The Second Best Thing that Ever Happened to Me

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By Trena Elizabeth Morton, guest blogger

Every Sunday and when Mama Chris had to speak before the church, she always began with “first give honor to God whom is the head of my life.” The bad ass in us children would mockingly giggle at the repeated phrase which would become one of her many great trademarks as a true soldier for Christ.  Mama Chris is now resting with the head of her life, but the testimonial preface lives on.  And once I truly established my own personal relationship with God, I adopted the same code.  So, with my chest poked out and head held high – FIRST, I give honor to God whom is the head of my life.

I am often asked and nearly encouraged to agree if being a mother is the best thing that ever happened to me.  The answer is unapologetically no.  I love my son and all aspects of my new role. However, without the best thing that ever happened to me, being a mother would never be possible.  I have no qualms in stating that falling in love with God first and making Him the head of life supersedes all things.  It was His grace that got my son, “Traf”, safely here.  It was His Word that carried me through the baby blues and harsh blows of being a single mother.  We thanked God for each day Traf woke up kicking during gestation, and continue to thank Him for every morning we see together.  God is and will always be the best thing that ever happened to me, and I am prayerful that Traf will grow up with the same foundation.

Now on to the second best thing that ever happened to me…

Being a mother was never high on my priority list.  I had always been indifferent about parenthood.  When asked if the role was for me, I had my stock answer:  “I would not mind, but would not die if life suggested otherwise.”   I dodged the pregnancy bullet with great care for many reasons, but mostly because I LOVED my life.  I enjoyed traveling the world, accomplishing personal career goals, and being footloose and fancy.  The adventures the art of courtship brought, pleasures of having an income restricted to me and only me, and the ability to move my feet in whatever direction I chose did not yield any need to change up my path.  I loved being super aunt and godmother to all the little souls that filled my heart. I did not have regrets from my childhood that I needed to restore with offspring. No unconditional love voids I needed filled. God gave me the greatest love a long time ago. My parents & village filled in every pertinent gap.  My drive and life’s lessons made every fear irrelevant.  Hear me when I say, I was GOOD!

But then, it happened.  My clockwork body was all thrown off, paired with a missed period, and for the very first time in my life I was faced with the possibility of “oops.”  I remember urinating on the stick vividly, and getting the instant positive result met with a negative reaction.  Not me, not now, not like this, and for the love of God – NOT with him!  Damn. Damn. And more damn.  The noise of “how” and “why” echoed loudly in my head.  Close friends told me to abort.   Mentors attempted to overshadow my decision with shame.  I found myself in a mental whirlwind questioning my ordered steps like never before.  I defaulted to the only thing I knew best and prayed to God to see me through.  With clarity near, the co-signature of my mother completely stroked my confidence with these words “You are MY child.  I built you strong.  You will get through this.  You can and I mean you WILL.  Now, get my grandbaby here!”

WE play the cards that we are dealt and play the hell out of every hand. Period.

To my son, my Traf, understand that you made it through birth control, six fibroids, advanced pregnancy age, and placenta previa.  I was told if I pulled this off, it would be uncomfortable.  My first trimester proved this to be true.  Vaginal delivery was practically out of the question.  I bled daily due to the anatomical threats my body possessed, which had me profusely checking to make sure it was “the right red” and I had not miscarried.  The smallest level of activity landed me under physician care and in bed.  Yet you were fighting for me, and you deserved the same in return.

We continued the fight.

By my second trimester, it was confirmed I would walk this journey sans partner.  This fact sent my surging hormones to unstable levels.  The lack of emotional support and abandonment from a ten-year “friendship” (quotes intended) hurt like hell.  There were days the frustration of staying strong and charging through brought me to my knees.  Which was always the prime position to break out my knee pads and pray.

We continue to fight.

By homestretch, several of the fibroids shrank and all were positioned to pose no real threats.  The placenta previa corrected itself.  Cesarean delivery was overruled, and we were prepping for your vaginal entry to the world.  Each visit to the OB and Specialist proved a healthy, developing baby boy.  Heart beat strong.  An outlier on the growth chart.  You were cooking and kicking to perfection.  With my penguin walk and swollen feet, we were in the clear.

We are winning this fight.

And we won.

On May 28, 2017, I pushed you into this world with everything you and I needed beside and for us.  I picturesquely remember our first skin-to-skin contact where you placed your hand down on my chest and pushed your tiny head up with all your might to look me in the face.  You were such a beautiful baby.  With your grey eyes, head full of silky coal-black hair, astute spirit, and full cheeks; you never looked or acted like a newborn.  You showed me another level of patience.  You strengthened my faith. You taught me the ultimate respect for myself and temple.  You taught me the magic of female anatomy and the superior craftsmanship in a woman’s work.   I can thank you for maturing my wellbeing.  My mind, body, and spirit have never been better aligned.

The infamous question of commitment goes “would you die for me”?  Traf, you took these words a step further by surviving for me.  That is an accolade no other human can take from you.  We will shake the earth together.  Side by side, we will move mountains.  I hustle harder.  I dream bigger.  My every step is taken knowing you are watching and believing in me.  I love you with every morsel of my being.  You, my son, are the second best thing that ever happened to me.  And for your choice in me, I will fight and defend you until the casket drops.

