When you are getting ready to start a family, people love to say things like, "Get ready for the ride of your life," or "You're life is about to change dramatically," or "It's the toughest job you'll ever have." All those things are true. What they don't say, and I think this is in part because it is hard to understand and even perhaps more so to accept, that becoming a parent will hold you emotionally hostage in a way you have never experienced before.
This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but rather something that will very quickly bring into sharp relief that the good (smiles, little toes, first steps) outweighs the challenges (no sleep, no patience, seemingly endless tantrums). And that above all else, actual time spent together is the single most important thing you can do for your kids.
With that, HuffPost BlackVoices welcomes you to our month-long Parenting section, where we will feature blogs and articles and ideas that we hope will help you maximize your family time, and minimize the time you spend feeling frustrated by budgets and behavior and getting your kid to eat broccoli.
In the first six months of my son's life, I remember feeling like I was existing in this haze of adolescent-like hormones -- heart beating fast, voice changing unexpectedly, giddy at the touch of my baby's skin, a rush of simultaneous anxiety and joy at the sound of my child's cry -- while also doing everything I could to create full sentences, take a shower and put on something other than my nursing bra and yoga pants.
During that time, my mom tried to visit as often as she was able to make the 6-hour trip from New Hampshire to New York. Her first visit was a few days after my son was born. I'd had an emergency C-section and was taking medication to help with the pain from recovery, but not too much medication because I was nursing like crazy. Since I was still working on the getting latch right, my breasts were completely jacked up, and I was exhausted and all the rest. But I was up and around and almost frantically trying to be "OK." I said to my mom, "I'm doing really well, don't you think? Don't you think I'm doing really well?" And she said, "Yes, but it's also just fine for you to not be doing well. You just had a baby, and a very difficult birth." At which point, I collapsed onto the couch and proceeded to sob for 15 minutes straight.
I felt much better after that.
A few months later, once I'd gotten the nursing thing down, my mom visited again. As I sat blissfully nursing my son -- as an adoptee, for me the bond that came with nursing was among the most profound aspects of becoming a mother -- my mom looked on, proud and pleased, knowingly. "Isn't that something?" She said. "Everything he needs is right there within you." No truer words have ever been spoken to me before or since.
We hope with this new section you'll find a broad range of content and features that will encourage and inspire you to recognize that very same truth -- stories that will tackle issues and choices like being a stay at home mom, when to turn off the TV and how to best protect your kids online. Plus great new books to help teach your child about African-American history, blogs from single dads and tips from health and nutrition experts. Here, HuffPost BlackVoices invites you to recognize that you're doing the right thing as a parent.