I always wanted to have a daughter; a little mini-me. I was so overjoyed when I found out I was pregnant and I can’t even put into words my joy when I found out she was a girl. The excitement was off the charts – I got to buy all pink stuff, dresses, and bows; she was going to be my little princess and I knew it right away.
Rylie came exactly one week before her due date on a rainy morning. As soon as she was placed in my arms I fell so deeply in love. I could not believe she was all mine. I knew that everything I had done up until that point in my life had lead me here and I just felt so unbelievably blessed and grateful.
Then we got home. As soon as we got home I remember feeling overwhelmed with responsibility. My once easy going life had turned upside down. My husband took a few days off of work to get me settled in at home, but I felt like I had been thrown to the wolves as soon as he left for work that first day. I could no longer do even the simplest of tasks like showering, having coffee, brushing my teeth, without having to listen to crying. Rylie was an extremely tough baby; she had colic from what felt like the moment we took her home from the hospital. One of the only ways to calm her down was to rock her on a medicine ball (I would later finding myself having nightmares about that ball) and it was so tiring. She could not be put down for one moment without crying, she always needed to be held, which meant my arms were always full. This continued for months.
I had people in my life that were willing to help but I was so ashamed to tell them just how much I was struggling. Her cries were deafening and broke my heart and I felt like an awful mother for not being able to figure out why she seemed so unhappy. Weren’t babies usually happy? Why is mine not? I would post pictures on social media portraying this happy little girl when in reality she was crying more than she was smiling. It was tough to be living a lie.
I remember one time I went to go make a cup of coffee and I was so scatterbrained that I forgot to put a cup under the machine of my Keurig and the coffee went all over my counter. This might have not been a huge deal for a normal person who was dealing with normal emotions, but I remember this sending me over the edge. All I wanted to do was clean up the mess I had just made but Rylie would not let me put her down without screaming so it was like I couldn’t get anything else done – even if it was an emergency. I had to call for help that day and I was embarrassed that I couldn’t even make a cup of coffee without needing some assistance.
Rylie had a very intense “witching hour” and would scream and cry from 7 pm until around midnight. Although my husband and I would take turns, I always felt so much pressure to be the one in charge that I couldn’t even allow myself to rest when it was his turn. I was so sleep deprived, depressed, anxious, and angry that I was feeling like this when I always assumed this would be the “happiest time of my life”.
Let’s just fast forward to when I found out I was pregnant with J. Boy, that was the surprise of a lifetime! I did not plan on getting pregnant so quickly. I was still not confident in my mothering abilities towards Rylie and now I was going to add another baby into that mix?! It was just a recipe for disaster. I was suffering in silence and I probably should have gotten help for PPD or PPA but by that point I was pregnant again and I didn’t want to admit all of my negative thoughts and feelings towards motherhood when I was doing it again already!
After Rylie turned a year old things definitely got easier with her. Less whining and crying, and I felt like I was finally getting the hang of motherhood. Of course, 2 months later, came another baby. J’s birth was tough and the transition to 2 kids was even tougher. Where I thought I was sleep deprived and exhausted with one kid, having 2 kids under the age of 2 is enough for even the most mentally strong person to struggle. But honestly, Rylie turned into the best big sister from the moment she met J. She is a caring, thoughtful, generous little girl and has a huge heart. Honestly, I admire her for those qualities.
So while her first few years of life were tough for me, after that first year she really began to thrive. Outgoing, friendly, smart, spunky – she had all of these amazing sides to her personality that I was truly in awe of. By the time Pre-K rolled around, I was heartbroken that our time home together 24/7 had come to an end. But honestly, it was bittersweet, because it was what allowed me to start exploring who I am again outside of being a mom and I am grateful for that.
To say that I am a proud mom would be an understatement. The fact that both of my kids had to deal with me at my worst and are still thriving today says a lot about who they are as individuals. I am so blessed that now they get to experience me at my best and I will continue to be the best mom I can for them every single day.