What the first week of parenthood *really* feels like

Half of my hair is dry shampoo, my body still feels unsteady and foreign after nearly 10 months of relentless changes during pregnancy, my contacts may have permanently fused to my eyes and I'm so deliriously tired at times that I'm unsure if I'm awake or asleep.

What the first week of parenthood *really* feels like

It's hard to believe that a week ago our lives were irrevocably altered. Time has both come to a halt and is slipping through my fingers at the same time. Our house is riddled with empty coffee mugs, dog hair dust bunnies, piles of clean and dirty laundry (many of which I'm not sure are actually clean or dirty), boxes from the humbling amount of gifts we have received celebrating our daughter and dirty dishes piled out of the sink.

Normally any one of these things would push me over the edge and into the depths of hysteria, but there is an air of contentment and all-consuming love in our home that dims everything else. I could get up and cross any one of those things off of my list, but I'd rather sit here and relish in my girl.

Her face is the perfect mix of her daddy and me. She is Daddy from the nose up and Mama from her cheeks down. As she begins to fill in, I may even see the beginnings of Daddy's dimples coming in nicely. Her hair is sparse and dark and her eyes are that cool grey-blue all new babies have.

When she opens them and stares at me, my breath catches in my throat. Her doctor has commented multiple times on her strength and feistiness and it makes us smile every time. The world needs more strong and feisty women.

This motherhood gig is completely fulfilling, but it isn't very glamorous. Half of my hair is dry shampoo, my body still feels unsteady and foreign after nearly 10 months of relentless changes during pregnancy, my contacts may have permanently fused to my eyes and I'm so deliriously tired at times that I'm unsure if I'm awake or asleep.

Cabin fever has also fully set in with seven weeks left of being homebound. I combat it with daily walks, but I feel so ready to establish routines with this new little BFF of mine.

My sanity in the madness is my husband. We celebrated five years of marriage just a few days before our baby girl, Sloane Hayes, graced our team. I didn't think it was possible to instantly love a human you just met, but I also didn't expect to fall so much deeper in love with my husband from the moment he became a daddy.

I'll never forget the way he looked at us the moment Sloane was laid across my chest when she entered the world. Just the memory makes my heart swell. I wouldn't have managed labor or this first week without him. His support and encouragement as I navigate motherhood has held me together in those moments that I nearly fell apart.

Through my fears of inadequacies and the barrage of advice and opinions, he has quieted the noise and made me feel so empowered and brave. I'm so grateful for him and humbled by his love for me—for us.

I know this time is fleeting. I'm careful not to wish away these days for easier times because before we know it we will be balancing our lives with work, social and family commitments, and those house tasks we have been temporarily neglecting. This is only the beginning of my life as a mother, but I already feel so entrenched in its gifts and responsibilities. I have trouble remembering life before.

When I watch my baby sleep and eat I can't help but think of all of the experiences I want her to have. I think of the places I want to show her and the love, empathy, and kindness I hope to instill in her. I think of the way her daddy and I love each other and how important that example will be to her as she grows.

A friend described motherhood as 'ravenous' and I don't think I could have come up with a better word. We are drinking in these moments ferociously and holding onto the gifts of simplicity and calmness that we're experiencing as a new family together. Our agenda is simple: love on our little girl.

The weight of responsibility that is raising a child can be stifling and terrifying, but together we make each other brave. Our hearts are so full and we are so grateful for this new journey and all of the people, near and far, who have loved us through it all and celebrated in the birth of our daughter.

One week of parenthood down, and a lifetime to go. Now if you will excuse me, I have a soft head to kiss and some cold coffee to chug. 😉

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