I am sitting in the quiet of an apartment where a 7 week old is napping. How long she’ll nap or what kind of needs she’ll want met by my body and spirit when she wakes up are still to be determined. I’m not sure I’ll even be able to finish this post, but I must try.
Saturday night it all became too much for me – the physical demands of breastfeeding, recovering from a horrible case of thrush, the worry that I am not bonding with my daughter, our rainbow baby, the one we worked and wished for for over 2 years. My crying was deep, exhaustive – it was as if my body couldn’t hold it together anymore and let it all go.
In retrospect, I needed sleep. Sleep, sleep and more sleep. That is my main priority right now. Then it’s basic self care: a hot shower, enough water and lots of good food. To battle the thrush I started eating low-glycemic and it’s a change I’m trying to keep. My body contains all of me and parenting a newborn requires all of me and so much more.
If climbing was ever an end for all the healthy means, mothering is 100 times that.
People keep telling us “it gets easier”, “this is the hardest part” and “it gets fun” but it’s hard to hold onto those words when your entire life is upside down. The harder part for me is when? When does it get easier or fun or to the point where I can find time to journal or exercise again? (Things I so desperately need to keep my spirit from drowning in all of this giving of myself.)
And somehow, it seems, today is the answer.
Last night A slept 5.5hrs straight through. We tried putting her down in her bassinet swaddled but awake to see if she’d fall asleep on her own. I planned to let her cry (while soothing her) for maybe 10 minutes, just to see. She quieted within 5 minutes and fell asleep within 15 minutes. She slept for a half hour before waking. H got out of bed to comfort her, offer her the rest of a bottle she didn’t finish and still didn’t want, and then she promptly fell back asleep.
And slept a beautiful 5+hrs.
This morning I am focused on trying to have her nap in the same fashion – to put her down swaddled but awake, trying with laser focus to observe her tired cues. While our bonding is still in question, I’m hoping that my ability to pick up on people’s energies will not fail me when it comes to my own daughter. I know she needs rest. We both do.
Lately, I am inspired by Liz Lamoreux’s Instagram – especially the stories she shares about mothering her daughter. The creativity, the sweetness and the sharing are all things keeping me going during this newborn phase. I don’t want to rush A’s growing up, but I’m so looking forward to moments when she and I can execute one of her ideas together.
All of this came together as I read Liz’s post from 2 days ago:
Here’s the truth in the midst of it all: There’s so many stories under the stories. So often, I use Instagram to gather evidence of the good stuff in the midst of the wonder and the grief and heartache that is being human. It is one slice.
It is the last two weeks of the year. A very hard year personally, politically and culturally. I’m not sure what 2017 will bring (to say that I have goals for 2017 would imply that I have the mental energy to brainstorm goals…), but that is what I am craving most of all, the stories under the stories. And rest.
May the remaining days of 2016 bring you the same.