleven weeks I’ve been a mom. I know I can’t actually do this. That’s right. I can’t do this! Not on my own… But with God and because of God, I can. The assurance I have in knowing God knit him in my womb, that God loves Brooks more than I ever will and that God gave up His son so that mine could live, gives me the freedom to know that even in my failures as Brooks’ mother, God succeeds as his Father.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:26)
Being a mom is brand new to me, and to be honest it’s really, really hard (gosh I miss sleeping). Yes I’ve started to get the hang of it a bit and I’ll admit it’s easier than it was in week one, but everyday is something new. Everyday Brooks changes. Everyday I’m thrown for a loop. Everyday I can do the same routine with Brooks and it somehow yields a different result every time. Nothing comes easy. But nothing is more worth it.
The moment Brooks was placed on my chest, naked and crying, at approximately 3:09am on October 16, 2015, I cried.
And when that doctor on the TV show opened that backpack and that helpless baby was inside, I cried.
And when I first cut Brooks’ nails and I caught his skin and he screamed and bled, I cried.
And on Monday, just three days from now, when I go back to work and leave Brooks behind, I’ll cry.
Because I am a mother. And mothers cry.
Do I love it?
I love him.
And as a friend recently asked the simple question, “How’s it going?” I gave her my most honest answer.
I don’t know what I’m doing, but I’m doing it anyway… While crying, probably.
Brooks Daniel Veenstra
October 16, 2015, 3:09am – 6lbs, 7oz, 20in