Four Years with my Amazing Daughter

Today is Beatrix’s 4th Birthday. The memories of her birth and the months following, while somewhat fuzzy, are still powerful.

Like so many mothers, I thought I would feel an instant bond the minute she was born. Instead I was stricken with a mix of wonderment and fear. It was as if someone had handed me a gift and said, “You take it, I have no idea what it does.”

When Stewart and I arrived home from the hospital two days after she was born, we set her in the middle of the living room floor, still in her car seat, and looked at each other.

“So…what do we do now?” Stewart asked.

We were clueless. I knew how to change diapers, how to swaddle and how to bathe my daughter. I had helped take care of other children before. But I had no idea how to raise my own. I thought it would come naturally to me.

Instead I was a mess. Granted, I did not have as severe anxiety or harmful thoughts as I’ve had with my recent Postpartum Depression, but I was still depressed and angry. I never thought I would enjoy motherhood. I thought I was doing it all wrong.

A friend of mine once told me “Children do come with instruction manuals. It’s just that they’re kept inside that child’s heart, and they’re the only ones who know how to read it.” Words of wisdom from a mother who has gone through so much of her own parenting heartaches.

Four years later I realize that there is no right or wrong. There is love and care and comfort (even if you have to fake it till you make it), and that is all that matters to my daughter.

I know I will face many challenges with Beatrix. What will the teenage years bring? Will I like her boyfriends? Will she do well in school? Will she be a music nerd, or a drama queen or a sporty tomboy? Will she be anything like me?

Most of all, I wonder how our relationship will grow and change over time.

For now, I will try not to worry about any of that. I have already faced the huge challenge of battling PPD, and I am winning, and that gives me strength to be the best mother I can be to my beautiful daughter.

I’m so glad I can now see the joy that life brings to Beatrix every day, and I’m glad I get to be a part of that life.

Happy Birthday to my baby girl.

Four Years Ago - Me and Beatrix

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