In honor of Mother's Day this Sunday, and the conversations happening around the brunch table for mothers now and future, we asked one of our favorite bloggers, LaTonya Yvette, to bring us a few meditations on what she has learned about life, love, and happiness through motherhood. — Faith
Each time I've brought a baby home after birth it's been different. The sounds, the air, the way my body acclimated — everything. You would think by my first statement that I've had about five of them; but no, only two.
But somehow, my two children have been just enough to teach me the vast difference in what I should and shouldn't do and who I think I am and want to be. More importantly, they've taught me about boundaries.
And this here is tricky, because with motherhood things are always circulating. Babies turn into teenagers so rapidly, and this causes us to change along with them. Our position is ever-evolving, but what I find to be the most important of all of this is the fact that no matter where we lie on the spectrum of motherhood, we must know our personal boundaries. When we are uncomfortable, our boundaries are there as a stream of coping and comfort.
When I was planning the birth of my daughter, I thought about the family I wanted there, how'd I have help and how I would sleep in the afternoon and nurse in the evening. As my birth date drew near, I realized that my family was willing and ready to visit — and just visit. There would be no night-nurse of a grandmother and no real weekends off. My family came and forced me to nap and walk, but when it was time to say goodbye, there they went.
My family, lovingly so, supported and helped from their own comfortable space. Because they knew what I did not: A mother's experience is singular and based off of personal perception. No one can form it for her.
More on Taking Care of a New Family: What You Should Really Bring Someone Who Just Had a Baby
And throughout my daughter's five years of life, I've learned more about boundaries. So much so, that when I had my son four years later, I felt less anxiety-ridden and more steadfast and true to the mother I was and wanted to be and who I could possibly be more than ever before. It wasn't that I didn't love my family — I have not loved them any more than the moment I brought another human into the world — it was just that I knew myself and understood their place more.
3 Boundaries I've Had When Bringing Home Baby
Creating boundaries can be uneasy, but the benefits outlast any initial feelings. Here are a few boundaries that helped me when bringing home baby.
1. It is the first day of the rest of your life.
I mean this with a sense of lightheartedness and also real truth. Babies change; sometimes family doesn't. Whatever paths and boundaries you do or don't set with your family, understand that it may be hard to change them.
2. Create your bubble.
I like to set a bubble for the days leading up, day of, and a few weeks after (of course). We often feel it necessary to be surrounded by people during these times, but in my opinion, the noise of family and friends distracts from the transformation into this new world. We go from noise and hoopla and excitement to this tiny human who needs us constantly, and that can be jarring for some. Setting the bubble and allowing the transformation to happen in peace (and as slowly as possible), and then letting the people trickle in as necessary is a good way to help you and baby get acclimated.
3. Make time for yourself.
Boundaries are not just set for bringing home baby; I've found that they travel with us well into motherhood. Carving out time and developing walls and pouring back into self after a baby is just as important as bonding with the baby. It's often hard to separate oneself from a tiny sweet being — especially when you factor in feeding schedules. After a while, a trip to the laundromat or supermarket feels like a vacation! Think bigger: lunch with friends, a spa day, or simple afternoon in the park reading a book.
For the mamas among us, what have been the boundaries you have found most helpful — in the kitchen, out of the kitchen; in the home, out of the home — as you transitioned into this new role?