If you want to know what it’s really like the first six weeks after you have a baby, watch the indie flick Kelly & Cal. Bottom line: it’s hard. To anyone who thinks you get to laze about … you are insane. It is far more difficult than working a job, that’s for sure.
Baby M turns 8 weeks this Thursday which means it’s almost been two months. I am fortunate enough to extend my leave until the end of the year thanks to my willingness and ability to forego pay for a month and my employer’s willingness to keep my job for me beyond what they are required to do by federal law. I cannot fathom going back sooner … I am JUST starting to feel like a human being again.
Thankfully, things are starting to get a little easier and more fun. My house arrest is over … am able to get out and do things from time to time. Sure there is a lot of scheduling and timing involved due to breastfeeding, and it feels like I’ll never go to Yoga or have a mani/pedi or massage ever again … but I know that’s not the case.
And I know how lucky I am to have time away from work to spend with my child and get her life started out right. It’s an unusual feeling to not be working. I have been employed without interruption for the past 15 years since finishing grad school, save the occasional vacation. The most I have taken off consecutively before this was two weeks, and that was when my Dad died.
Yes, I wear that as a badge of honor, despite professing to be on the “Americans work too much and don’t know how to live” bandwagon. I guess I’m conflicted. I’m proud of all I’ve accomplished and all I am able to do outside of the domestic realm. At the same time I am enjoying being around my baby, husband and kids all day. I get tremendous satisfaction from creating familial and household harmony, for being present with them for the day-to-day. And in my heart and gut I know staying home for now is the right thing to do. I am literally providing orientation to LIFE for my child … in the grand scheme four months is infinitesimal. And the hamster wheel continues to turn just fine without me.
I’m so grateful for my Mom. Hubby was away for 5 nights and I was solo with our three Littles: a 9 year old, a 7 year old and a 5 week old infant. Plus our family’s three pets.
It was a haze of activity: meals, snacks, walks, lunches, laundry, dishes, diapers, homework, shopping, showers, soccer practice, potty…pjs…teeth. Enough to make this #instamom lose it. But thanks to Mima’s help, I was able to take it all in stride: grab a nap and a shower and even have time to eat a meal here and there.
Thank you Mom … I love you so much and hope I get the chance to support my kids just like you do when they grow up and have families of their own. I also have a newfound respect for how you managed to have three kids and work and keep your life and our lives fun amid the madness!
I am 40 weeks pregnant. So basically 10 months. This is what I look like. And what do I feel like? It’s hard to walk, breathe, sleep, sit, do anything but wonder when it’s all gonna go down. I make myself do small walks a few times a day. Walk the dog. Run an errand. It’s tough getting around but the alternative — sitting around — is way worse.
I am still working, thankfully from home, because just the thought of navigating Penn Station and the subway like this brings me to tears. During my last commute home last week, a dude rushing to his train actually shoved me… which led to another guy shoving him, and me getting really scared I’d be caught in a melee.
Enough of that. I can do most things from home anyway. And even if it’s just doing some emails, conference calls, and writing up some documents, work provides me with something to focus on other than waiting. That said, I am gradually phasing myself out of projects and weaning myself off the office. Once the baby comes I am sure it will be easier to withdraw … I won’t have a choice!
Very soon I will have no more peace and quiet, even less sleep so I know I should try & rest as much as I can. Sleeping whilst 10 months pregnant is a challenge. You sleep on one side (assisted by a maternity pillow, of course) until you get deadleg/dead butt… then you switch sides. Eventually you must sit up to regain some bloodflow to your butt. So you either have to sleep sitting up or find something else to do from 3 a.m. to 5 a.m. With an elaborate configuration of pillows … including a neck rest … I have now mastered the art of sleeping sitting up. #proud
Although I am kvetching, I am very excited and know I’m lucky to have had such an easy pregnancy overall. Everything is going to be great and our little girl will be here before I know it. In the meantime, I’ll be huffing and puffing and counting the hours!
I am 9 months pregnant. Which means I’ll very likely be a new Mom this time next month. My world is about to be rocked and I know it. So I’m gradually detaching from nonessential obligations and distractions. Not making social plans, not doing anything I don’t want or need to do. Like suffering bullshit from anyone… intentional or otherwise.
I’m savoring what last shreds of peace and quiet I can grab. Getting a facial, mani pedi on a Saturday. Sitting quietly with my husband after we put the Littles to bed. Sleeping. Reading a book.
