Not alone in new reality

For nine months, I waited. For nine months, I planned and anticipated what was to come. For nine months, I spent most of my time imagining what it would be like to meet my daughter. And finally on January 21 I didn’t have to imagine, plan, or wonder what she’d look like or how she’d make me feel. It all became real. After six hours of contractions and 30 minutes of pushing, they handed me the closest thing to heaven I’ve ever seen. She joined me in this world, and she’s mine. I delivered a piece of perfection.Those two days in the hospital, it all felt like a dream and with the nurses there to help, parenting Aleeya seemed doable.

The reality that I had a daughter finally set in the day I took her home. I thought “No more help, it’s all on you Gabby”. I laid her down, sat down and cried. I cried because of my age, because I didn’t have anything of value to give to her. I cried because I felt alone. I cried because this little girl was counting on me to give her the world. No one warned me of the sadness or depression I’d feel. Maybe if I were older I’d be happier. I did not expect to feel so depressed. Everyone talked about how happy and proud I’d be to be a mother. At that moment, and for many weeks after, I just felt guilty. Why did I do this to this little baby? Why did I Bring her into this world when I was still a kid myself? I grew up too fast,and the last thing I wanted was for her to suffer for it.

But I didn’t let my sadness get in the way of trying to be the mother everyone expected me to be. It is the hardest job I’ve ever had. And I’ve learned making a mistake doesn’t just affect you, it affects the innocent person you’re responsible for.I expected the smiles, the laughs, and the good times. Not the 3, 5 and 6 a.m feedings. Not the lost feeling I got when I couldn’t help my daughter stop crying. That pressure scared me.The exhaustion that overcame my body and mind overcame my whole life.

When I thought it couldn’t get much worse, something happened. To lift me up enough to keep going. At about eight weeks old, my baby wrapped her whole hand around my pinky, looked into my eyes and smiled at me. Tears immediately ran down my face, not out of sadness, but out of relief. Maybe I was doing something right. She couldn’t talk, but in her own way she was telling me “Thank you mom. We’re going to be okay.” Suddenly I didn’t feel alone.

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