Rachel Heath

Intentional Living: learning to be fully present

On Forgetting

Me and Izzy, 2 weeks old.

As I talk with Isabella about her new baby brother or sister, I find myself thinking often about when she was a newborn. I’ve written many times before about the struggles I faced as a new mom, and that wasn’t even a tenth of it. Many of my friends saw me during those days, soul splayed open, raw from the pressure, sleep deprivation having removed what little filter I normally possess. I talked openly about my on-and-off hatred of being a parent, how I would never be good enough, how I wondered if I really loved my child, and most of all, the horribleness of seeing how truly horrible I could be.

I was so angry with our parent friends because no one warned me. No one told me how frighteningly powerful your emotions can be at 3am. No one told me how maddening it is to listen to your child scream continuously in their car seat. No one told me how tired I would be. No one told me how powerless you feel when your child is crying and you can’t. figure. out. why. In the words of Chris Martin, “Nobody said it was easy… no one ever said it would be this hard.”

Me and Izzy, September 2012

Today Isabella is nearly 2, and while I still think I’m less suited to be a full-time mom than many of the incredible women I’m blessed to know, I love her dearly and would do it all again for who she is and what we now enjoy. When I think back on the first days and weeks and months with my little girl, what I remember most are the sweet and wonderful things. Not the frustration. Not the exhaustion. Not the guilt.

Now I understand why they didn’t warn me… they forgot. I wish I knew then what I know now: I will forget. I would have spent far less time struggling to be perfect, resenting Isabella, feeling ashamed. I would have more beautiful memories to look back on today. I would have gotten help. I would have held on to the good things and held my mistakes loosely. I would have been humbler, more merciful to myself.

I wish, I wish… but that season is over. I can’t go back and re-live those early days, but I can live today. And I get a chance to do it differently with a new baby.  I’m going to be happier this time.

This sweet tattoo isn’t mine. I found it on Pinterest.

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4 thoughts on “On Forgetting

  1. Love your blog too! My fiance is living 2,000 miles away. One day when I was complaining/talking to my boss about how hard it is, she said, “Hard isn’t always bad.” So I’m trying to embrace the hard as somehow good and realize that just because it isn’t easy, doesn’t mean it’s bad. Glad to have found your blog!

    • Hard isn’t always bad… isn’t that the truth! There really is something for us to learn and develop in every season of our life. Good luck with YOUR season! When’s the wedding?

  2. It is amazing how motherhood brings out the most “horrible” parts of us at times. I have acted in ways around my children that I am so ashamed of and I hope that they are too young to have memory of it later in life. Please know that you are not alone in your struggles with motherhood. I appreciate your openness!

    • Thanks Amanda, and thanks for your comment! I always tell people that parenthood can bring out both the worst and the best in us. I’m hoping for more “best” this time around, ha!

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