And my longest finger goes to…the Newborn Baby Manual

trena

By Trena Elizabeth Morton

Guest blogger

As a new mom, I started my journey just like the rest of us: obsessing over every detail of making sure my son’s life was perfect.

Wake up, pump, feed baby, change baby, stimulate baby, swaddle baby, nap, feed yourself, bathe yourself, sanitize everything, and keep your home maintained.  Keep track of all the 2017 parenting faux pas, adopt the “old school” methods that actually work (and won’t cause long term damage) ; while balancing the latest and ever-changing “new school” parenting commandments that are constantly being SHOVED down your throat respectively by your elders and peers.

Then, remember to keep up with your thank you’s, texts, social media posts, and missed phone calls.  Do all the aforementioned and much more while managing the recovery from vaginal or cesarean delivery, bleeding profusely, and coping with the “baby blues”.  Your head spinning yet?

PLUS, all the things and vices that would normally bring you stress relief are restricted.  No wine or cocktails as you are breastfeeding.  No exercise for six weeks.  No sex for six weeks.  No shopping because you are either broke or still packing on baby pounds.  The baby is too young for an excursion to temporarily change up your scenery.  You are stuck like chuck with the ultimate case of insecurities and unpretties and forced to deal with them “straight up with no chaser.”  Literally.

And then it happens, you snap!  You question what the hell you got yourself into, if you are even capable of pulling this new role off, if my child is normal, am I normal, do I like this new life, is my life over?  You find yourself staring in the mirror with your disheveled hair, in your pajamas or old sweats, looking at your forever changed body, noticing your engorged and possibly leaky chest, scrutinizing every blemish you ever had, tired beyond exhaustion, and crying without being able to explain why these tears are falling and you cannot make them stop.

WELCOME TO MOTHER LUVIN’ MOTHERHOOD!

If you are reading this and in that first six to eight week stretch, let me assure you that it does get better.  I promise, just hold on!  For me, better days came right at the moment that I threw away all the excessive rules and noisy advice; and began to raise MY son.  When I looked at him as a miniature version of me versus this fragile and foreign object, and simplified to plotting his needs just as I would my own.  And just like that I began to love molding Traf, as we affectionately call him, for the unique, happy, HUNGRY, side sleeping, chunky cheeked, advanced progressing, mitten removing, sock missing, tons of curly hair having, mild crying and snorty soul that he is.

Traf required 6 ounces when the world told us 4.  Traf is a stone-cold side sleeper when the world told us he must be placed on his back.  Traf does best with two teaspoons of plain, purified H2O versus over-the-counter laxatives to ease constipation.  And guess what?!? Traf is doing just fine.  Just like we were after drinking from the water hose, riding in the cabs of pick-up trucks, riding bikes without helmets, and eating peanut butter before the age of three.

I encourage you to know the rules and why they exist, yet know that sometimes the rules will not apply.  Know that what worked for Jack, may/may not work for Jill.  Know that no matter what you do or how perfect you plan, the throes of parenting will swing you in an imperfect direction.  Know that those tiny, bobbly head newborns are really resilient beings.  Know that ‘What to Expect” will still bring you the unexpected.

So, the only advice I have for new parents is to do YOU!  I mean it.  Sincerely.  From the bottom of my heart.  Do what works best for You, YOUR child, YOUR household, and YOUR marriage.

Here are 15 things I learned as a new mom

1. Your life is not over, just different. How you define that difference is up to you.

2. Infants really only need to be fed, diapers changed and loved. The rest is for our convenience.

3. Infants also only need onesies, sleepers & blankets. They will never wear 50% of those cute clothes you just had to have.

4. Deadbeat & absent parents should have their genitalia mutilated, jailed, and subject to work release from 9pm – 6am to soothe, feed and change 10 newborn babies under strict supervision until they sleep through the night.

5. Parents that physically, sexually & mentally abuse children should be starved, stoned, and tossed off a plane into the everglades.

6. It truly does take a village.

7. Postpartum depression is real. Being cognizant and having a good support system makes it manageable. No woman should ever feel ashamed for their baby blues, and we need to talk about it more.

8. You can glue two pieces of paper together with a baby booger and a little post feeding drool.

9. Parents MUST still date and find their “me” time. An occasional break is healing to the soul.

10. If you cannot afford the medical and lifestyle bills of children, you shouldn’t keep having them. Everyone needs help at times and we are blessed to live in a country that supports those that need it, but these babies are not meal tickets.

11. Folding your legs crisscross applesauce style and placing your baby in the folds is the original Boppy pillow.

12. Carrying and delivering a baby is practically miraculous. My respect for my gender and body has been taken to another level.

13. Saving for a college fund/your kid’s future is greater than purchasing name brand & designer apparel and shoes. If you can do both, kudos to you. If you cannot, the now investments are critical in setting your child up to thrive in this competitive world.

14. Teaching self-love & God’s love is more difficult than ever. Social media teaches our kids to look to the world for “likes”. Make sure we do not overly emphasize doing things for Facebook and Instagram.

15. Raise your tallest finger to a lot of the rules and advice, and rear your little bundle of love just as they were uniquely designed.