Thursday, July 16, 2015
thoughts on motherhood (week 4)
- I'm starting to recognize Baby T's different cries and different cues. Depending on the time of day, I also have a pretty good idea of what he needs and why he might be fussy. I even have some pretty good go-tos for soothing him. It's pretty fun to get to know my baby.
- We have smiles this week!! They most often happen in the morning right after nursing when we're both seeing each other after being asleep for a while. It's special that we're both happy to be back together.
- We're in St. Louis this week for my uncle's funeral. Many family members and friend met Baby T for the first time at the funeral home. It was a very "circle of life" moment seeing people gush over a new life so close to where my uncle lay. We were hearing "congratulations" and "I'm so sorry for your loss" in the same conversations. I witnessed how babies can help with grief, but it also made me think about my own mortality and Baby T's mortality. It made me feel more thankful for whatever time we're blessed to have together. And It also made me pray the prayer Anne Lamott prays in her book Operating Instructions: please, please, please let my son outlive me. (I highly recommend this book by the way.)
- People ask me things like "are you totally in love?" or "were you instantly in love?" or "are you just in awe of him?" I have a hard time answering. Not because I don't love Baby T but because I think I'm still trying to figure out my feelings. I know that I look at him all the time. I know that I miss him when he's taking a long afternoon nap. I know that I love when other people recognize that he's the most beautiful baby in the world. I know I feel very proud of him. I know I kiss him all the time. I know I love holding him close to me. But I also love getting a break at the end of the day when Paul comes home from work. And I also have a hard time waking up every night to nurse him. And sometimes I just want my space. And sometimes I'm totally fine looking away from him to check out instagram, or read a book, or watch tv, or surf the internet. So does the combination of all that mean I'm totally in love? Can there be hard parts mixed in with all the strong motherly feelings I have for him? Probably.
- Sometimes I'm paranoid I'm not prioritizing Baby T well enough or not doing enough for him. I think it comes from the big statements people say about babies or parenthood ("it changes everything" -- "your life will never be the same" -- "it's the greatest love you will ever know" -- "you will do anything for your baby -- "it's all worth it"). If I didn't have these thoughts in the back of my head, I think that I would be pretty pleased with how I'm doing as a mother. But those little voices make me question if I'm doing enough, if I'm sacrificing enough, if enough of our lives have changed, etc. I have a good feeling that I'm doing fine and the people I care most about have confirmed this, so I think I'll just recognize that these little voices can affect me and try to do my best to let them go
- I changed Baby T's explosive poop last week so I've officially entered the next stage of parenthood
- My body (externally and internally) continue to heal well. My regular activity level is looking more like it did pre-Baby T. I'm still not exercising but hopefully I'll get the all clear for that after my six week check up. I'm hoping to follow some post c-section exercise routines I've found that help target your lower abdominal muscles and get those functioning again. I'm continuing to feel more and more like myself.
- Something special happens when you carry a newborn around. People respond with the kindest smiles. You can see their hearts melting and softening. It reminds me of that scene in Children of Men when a small baby pauses an entire battle -- people were so in awe of the precious little life. I see small versions of that everytime people see Baby T.
- Moms of all ages (family, friends, and strangers) have been especially kind to me the past few weeks. We got an extra smoothie and help out to the car at the grocery store. Ladies helped me clean up my spilled drink at the coffee shop. They all want to help a new mom with a new baby. I see all of these moms' thoughts go back in time as they start reminiscing about their own babies and their own transitions to motherhood. We swap birth and nursing stories. It's like being initiated into a not-so-secret worldwide club. One without any hazing where they're really nice to their new recruits.