Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Metamorphosis

Dr. B and I are no stranger to things changing in our lives. We moved away from our home state for his graduate school, and when he finished that, we left the country and spent a year in Paris. We came home, returning to the familiar, and then began our journey as parents-to-be. For the most part, things always seemed to turn out for us. Whether this is due to my guardian angel or not, we had always come out on top.

Then Rowan was born. Now don't get me wrong--this wasn't a bad thing. But it didn't turn out just as we expected.

Rowan had colic for the first few months of her life. She would scream and cry and fuss for hours and hours on end, and nothing we did would calm her. She would not be soothed. It tore at our hearts to see our little girl upset, when we could find nothing to help her. And not only that, she didn't seem to even know we existed. She didn't love us. She didn't need us. We couldn't help her and she didn't care.

I felt like a failure. For one of the first times in my life, I was failing at something.

I led an easy life--I got good grades, learned easily, made friends, was happy. I was both talented, gifted, lucky. Though I had dealt with things that were difficult, I always came through it. But this time, no amount of thinking or research or planning or intuition could solve this problem. I couldn't do it. And I didn't know how to take that.

I had thought, before she was born, that the connection would be instant. That I would love her more than life itself from day one, like all parents talk about. But it just wasn't that way. I loved her, yes. But I didn't like her that much. She wasn't very easy to like. Yes, she was beautiful, and perfect, and wonderful and a blessing from God. But she was very difficult, and it was difficult to deal with the fact that I wasn't completely in love with my daughter. I felt awful, but sometimes I was very angry, and frustrated and defeated. I was very ashamed. I felt like a terrible mother.

Then, Dr. B had to come to Pennsylvania to start his job, and we spent six weeks visiting family. I was scared. Scared to death. It was all on me.

It was tough, though I had the help of our family. But it was still up to me. Then slowly, it started to get easier. She still had her tough days, but they were fewer. She started smiling, and one day she smiled when she saw me. And things started to change. Very slowly, they started to change.

Last week, Dr. B had a conference in Washington DC for four days. I was all alone, with her and with Lucy. And it was fine. No, better than fine. It was good.

The other day, Rowan had her 4 month shots. She screamed when the nurse poked her, and cried desperately as I gathered up her papers and checked out. We went outside, and I took her in my arms and sat on the grass with her, holding her close and cuddling her and singing silly songs until she calmed down and returned to her happy self.

The next day, she was still reacting to the shots. This time she wasn't fussy, but she did take more naps, and long ones. I found myself checking on her, often.

And then I realized it. I couldn't wait for her to wake up. I missed her.

This is one change I am very proud of. This is a real accomplishment. This means more to me than a doctoral degree or a year abroad or the perfect job or the best performance.

Mom's little angel

I am absolutely, positively in love with my daughter. I look forward to waking her up in the morning, and I can't wait to snuggle with her when I hear her stir. Her laughter gives me that "squeeee!!!" feeling I got the first time Dr. B called me for a date. Her smiles light up my world. When she buries her face in my neck as I carry her up to bed, I'm in heaven.

I'm a Mom, and now I finally feel like a good one.

4 comments:

Sarita said...

R, great post. Thanks for sharing all that...it was beautiful and honest. I'm so glad you are both figuring each other out :)

PutYourFlareOn said...

You know she's just stubborn like you and Jeff. That was all the colic was. After she figured out that you were not going anywhere she figured things out. Give a smile here, and a laugh there and these big people in my life react! :)

I'm so happy that you feel in love with your daughter. I know what you mean I feel the same with Max. He's going to be 7 months old this weekend I still go into his room when he's napping and sit by his bed and watch him. I miss him when he's napping. Isn't that crazy? I know you know what I mean. :)

I can't wait to meet this little girl!! She's just so awesome.

I love that photo of you two. It's beautiful. :)

D said...

What a beautiful post. It's very inspiring for a nervous, Mom-to-be to read your honest account of those first tough months. Even more inspirational to read of the love that's developed and learn that I too will make it through the tough times I fear most. :)

D said...

I felt exactly the same way and it took longer than four months for me, because my son was an extremely difficult person until about 10 months. I've said more than once that it was like having a bad pet--one who made a lot of mess and noise and prevented us from ever leaving the house but didn't give much back...but now he is the most wonderful kid in the world and I am crazy about him.

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