When I was 17 I thought love was butterflies and holding hands. When I was 19 I mistook codependence for love. When I was 20 I lost love and she found her way back to me. When I was 22 I dreamed of a love I didn’t know if I’d ever have. Now at 24, love is redefined every day.
On Monday, love was the way my wife and daughter smiled at each other.
On Tuesday, love was hearing the baby laughing at her toys.
On Wednesday, love was watching Cadence enjoy her bath. Thursday, it was watching her with her grandmother. Friday, it was her falling asleep in my arms. Every day is an adventure. Every day love is brand new with you.
You seriously have like 20 pacifiers.
When you’re having a hard time falling asleep, I put my hand on your chest. You wrap your little fingers around mine and fall asleep almost instantly. I’m so humbled by you. I need you just as much as you need me, my beautiful girl.
Future self: The rock n’ play was the best purchase you ever made. This is the first time she’s been able to fall asleep without being swaddled. My big girl 😢
Like an angel.
Some days I am filled with pride. Pride for my beautiful daughter, pride for being able to nourish her with my body alone, pride for having put my body through hell to be in heaven. Most of the time nothing else matters other than this feeling. My world revolves around Cadence and my life is better because of that.
Some days, though, I really get a good look at the woman in the mirror. She has bags under her eyes. Her skin is dry and neglected. Her hair is a mess and probably hasn’t been washed in a couple days. Her breasts are not as “cute” as they were before they went through pregnancy and now breastfeeding. Her stomach has stretch marks and excess skin and fat from having grown a child, the scar from her c-section is a dark purple-black color, and she wonders if that will ever fade.
This is hard. Pregnancy was hard. Loving this new version of myself is hard. Being a mom is really fucking hard. What keeps me going is that it was all worth it. Everyone told me it would be, but I didn’t know until I caught myself staring at my daughter while she slept, or until she smiled at me for the first time. I can get through the part where I can’t stand to look at myself some days. I can get through the emotional turmoil my hormones have left me with. I look at my baby now, sound asleep with a pacifier dangling halfway out of her little mouth, and I love her. I see her blue eyes and I love her. I feel her soft skin and I love her. I look at my baby and hope that she never feels like her happiness should be determined by how beautiful she is or isn’t. But she is, and her two mothers will always make sure she feels it.
I am changed. Physically for sure. Emotionally forever.