As I get older, I’m learning to enjoy and appreciate the beauty of the moments I’m living, while I’m living them. And to stop letting other people suck me into their drama, manipulations and machinations. I suspect I’ll be even more focused after the baby comes.
Kinda like I remember my Mom was when we were little. She wasn’t taking crap from anyone. She was focused on taking care of us, my Dad and herself. Anything else that didn’t enhance her/our lives… she sent it packing. Cause when you’re responsible for the lives of others, ain’t nobody got time for that.
As a pregnant lady, I am often told about how, once the insane exhausting first few weeks and months of my newborn’s life give way to a bit of a routine … once the feeding, sleeping, diapering, crying sleeplessness normalizes and the smiles and cooing begin…I will naturally fall in love with my baby. It will happen, many have told me, right around the time that my maternity leave is up and I have to go back to work.
What no one ever talks about, however, is what it’s like to fall in love with one’s own children. Few people share this experience. Usually, you give birth to a child, you nurture her, watch her grow. Loving happens as a play by play. You are experiencing your child’s life together from the start. Love is an intrinsic part of that. Evolutionary.
In the case of me, however, an #Instamom who came into my kids’ lives after I fell in love with their Dad, I experience the wonder somewhat differently (I think). I call them “my kids,” because we are raising them as such, although I am not their mother. Their mother was a beautiful, smart, vibrant, devoted Mom who tragically passed away when they were small.
Given who these kids are – the product of two incredible individuals with great heart and spirit – and knowing they deserve to have a Mom-figure around to help guide them through life, I have adopted them into my heart and my being as if they are my own. And so, naturally, they have become my own. And it’s remarkable.
When I look at our Littles, I am overtaken with a sweeping wave of love. It’s all around me like an ocean … I stand in it and can’t see the end of it. And waves keep coming … endlessly, no matter what I do. There is no reflection of self … they do not look like me and I can’t take ANY credit for their personalities, demeanors or spirits. Perhaps that makes me delight in them even more.
The littlest things like a morning kiss. Resting a head on my chest. Grabbing for my hand as we walk in a parking lot. Wanting to know every single thing about my life as a kid. Wanting to be near me all the time. How unabashedly open to and accepting of me they are, and have been from the start.
It lights up my heart … I can actually feel a bright beaming light there that connects up to my head. And if I try to THINK about it instead of just FEELING it, I tear up. Because it’s much too much. I can’t imagine my life without them. All I do is think about their futures and what life will be like for them. Everything has changed. I couldn’t have anticipated any of it, and couldn’t have dreamed of a more fulfilling love.
In August it will be five years that Dad’s been gone. Since then, I met the love of my life, became an #instamom, moved to the suburbs and got pregnant (our little girl also due in August). Lots has changed.
I miss him all the time, especially in family moments like on my wedding day. (I kept this picture of us in my little bridal purse, though just to have him close). Or when I look at our Littles with my Mom and think about how crazy he’d be about them, and about G.
The last few years of his life were rough… A roller coaster ride of terminal cancer, clinical depression and raging, horrific alcoholism. We ALL suffered, but he did the most. The big man he had built himself up to be for 60+ years was crumbling before all of our eyes. By the end though, he had surrendered the fury. He seemed at peace having all of us around him, loving him, caring for him.
Summertime reminds me of that. I spent upwards of a month living at my parents’ house towards the end. It was healing, yet hard. All the waiting. Waiting for the known finality … and the unknown as to exactly when it would arrive and how it would feel.
I know I was lucky I got to have that time with him, the long goodbye. And I know I was lucky to have him for as long as I did… some people lose their parents much younger, and don’t get the opportunity to really know them.
Now it’s a different kind of summer of waiting. Waiting for new life. An entrance rather than an exit. A beginning rather than an end. I’m excited of course for both the known and unknown. We still have two full months til my due date so I am still patient about everything. Plus we have so much to do to get ready so I am not in a rush. The house, the room, figuring out how we’ll manage life AB, (After Baby) given how insane it already is BB (Before Baby).
There is a major transition underway. It’s physical, spiritual, practical, personal, environmental. All those things. There is a lot of feeling to it, but like with Dad it’s hard to put your finger on it and really describe it while you’re living it. Everything turns out ok, though. This I know. Things take the shape they are meant to take. There is no stopping it.