Friday, February 28, 2014

Why I ♥ the Early Days

Sure; the early days with a baby can be tough. There's a lot of sleep deprivation (last night was vaguely reminiscent of a few of my tougher college all-nighters). There can be a fair amount of stress... of time management issues... and even some difficulty fitting in "normal" tasks (like eating and showering). There's also an abundance of yoga pants and ponytails in my house right now.

But I still love the early days.

I'm sure other moms have different experiences - the bond with a child is an intensely personal and unique experience for everyone - but for me, the early days are where the magic starts. When each of my kids were  born, I had this initial exhilaration and intense love for them immediately. It was that strong motherly love that is full of protection, care and amazement. But the real bonding for me -- the parts that make my heart feel so full I think I'm going to burst -- happens in the weeks (and months and years) following the birth. It's during this time that I start loving them as individuals rather than just a son or daughter. And for me, that makes the connection even stronger, the love even deeper and the joy even greater.

It's the early weeks that find me getting to know my babies and building unique relationships with them. I may have had a few instincts about my babies' personalities while in the womb, but after they're born, I start really getting to know them. Their temperaments and traits are already there and I'm getting that first glimpse into who and how and what they are. I start appreciating their uniqueness, forming my own relationship with them, and falling in love with them as their own person.

During the early weeks, I spend a lot of time looking at my babies. I stare at them. I learn about them. I connect with them. I am in awe of them. They are truly amazing. I notice everything. Every eye flutter or sneeze or silly sound they make while sleeping. And somehow, all of it seems amazing. So much bonding comes not just in the big moments - the birth, the baptism, the birthdays - but in the little every day moments. The snuggling. The nursing. The silly things we do to get our babies to go to sleep. The tending to them that happens around the clock. Because although I might be tired the next morning (or occasionally annoyed at 3 am), the middle-of-the-night feedings are special as well. It's just me and my little one spending that time together while the rest of the world sleeps. Mother nourishing baby. Mother loving baby. It's in all those little moments that you really get to know your baby... that I really connect with mine.

The early days are amazing - a miracle in every sense of the word. It's amazing that I'm getting to know my daughter right now. I'm learning about her temperament, the budding personality she has that will keep unfolding in the months and years ahead. And I'm loving her for her. Not just because she's my daughter, but because she's Elissa. If experiences with my son are any indication, this amazement, this bonding and this connection I feel are only going to continue to grow in the years ahead.

It's hard not to appreciate where all the joy begins. Even if I am a bit tired. ♥

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