So many have reached out to me about how grateful and interested they have been to follow in our journey with our son Patrick. Sharing our journey was a decision that felt natural and yet complicated. I constantly want to share my beautiful, perfect, and wonderful son with the whole world, I always would have. I also really want people to understand this “thing” that makes my son unique. This thing that I knew nothing about less than a year ago.
Shaun and I talked at length about how to first share our news publicly. I’ll never forget, one evening, we were discussing making a post for facebook, I had tears in my eyes, emotional over sharing Patrick’s cleft and finding out how people would react. Shaun interrupted me and said rather sternly “My son is not a pity party”. It took me back a minute, but I knew the second he said it, that he was right. How we felt about this and how I shared it with everyone would affect how people understood and embraced it. I didn’t want my son to be a pity party, I did not want to nurture an environment where my son would have people feel sorry for him, but rather where he would grow to be strong and confident because of who he is, not just how he was born.
This simple comment has shaped how I have worked on sharing our journey. It gave me a new perspective. I had been sitting with the idea of the things that wouldn’t be “normal” and I WAS feeling bad about it. I am grateful for the time before Patrick was born when I could be sad, and I could mourn the loss of the picture I had in my mind of what it would be like to have my first child. I allowed myself the natural ebb and flow of emotions and I believe it was important for me to feel that natural reaction as it came. I never allowed myself to stay there long, I would tell myself, “You can cry and be sad for an hour, then you pull yourself together and know how much you have to be grateful for”. I changed the amount of time based on how sad I was, sometimes 20 minutes, sometimes a whole day.
The truth is, the reality is very different than the picture I had in my mind, but it’s no longer something I feel sad about. It is something that is very hard, and more challenging than I ever expected, but Shaun, Patrick and I, we aren’t sad, we didn’t lose anything, not even close! My son is such a joy, he smiles and laughs all day, he loves to move, and flirts with every brunette he lands those baby blue eyes on. I love him more than I thought possible, and while we have had some hurdles, I know that its only strengthening the bond we share.
Now that we can be clear about this ultimate love and incredible bond we share… I should note that I realize in my ultimate desire to be positive and paint a picture of strength and the show the joy we still experience everyday, that I may be painting a false image.
That’s what we do on social media, right? We show the beauty and we paint the picture we want people to see. We put filters on to make ourselves look flawless, we smile and pose for pictures in a restaurant and then look down at our phones. This generation of social media has created an impressive machine to share our lives. You know what stinks most about that? So many of us believe we know what happens in someone else’s home because we let each other in, but only with what we think they want to see.
I hear so often how strong I am, and how impressive it is the way I am handling everything we have going on. I’m grateful for these compliments and so appreciative of the love and support from everyone. But I should be honest, most days… we really are a mess. He cries, I cry, he doesn’t sleep, I don’t sleep, he struggles to enjoy eating and that breaks my heart. His reflux makes the laundry almost unmanageable, and has made getting him to gain weight an added challenge. You have seen the heart melting smile, and I have showed you the joy he brings everyday, the light that gets me through.
I still don’t want you to feel sorry for us, the truth is that being a mom is hard, it is exhausting, confusing, overwhelming, and isolating. I have spoken to so many young moms who are fighting their own unique battles and feeling the same way I am. Becoming a mom is the thing I looked forward to most in my life. I know I am not alone in that. I also know I am not alone when I say, some days I feel defeated, and lost, I feel like I’m making all the wrong choices, like I can’t get it right.
I am starting this blog as a mom who wants to provide a platform to be real about our life. We have a lot of unique and regular milestones I will continue to be interested in sharing. I hope this blog might find another woman waiting for the birth of her child who will be born with a cleft so she can know her feelings are real and natural and healthy and that it will be okay. I hope this blog might find a mom of a newborn confused and overwhelmed, feeling like everyone else around them seems to be more of a natural. I hope this blog might find other moms of young children who know and remember all too well what it’s like. I hope this blog can become a better tool for our friends and our family to continue to follow in our journey.
Please return to find more in depth posts where I will get real about some of the most common questions I get asked!
“What was the hospital and delivery like? Was it different than a “regular” baby delivery?”
“How many doctor appointments do you really have?”
“Breastfeeding, and our journey through feeding”
“Surgery day and surviving that first big hurdle of that recovery.”
“What comes next?”