Fake It Til You Make It

Being a first time mom can spark a lot of different emotions from different people. Right when my daughter was born I was overwhelmed, scared and stressed. I loved her since before she was born, but once she was actually in my hands, I had no idea what to do with her.I had this tiny being for which I was now responsible, and I did not know if I would do a very good job. I read all the books, consulted all the magazines and doctors, but nevertheless nothing prepared me for being a mother. I was more exhausted than I thought was possible. In fact, I began longing for the days in college when I could go for days and days without sleep and without missing a beat. Staying up until 4 a.m. to study for an 8 a.m. final? No problem. However, waking up every one to two hours to investigate why my newborn is screaming like a banshee would leave me in a stupor.

I began thinking there was something wrong with me. I didn’t have that gene that all the other mommies have that gives them this otherworldly patience once their babies arrive. Other mommies float on silver lined clouds in perfect bliss with their bundles of joy who coo and cuddle with them lovingly. I had no clue how to comfort mine, and I felt as though my daughter knew this and resented me for it. This lead to a spiral of anxiety; the more she cried, the more I began tensing up and freaking out. Babies pick up on these types of emotions, which meant my behavior was being channeled to her, exacerbating her discomfort and hence making her cry even longer and louder.

My husband was great with her. He was calm, and knew just how to hold her. As jealous as that made me feel, I felt that if I wasn’t a good mother, at least my daughter deserved a good father. So I started retreating, believing I was doing my daughter the biggest favor by allowing her to spend endless hours with her daddy, who actually seemed to know what he was doing, despite the fact that he had never been with an infant before either. I supposed that the gene which theoretically pops up in new mothers also popped up in new fathers and he got his while I was still struggling to find mine.

My daughter was about seven months old before these notions started to disappear from my head. I started feeling more comfortable being a mother, accepting that my daughter will scream and fuss and it is not personal. I calmed down, and consequently, she did too. Now, at almost fourteen months old we bond, cuddle and play, and I have a cooing loving baby to hold.

I finally joined all the other mommies on the silver cloud.

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