I didn’t plan motherhood, although I always knew I would someday be a mom. You decided to come when you were ready rather than letting me plan and connect the dots. From the time I saw the positive on the (10) pregnancy tests to the time I saw you in my arms, bawling and squirming, is still a blur.
I wanted to write you a letter to tell you how I felt. To apologize for not bonding right away. To explain why we are always harder on you. You are our little lioness, but also our little mouse: sensitive, but resilient.
When you were born I waited for the overwhelming protective instinct to envelop me – that love to wash over and overtake me. But it didn’t happen. Instead, I felt overwhelmed, tired, and a disconnect. I had post-partum depression, and you were colicky. It was not your typical first birth experience, according to the books. But what the books don’t tell you is that there is no typical birth experience. Each is life changing and unique- some harrowing and some calming. I’m sorry I didn’t feel that bond right away. I was struggling with keeping you alive and me sane. I was struggling with being new in my life as a mom and a housewife. I was in a dark place that was filled with the sounds of your cries and needs. I didn’t know how to make you happy right away. I thought it would come more naturally since I loved you, oh, how I did love you, despite my mental disconnect at times.
From day one, you were challenging. Demanding and independent and – while you were colicky – extremely ear-piercingly loud in your cries for my attention. As you grew into a toddler, I climbed out of post-partum depression and we started to bond. But on your own terms and in your own time. You would often walk away from me to play on your own. My beautiful daughter, so independent. I thought your first words would be, “I’ll do it myself!”
You hide your empathetic and sensitive nature a lot of the time. If you admit you need help, we make a big deal out of it, which embarrasses you, but that is because it rarely happens and we are in awe of you needing us. Underneath that hard shell of resilience, you hide your worries and early insecurities. I had no idea you were being bullied in kindergarten until your teacher told us! And when, in grade two, you punched a boy in the arm after three weeks of trying to talk it out, I was secretly proud of you, even as I told you how wrong it was to react physically.
You are this complex being of feelings. I can see you live in the creative world in your head. Also, I can see that you are emotional but unwilling to show it- despite my urgings to let it all out- which makes me worry about future depression, since it runs in my family.
But you are also resilient. You have a “can do” attitude that is all your own. I know that when you set a goal you will stubbornly reach it, no matter what stands in your way. You are adventurous and bold at times: You broke your arm, hurt your leg and split open your head trying to be the best at the highest jumps, the fastest runs, the longest leaps.
Your “don’t help me” stance makes us feel we can be harder on you: Demand more of you. You are starting to see it as injustice that we are softer spoken around your younger brother. I don’t want to treat you the same- because you’re not. You are our little sensitive mouse wrapped up courageously in a lion costume, ready to take on the world. You do not always bend but you never seem to break. We love who you are, not who we think you should be. You are strong and stubborn and sensitive. Keep being her. She is awesome.
Author: Tianna Morison
Author Bio: Tianna Morison is a blogger based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She has a B.A. in English and Literature and spends her days raising her two young children. She loves her kids, her cat and organizing her hectic mom schedule. She is currently obsessed with eating real food to solve gut issues, minimalist lifestyle and puns. Read more on her blog www.babblingpanda.com or follow her on Instagram or Twitter where she pursues her nerdy loves and tea obsession.
Link to social media or website: Instagram @babblingpanda | Twitter @_babbling_panda http://babblingpanda.com/