Do you ever have those friends you just love the moment you meet them? You might have nothing in common but for some reason you just get each other? Today’s Monday Mama is Jaycie. This girl speaks to me. She is one of the strongest girls I’ve ever met. Life hasn’t always given her a field of roses but she knows how to throw up some fists and fight it right back. Nothing gets her down. She always has a good attitude, is so strong, and has the best sense of humor (and sarcasm 😉 ). I truly do love this girl and am excited for you all to hear her story on motherhood.
“I’m Jaycie. My baby is Henley Shaye. I work as a substitute teacher and I’m going to school full-time to be a ceramics and English teacher. My baby turned one this week, and I feel a massive sense of relief that we’ve made it, but also a little bit of sadness that my baby is growing up so fast. I wrote a letter to myself of some of the things I wish I’d known a year ago. Enjoy! 🙂
“Hi, Mama,” your doctor will say, holding up a tiny, screaming baby, brand new to the world. It’ll hit you then. You are a mom and it’s not just you anymore. You knew this was going to happen, of course, but it will really hit you when he says it. You’ve been worried about silly things up to now. Which bottles to use, moby vs. solly wraps, what brand of diapers are best, but now the focus will change since you have a real, live, breathing human.
Nearly three weeks early, your water will break at 4:17 a.m. Boy, will she make you wait for it though. She won’t be born for 17 hours and 14 minutes, which will feel like eternity. You’ll find that she’s like that though, certain she’s ready early, but then she gets nervous and takes her time with things. She’ll have chubby cheeks that will hold the only fat on her body, and a little bit of dark hair. She’ll be a whopping six pounds, one ounce and from the moment she’s placed in your arms, you’ll never be the same.
With all the crying and pooping will come more love than you ever knew existed. With all that love will be fear. Will you be enough for this girl? Her father kicked you out while you were pregnant and you’ve done this all on your own. Now, there’s a fresh, screaming baby counting on you. You’ll be determined though, and you’ll vow to create a good life for your girl. You won’t know it for awhile, but you will be fine.
At first, all you’ll do is stare at this beautiful, brand new little baby. It’s amazing, that such a miracle came from you. You made her from scratch and her face will never get old to you, no matter how long stare at her. You’ll miss plenty of sleep, staying up late into the night just to take it all in. You’ll memorize her face, her hands, her feet, and the way she smiles in her sleep. All the memorization in the world won’t help you though, because she’ll change before your eyes.
Those first few months are magical, but also extremely tough and you’ll constantly think, “I definitely wasn’t ready for this. I’m still not ready for this.” The newness and awe will dull a little, and you’ll be left with the fear that you actually have no idea what you’re doing. You’ll work out a routine though, and soon the time will start to fly.
The nights will seem endless. It will be 3AM and your baby will be awake. You’ll both cry because you’re exhausted. It will feel like forever– you’ll be convinced that you’ll be permanently stuck in this sleep-deprived life. But you’ll wake up one day and realize your baby has slept through the night and you’ll miss that time that was just for the two of you, late at night when nothing in the world was better than holding that precious, sweet baby.
Within three months, you’ll be forty pounds below your pre-pregnancy weight. Everything will revolve around your sweet girl: feeding her, napping with her, playing with her, you get the idea. You’ll forget to eat and you will forget that you need attention too. Eventually you will get sick. Physically, the stress of caring for a newborn without any fuel catches up to you. But you’ll humble yourself and ask for help. It’s an important lesson you’ll learn: you need to make sure to take care of you too. You also need to ask for help when you need it.
You’ll get fired from your job over a silly mistake. All at once you’ll realize you aren’t invincible. You’ll be completely terrified and for awhile, you’ll be stuck in the unknown as you scramble to make ends meet. On a whim, you’ll take a job as a substitute teacher and decide you need to get a degree and do this for real. You’ll apply to school and move fives hours away to make it work.
Too soon, you’ll realize that sweet baby can hold her head up and look around herself. Next, she’ll hold up her bottle, then grasp small toys. You’ll be so proud of her and watch in amazement at how quickly she learns, but there will be a little ache in your heart that she doesn’t need you as much as she used to. You’ll blink again and she’ll be sitting up by herself, content to play with her toys alone for awhile.
As she holds up her arms for you across the room and cries for the fifth or sixth time within an hour, you’ll go to her, thinking, “I can’t wait until you can crawl.” Then she will crawl and you’ll find yourself longing for that tiny baby that cried for you instead of following you around, pulling at your legs constantly, begging you to pick her up.
As you’re changing the millionth diaper, you’ll think, “I wonder if you’ll ever roll over and crawl away while I’m trying to do this.” The next day, she will, smearing a little poop into the carpet as she goes. You’ll laugh, and chase after her, horrified hours later when you realize there’s poop you didn’t notice smeared all over your leg too.
She’ll get sick a couple times and as you hold her close to comfort her, you’ll look longingly at the pile of homework you have, concerned with the deadlines. But babies don’t keep and you can’t have this time back, so hold her close while you can. Your professors will understand and work with you if you ask for their help.
After crawling, she will learn to pull herself up onto things and then she’ll cry for you because she’s stuck. But soon, she’ll learn to get down too and you’ll watch in wonder and awe as she explores the world all by herself. There will be another little pang in your heart that she’s getting so big.
You’ll take a lot of crap from people about letting her sleep with you, from strangers, friends, and family alike. You’ll be a sucker though and she’ll learn that crying in the night and morning means going to Mama’s bed to cuddle. In the morning when you wake up to get ready, she’ll take over more of the bed, and you’ll have to stop and pause, shaking your head at this little wonder who completely owns your heart, toes digging into your butt and all.
She’ll put everything in her mouth. Shoes, clothes, make-up, toes, and sometimes real food. At first you’ll worry that she’s going to catch all sorts of yucky illness, but eventually you’ll calm down. When strangers look at you, appalled that she’s sucking on the cart handle, you’ll shrug and say, “I wiped it down, but germs will build her immune system.”
Congratulations, Mama! She’s a year old and you made it through the longest, hardest year of your life. With it, you’ve grown confident. Until you see the other one-year-olds. They’re already walking, talking, are being potty trained, and speak fluently. Your girl is still crawling and only knows, “Mama,” “Yum,” and, “No.” You’ll be sure it’s because you’re not reading to her enough, but she’ll get there soon too. You’re doing your best. It’s only been a year, but please know, the clock will not slow down.
Enjoy the laughing and all her phases. You’ll continuously think, “This is my favorite phase.” Over and over, you’ll think this. When she starts to smile all the time, as she learns to sit up, as she starts to giggle. When she learns to play peek-a-boo will be a true favorite, but there will always be a new, fun phase waiting.
It will keep getting better and better, Mama. The love will grow. Your baby girl will grow. And you will grow too, in ways you never dreamed you would. Keep going, because you are enough.
There are only two things you need to ask yourself when you start to fear. Firstly, is your girl happy? She certainly isn’t worried that she’s not walking yet, so you shouldn’t either.
The second question will hit you a little deeper. Are you happy, Mama? If you’re doing all you can for your girl and taking time for your needs too, your baby will see that and learn from you how to grow and be happy too. She doesn’t need to learn how to read before she leaves for Kindergarten. They’ll teach her that. But if she knows she’s loved by a mama who’s doing her best, she’ll already know all the important stuff.
Soak up every single minute you can with your little one, Mama. Before you know it she won’t be little anymore. Ignore the people who try to give you advice that doesn’t mesh well with what you want for your little one. They mean well, but you know best. After all, you’ve gotten this far, so you’re obviously onto something!”