Dear Abbey

I was never one of those people who knew at an early age that I wanted to be a Mother.  I would never swoon over or ask to hold a newborn baby.  I had no interest in touching a pregnant belly, it seemed so alien to me and honestly freaked me out (even now). I didn’t even like babysitting. I wasn’t a kid person. As I grew older, I figured that more than likely I’d have kids but I was in no rush.  Then it happened- my Abbey was born. I say ‘MY’ not because I’m her mother, but because she’s my girl, my niece. She was the game changer for me.

I had to wait 3 long weeks after she was born to meet Abbey. I was engaged at the time but in no rush to pick a wedding date. Days after I met her and fell in love I was planning my June wedding. For the first time ever I couldn’t wait to have a baby. In my mind, I couldn’t imagine the love I would feel for a child of my own if I felt this much for Abbey. I was ready! So I thought.

No doubt I was ready for the love, but I hadn’t thought about everything that came along with pregnancy, delivery, and being a Mother. The stress, worry, anxiety, fear, emotions and pure and utter exhaustion to name a few. My pregnancy was far from smooth sailing, nor was my delivery or Aiden’s decision to stop breathing when he was born. Once we got past all that, I’ll never forget the shock to my system from sleep deprivation. My body was tired. I was emotionally and physically drained. But with a husband working shift work, family in another province and not many friends to call on, it didn’t matter how tired I was, this little guy needed his Mommy. He didn’t start sleeping or stop crying or pooping because his Mother needed a break. I wish.

Motherhood was harder than I thought it was going to be. Why didn’t anyone tell me (other than my sister, Abbey’s mom, but she was hormonal so I wasn’t going to believe her, right?). Why didn’t anyone warn me that while there would be immense joy, there would also be tears? Tears that were falling from my own eyes, not Aiden’s. I didn’t see these realities in the pictures that my friends were posting on Facebook. Were they feeling the way I was? Were they tired and overwhelmed and scared, like me?  I didn’t know, so I started a blog about Motherhood. I needed an outlet. I wanted to be a voice for other Mom’s to let them know they weren’t alone, to say things out loud that most people don’t say. I was grasping at straws hoping that I wasn’t alone in this. That the challenges of Motherhood weren’t reserved specifically for me.

Fast forward 18 months and I was more settled in my role as Mommy. I was less exhausted and more into a routine, so due to what I can only assume was temporary memory failure, we decided to try for a second child. Luckily (and thankfully), I had no issues with getting pregnant. Literally, as soon as we entertained the idea of getting pregnant I was out buying a pregnancy test that tested positive. Sadly, 8 weeks later, I miscarried. One month later, I was pregnant again on Camryn.

Pregnancy hates me so carrying Camryn posed even more risks and stress than when I carried Aiden, so I should have known that when he came out I wouldn’t be let off the hook from the challenges of motherhood. Turns out, I had a harder time with Camryn.  Apparently, I had no idea what exhaustion truly was until Camryn was born. Boy, did he show me! I swear he was trying to destroy me. He hated sleep. For 2 full years he barely slept during the night. Couple that with Aiden waking up most mornings at 6am or earlier, and I was barely functioning. I don’t even drink coffee so I don’t know how I got through most of the days to be honest.

Not only was I tired but I found myself taking solace in dark bathrooms, crying. Before he was even 1 year old I graduated from crying in the dark to crying in fully lit rooms, usually the kitchen. I’d find myself thinking and saying aloud, ‘This is not my life’. Wondering how in the world I got here. I was completely overwhelmed.

I was finding Motherhood very lonely and I attribute that to the fact that being new in town (when Camryn was born), I had no social connections and my family was 2 hours away. I spent every waking moment with my kids, caring for them, seeing no one but them (and my husband) day in and day out for days. And days. I had no life. I lived and breathed my kids. PPD came knocking on my door and because I didn’t recognize her, I invited her in for coffee. 

I openly admit that I had a hard time transitioning from one child to two. I had a hard time adjusting to the demands of Motherhood, period. My biggest fear is loneliness, and unfortunately I found myself living a world engulfed by it. This blog helped me feel less alone, reminded me that I’m not the only one who finds being a mother hard work. It tests you, pushes you, and ultimately changes you (in some ways good, some ways bad). But that love that I mentioned earlier? That’s what gets you through. That’s what keeps you going. The smiles, those eyes, the outreaching of arms, the cuddles, the kisses and hugs and I love you’s. The knowing that how imperfect you are as a mother, in their eyes you can do no wrong. Even though at times you feel you are doing it all wrong.

My kids are 3 and 5 years old now and I won’t lie, I enjoy this stage much better than the baby stage.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed them as babies, they were adorable, but I had a hard time with two kids in diapers. It was so demanding, I couldn’t keep up, not without the support I needed from family and friends. But I’m on the other side now, for the most part anyways. I feel less exhausted (but never truly feel rested, if that makes sense) but just as challenged- but in different ways. And the love? It’s only grown. My god, I couldn’t love my kids more than I do. If Camryn could, he’d probably call for help if he woke at night and saw the way I stare at him. And Aiden, he may test me with his attitude, but I swear I near break his ribs every time I hug him because I can’t get enough of him. I don’t want to let go.

To those of you who have ever wondered (and you very well may have, I’ve been asked by strangers working at Walmart in the past), no, I don’t wish I had a girl. I don’t long for a daughter. I don’t feel like I’m missing out. That miscarriage I had between the births of my boys, I can’t help but think that she was my girl and she wasn’t meant to be. I was meant to have my boys.

Plus, I already have MY girl. Her name is Abbey.