One of the categories of Facebook posts that sting a bit, even though they 100% should not, are when friends post pictures of their precious babies on their first days of life. I love, love, love to see those sweet, sacred photos and I ooh and ahh and swoon like any baby lover should, BUT, the part that stings is in no way related to that precious bundle of joy. Nope. For me, the secondary part of that photo is the mom. You know the one. The one with the cheery lip-gloss and pretty, neatly brushed hair. It gets me every time. Every dang time.
I had hopes of being "that" mom. That one who everyone looks at and comments "OMG, are you sure you had a baby?" Yeah, that was not me. Not in the least. There is not one image of me whilst laying in the hospital bed that doesn't scream "hello world, I just labored and gave birth to a human being". Not one image leaves me looking impossibly fresh or glowing. And although I am okay with that, it still makes me shrug my shoulders a bit when I come across those images on others' pages. Just being honest.
What those pics of mine don't show is that I had a large IV attached to my hand for 3 solid days that prevented me from moving around much. They also don't show my left arm that resembled Popeye's swollen arms due to a nurse missing my vein during labor which caused my arm and hand to completely fill with an entire bag of IV fluid before we noticed. They also don't show that I was struggling with lightheadedness, clamminess, and cold sweats due to blood loss that kept me from even being able to shower for the first 2.5 days because I couldn't stand up for very long without feeling lightheaded. The last thing on your mind when you feel faint every time you try to walk to the bathroom is to grab your lip-gloss and brush. And finally, they don't show that although I checked into that hospital knowing that we'd gladly welcome any friends who'd like to meet our little man, we didn't get to welcome a single one due to how lousy I felt. The last thing you want is to have people see you when you haven't even gotten to change out of the awful, green hospital gown and into your cute, new jammies that you bought specifically for your hospital stay in 3 days, nor been able to shower. My photos aren't scratch and sniff (thank the Lord), but I could guess that if my hair didn't look impossibly fresh, I most likely didn't smell impossibly fresh either.
But, thankfully a picture IS worth a thousand words, so my photos don't just end with all the words above that just described what is visible upon first glance. What they show when you really look at them, is what rings true for all of us mommas (even the gorgeous, I practically sneezed and this child came out and only ruffled 2 of the hairs on my head mommas).
They show love, and hope and pride. They show fear and questioning and "am I really ready and up for this challenge". They show pain and recovery and an ever changing body that will most likely never be quite the same again. They show a miracle and a God who makes it all possible. They show exhaustion that every other woman who's ever held their child in those first days knows all so well and can relate oh so much. They show life dreams and goals and future scraped knees, sleepless nights, school dances and science projects. They show heartbreak and falling in love for the first time. They show first dances at weddings and hand holdings during illnesses. And they show a love story and a bond that is just beginning to unfold.
And although I wish with all of my heart that my cheeks were a bit rosier and my mascara was still intact, I wouldn't change those moments if I could. I'd actually give anything to relive them (well, maybe not the actual labor part, although the epidural was quite lovely). I'd love to meet our munchie for the first time again and again. In that exhausting moment, I got to tell him that he was mine and I am his and that I'll spend the rest of our lives and beyond living that out. I may not always look like the most put together momma on Facebook, but my love will be fierce and it will be loud and no amount of lip-gloss can make that any shinier than it already is.