Friday, February 27, 2015

Send hugs and coffee

I was very easy on myself in the first month after E was born. I kept my commitments to a minimum, I didn't get out of bed for a week after I had him. I prepared myself for sleepless nights, napped when I could, asked for help when I needed it (a lot) and generally, I took gentle care of myself.

I looked at my post-partum body in the mirror and I said, it's okay, body. It's only been a few weeks since you birthed a baby human. Just wait until you can start working out again and you'll get there.

I looked at my bloodshot eyes and I said, it's okay self. You'll get sleep soon. He's doing better already, and it will only go up from here. In the meantime, coffee.

I looked at my husband and we said, this is temporary. We'll have time and energy to talk and reconnect again soon. Look at this beautiful creature we made. Look how much we've figured out already!

And things got better. Week by week, they got a little easier. When I got ready to return to work, I was excited. It felt doable, I felt competent. I was nervous, but I was prepared.

Spoiler alert: I was NOT prepared.

After four months of successful breastfeeding, I've struggled with my milk supply when pumping at work. I started taking supplements and am on a rigorous feeding/pumping schedule every two hours to keep up with the demand, but it still wasn't enough and we have to start supplementing with formula.

I gained weight this month trying to eat enough calories to make milk. I stopped my workout routine, because I was tired and would rather cuddle with my baby after work than be at the gym. My closet selection is waning.

The four-month sleep regression hit and for the past six weeks, we have been waking up every 1.5-3 hours all night. Then I got pneumonia (yes, seriously). I am a walking, coughing zombie.

I'd be lying if I didn't say it has been hard.

This last month has rocked my world. E was such an easy newborn that I started to think life would always be easy. I started to envision parenting as a series of milestone-reaching moments and achievements. Because sleep, weight loss, breastfeeding, our ability to recognize E's needs and respond - didn't we have that all figured out? I did not think I would get worse at these things! but I did. (Go ahead and laugh—you pro parents—at my foolishness.)

I did not know that the regressions and steps backwards and steps sideways are all a part of the process.

What wonderfully transformative time this is. Learning to sacrifice not just my time and my body and my emotions, but also my expectations and my pride. Realizing that this baby is learning new things and growing and changing every day. Thanking God for grace that covers over all of our missteps and middle-of-the-night murmuring. Loving on this sweet bundle who makes our life so much fuller and better.

The process might be painful and the learning curve is huge, but our little boy has made life so sweet. (and he gets cuter every day! We definitely got the best part of the deal.)



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