1. A Cheerleader
Alexis is by far my biggest cheerleader in life. She's always right there when I need her (and when I don't need her). She claps for me when I use the potty, is always interested in what I am doing and gives me back pats or high fives or claps whenever I want.
2. New Appreciation for My Husband
It also surprised me how gentle, patient and supportive he was during pregnancy and childbirth. During pregnancy, he took up extra chores without complaining when I was too tired or sore. This is especially true for cooking when the smell of cold food made me sick. During labor he tirelessly supported me and advocated for me. Since I was in labor during the Super Bowl Game, he joked that it was a good thing he didn't care about the teams playing or he wouldn't have been as supportive. I know that he would have supported me (probably a tad begrudgingly), even if the Colts were playing.
3. New Appreciation for Myself
I have always struggled with my identity being tied to what I do instead of who I am. This was a huge challenge for me when I went to college because I no longer had my clubs and activities. I had to start over. This was an even bigger challenge when I resigned from teaching to care for Alexis. I still tried to tie my worth to what I could do, but it's hard to see the results of feeding a baby and changing diapers all day. When I was frustrated at myself for wanting to do laundry or cook dinner and not accomplishing either, Austin would tell me "you're alive and Alexis is alive, you had a good day." His love and support despite my perfectionism helps me to appreciate me. Then, having a toddler who gets giddy seeing me, simply because I'm mom, gives a whole new meaning to self-worth.
4. A New Appreciation for My Body
There are so many things about my body that I took for granted. Having menstrual cycles each month is not fun, but once I realized that this is the way our bodies prepare for conception each cycle, I was amazed. Who knew that we actually secrete fluids to help a zygote survive before our body even realizes we're pregnant? The fact that my body can take the food that I eat and turn the one-celled child into a fully-functional infant ready to eat and breath on its own took my breath away.
Frequently as I nursed, I marveled at the fact that every single cell of her being was somehow derived from me (except half the original DNA of course). My body built a human, how crazy is that? Then, my body knew how to produce the exact food that she needed to grow healthy and strong without any input from me! My conscious mind does nothing while my body subconsciously does exactly what it needs to do (except producing enough progesterone, but that's a minor detail thanks to modern technology and medicine).
This is true for birth too. My body knew how to stretch and arrange itself to safely bring a child to the world. I'm saying this not to discount those who have c-sections. Thanks be to God that we can help mothers whose babies don't want to come out or who it would be unhealthy to deliver vaginally. However, the fact that our hips are made to flex and our bodies made to open itself up to birth a child just blows my mind.
5. A New Appreciation for Babies
My sister was always the baby person. When we would babysit, she would take the babies and I would take the older kids. I thought a baby was a baby. I was shocked at how much personality and individuality babies have from the beginning. Newborns are finicky! Who knew that one would like his arms swaddled while the other would like her arms free? Who knew that different babies have different positions they like to be held in? Not me, that's for sure!
The personality trait that surprised me the most about Alexis as an infant is that she LOVED men, especially those with low voices and her Uncle Ryan. Who knows why she liked him the best, but there was definitely a special connection between the two. He does not have the lowest voice of all her family members, yet he was her favorite for several months. She also calmed down remarkably faster when Austin had a cold, and hence a lower voice, then when he was feeling well. People teased us about not knowing how to hold a baby since Alexis did not like the traditional baby-holding position. She liked to be sitting up, facing the world or laying on her stomach. Knowing that babies are not generic makes me super excited to see what type of personality our next baby will have!
What surprised you the most about your baby's personality? What unexpected blessings did you find in motherhood? I appreciate you reading my post and look forward to hearing your stories!
Stephanie started her Creighton Model journey in early 2014 and entered the program to instruct others in 2017. She enjoys equally adventuring in the great outdoors with family and friends and reading a good book with a cup of tea. For more details, visit her About Me page.