Dear Natalie: Week 13

Dear Natalie,

We have officially embarked on a new adventure, you and I, because this week I quit my job to stay home with you.

I know many women who have known for most of their lives that they would stay home with their kids. I am not one of them.

I’ve never particularly enjoyed babysitting. Even throughout high school I never understood why anyone would get pregnant on purpose. Why on god’s green earth would you put yourself through the nausea, weight gain and stretchy pants, exhaustion, an alien being holding your body hostage for nine months, and worst of all, childbirth, just to end up with a baby? A baby that will take all your time, energy, money, and sleep forever and ever for the rest of your life?

I failed to see how that was a positive outcome. The thought of spending all day, every day, with a crying little poop machine did not seem like my life’s calling.

And then, shortly after your dad and I got married, I started to see babies everywhere. And, hey, they were actually kind of cute. And cuddly. And ohmygod I WANT ONE.

I had baby fever, sweet girl, but we weren’t in a place either mentally or financially where we were ready to welcome you into our life.

And so we waited, and planned, and I pinned secret baby things to secret baby boards on pinterest, stalked pregnancy message boards, and borrowed books from the library about labor and delivery.

As the foundation of our financial house solidified, the idea of staying home with our eventual baby started to take shape. When those two lines appeared on the pregnancy test, I was 99% sure that this was the right decision for us.

I would be lying if I told you that I didn’t have any doubts, especially those first few weeks. Your dad was an absolute life saver during those two weeks he was home with us, since I was more or less incapable of feeding you and myself. Your needs took precedent over mine, so it was up to your dad to take care of me. He pressed protein bars into my hand in the middle of the night when I was starving, refilled my water bottle umpteen million times, and handed me the TV remote when I sat down to nurse you and found it to be just out of reach.

How could I do this by myself?

But then without fail, every time I thought that I was stretched to the point of breaking under the weight of all that you needed from me – things got better.

I no longer needed an extra pair of hands to spot you when I wrapped you up in the Moby. I got really, really good at grabbing blankets, burp cloths, and even remotes with my toes. I could swaddle you all by myself, without asking your dad for help.

And you, baby girl, grew out of being an emotional black hole, as our good friends refer to squishy newborns. You still need so much from me, but you’ve started giving back.

Huge grins and excited arm flapping when you see me in the mornings. Wide-eyed amazement at the discovery of your hands. Holy crap, did you guys know you have these?!?!
Solemnly following me with your eyes while you hang out in your bouncer and I make breakfast for myself.

It’s awesome. 

I know there will be hard days and easy days, days when you make me cry uncle and days when seeing you and thinking about how lucky I am brings tears to my eyes.

Bring it on, baby girl. Let’s start this adventure together.

Love always,
Mama

natalie-week13

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