I just wanted to say, for the record, how much I am enjoying this baby of mine these days.
Honestly, things got a little hairy when it got to month 6 back in January. It was the accumulation of too many factors and responsibilities all mushed into one giant snowball and stuffed in my face, making for rough days and an often overwhelmed version of myself. It’s how I expected to feel much earlier during the very beginning stages of motherhood, but apparently most of that had stayed at bay until my parents were here a few months ago, allowing me some room and space to acknowledge that I was spent, and be okay with that.
Maybe because I was prepared for the worst, but the first few months of the baby’s life was not the life turning upside down debacle that I had imagined (main ingredient: hindsight). Yes, sometimes I felt like I was in a hamster wheel, and all that leaking in the beginning was NOT cool, but I never felt truly overwhelmed. Also, full disclosure, this can be largely attributed to the fact that she was a really good newborn - straightforward with not too much fuss. When I went back to work, I again, expected the worst, but it wasn’t that bad. I was extremely busy, especially in the mornings, but there I was doing it, not minding it all. I remember feeling extremely excited when I got off work and headed over to pick her up from daycare, and that feeling of her weight in my arms at the end of the day was my jet fuel. But then, right about in the middle of January, it got really cold, my body started freaking out about nursing all of a sudden, Sloane started waking up in the middle of night, and the little sleep I was getting was not nearly enough. Suddenly, it felt like there was way too many chores to do around the house, I dreaded being at work, and it stopped making sense that I was dropping my baby off with someone else everyday. Physical problems + lack of sleep + a million things to do = low quality Christine. It was an onslaught, and that’s when I remember feeling for the first time that I was really overwhelmed and that I needed a break. It was the first time since Sloane was born that I started fantasizing about having a day entirely to myself to do nothing, but midway through this fantasy, I would instantly feel guilty and homesick for my baby. Actually, I don’t think guilty is the right word. I want to always be there for her, NOT because I think I should, but because I really do want to be the one that is there and does everything. Ken was great about helping, but it was based on me asking him to do things when I needed help, rather than dividing up responsibilities in a way that allowed him just as much initiative. It took a while, but this breaking point was when it got into my thick skull that I can’t possibly do everything, and there is no reason why I should. Taking a deep breath, realizing that I needed to give myself a break, dividing up responsibilities with Ken, and my recovering body, all helped me get some perspective and sanity.
This past week, I decided to give myself a real break and not cook any dinners during the weekday. I made a huge pot of beef vegetable soup on Sunday that lasted us a couple of days, we had leftovers another night, and ate out another. Having a break from the routine of starting dinner the minute I walked in the house, whilst trying to nurse Sloane and unwind from the day, was really good for me. I felt like I could just enjoy being with the baby a little more, and ENJOY I DID. She is SUCH a bundle of fun right now and I can’t get enough of her sweet face, noises, smiles, laughs and all her chub. Seriously, I can’t get enough.
So far, it seems like this motherhood thing constitutes peaks and valleys, being flexible, taking a chill pill, and a lot of hindsight. This is all part of the process, people, I'm learning. I’m trying to be aware and prayerful during the exhausted times, and celebratory and joyful during the re-energized times. Life with a growing baby also means time whips by at a tremendous speed and I am making it a law of my heart to appreciate every single moment. Don’t get me wrong, I could really use more than the 5 hours of sleep I’ve been getting recently, but I’ve been hyper aware these days of how much I am being filled with love when I am with this baby and how I’m already a little sad knowing how fleeting this time (and all her chub!) is, and so I just wanted take a few moments to take a step back, a look back, a good look, to say, HEY I’M ENJOYING THIS SO MUCH RIGHT NOW AND I LOVE HER SO MUCH I COULD BURST.