Feeling, Mothering

Stories Under The Stories

December 19, 2016


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.

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  • Reply Renee December 19, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    Sending so much love your way. I haven’t been through the mothering experience, but I can sense it, what it would be like, at least a glimpse…and I’m still on the other side of the fence, panicking. Scared that I’d hate it. Ashamed that I feel that way. Wishing I had that deep calling to be a parent and give of myself that way, rather than feeling wholly fulfilled by my creative endeavors, and still, picturing myself without a child someday doesn’t feel right…and on and on.

    I think it’s like anything else where it seems like forever when you’re deeply entrenched in it, and sleep deprivation casts a darker shadow on everything because that shit is REAL. Bodies need a lot more rest than new parenting provides. I completely understand about needing those things that feed your spirit. Go really easy on yourself. Most new parents I’ve heard say it took at least six months to be functional, to get back to things like journaling and exercise and, you know, SLEEP. Then they’ll smile and coo and respond to the things you’re constantly giving of yourself, and that’s pretty cool. But watching Matt’s sister raise their little girl – she’s 3 months now – it’s eat, sleep, diaper, eat, diaper, sleep. Survival. They haven’t left the house much or taken her on any outdoor adventures. But she smiles all the time now, and is sleeping a little easier.

    Hang in…you’re exactly the mom she needs. Wishing you peace for the holidays/New Year. <3

  • Reply Lindsey December 19, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    Yes. There are stories and there is wonder and grief and exhaustion and I PROMISE it gets better but it’s also just what it is, right now. You are so brilliant at witnessing that, at being there, it’s so clear to me even through the screen. I wish another 5.5 hour night for you, and then another, and another. Sending you so much love. xox

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