I love my kids more than my daily lattes (that's a hell of a lot). I clearly remember how it felt to be pregnant the first time, however awful the side effects, because that beautiful baby was going to make me a mother for the very first time. When I discovered I was pregnant with our youngest five years later, I battled a lot of feelings I wasn't prepared for. Things I didn't realize would happen to my first kid when I got pregnant with my second because, guys, the guilt. Oh, the guilt.
My daughter, the one who gave me the title of "Mommy," is a bright-eyed, energetic little powerhouse. We got off to a rocky start when my postpartum depression (PPD) hit hard. Due to breastfeeding issues that exasperated my depression and anxiety, we didn't bond right away. In fact, it took a few months before she actually felt like "mine." It's a time I look back on with deep regret, because my girl so obviously deserved much better than I was capable at the time. Once I got help, I devoted my time to mending the split in our relationship, hoping she wouldn't remember the moments when I wasn't all she needed me to be.
The first four years of her life (aside from my PPD), we were inseparable. Being a stay-at-home-mom meant I was her person. My partner, her father, worked long hours, leaving just the two of us. I was still learning how to navigate my own life while simultaneously learning so much about caring for her. I took all our time together for granted, but only realized it once I became pregnant again. Suddenly, it wasn't just about the two of us anymore and I hope, in the time since, I've managed to make up for that. Here are some things my daughter struggled with when I got pregnant that I totally understand.