Every time someone asks me what’s been the hardest or most surprising thing about becoming a mom, I have the same answer: I was not prepared to love this much.
I know that sounds weird or perhaps obvious? But truly, I remember the first few weeks with Henry as a blur of highs and lows and so many feelings it seemed like my heart was going to pound out of my chest. I would look at him and just think that surely I would collapse at any moment because I couldn’t handle the weight of how much I loved him. It was so wonderful and so scary. And to love something so small, so helpless, someone who has given you no reason to love him other than the fact that he exists — that to me is a sure sign that miracles exist. And that was another layer of love to handle.
Nobody warned me or prepared me! Nobody said, “Get ready because this is going to blow your heart and your world wide open!” Everybody just warned me about babyproofing and getting enough sleep and using the right kind of diapers. Future mamas, I am here to tell you: Those things matter, yes, they do, but they’re gonna happen one way or another. You’ll chose breastfeeding vs. formula and you’ll figure out how to get the kid to nap. That will all fall into place. What you need to prepare for is to love something better and bigger and different than you’ve ever loved something before. You’ll love it because it’s wonderful and you’ll love it because it’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do.
And sometimes, now that he’s a little older, I look at Henry and I wonder where to put all the love. Sure, we cover him in kisses and we care for him with everything that we have. But there’s a part of me that thinks it’s almost not fair to make a little one be responsible for all that love. What’s in my heart for my child would surely be too much for him if I unleashed it all. And I think that’s the hardest part of being a mom so far. The hardest thing is loving your baby just enough but not so much that it’s overwhelming. A mom’s toughest job is to hold all the extra love in her heart and protect it and dole it out when it’s needed. My guess is that it probably gets harder as your baby becomes a kid and then an adult. Then you have to love them so much you let them go.
So for now, I let the love live in every little moment. It’s there when he makes his little noises while he falls asleep. It’s there when Ryan is tossing him around and he’s laughing like a maniac. It’s there when he’s crying for the fourth time that day just because I walked out of the room. I let it sneak out and around and put it into all those little moments because I think that’s where it belongs. And that’s my job as a mom — to find a place for all that love. xoxo