As I sit down to write this I’m trying to separate the two milestones reached today: Rosalyn’s first month of life and my first month as a mother. But it turns out these things are impossible to place into neat little boxes apart from one another. They are so heavily and intimately intertwined — a joint experience shared by her and me. We are both in the trenches of this achingly hard and wonderful path together. Learning together. Her, learning how to eat, sleep, thrive. Me, re-learning how to eat, sleep, thrive. Every day is a whole entity unable to be compared to or paired with another. Every day offers up to us newness in the form of both challenge and joy.
Some of things I’ve learned so far (most of which I need a lesson refreshed several times a week, sometimes several times a day):
– Breastfeeding is challenging and very emotional. It’s difficult not to take its obstacles and set-backs personally. Her need to eat is immediate & demanding and when everything isn’t going perfectly it’s enough to break me down very quickly. I cannot stress enough the importance of having a breastfeeding support system in place, people to tell you its going to be ok and this too shall pass. There’s only so much comfort Google can give you; someone who knows you and has been there is invaluable.
– I no longer think of days as ending at bedtime but instead from first morning wake-up to first morning wake-up. I am consistently marathoning in 24 hours chunks and the edges all bleed together.
– That being said, its not the physical exhaustion that wears me down but the mental. The constant worry for her well being and questioning of my decisions, wanting everything done to be the best possible choice I can make for her. It’s something I knew would happen, but I had no way of knowing how it would feel.
– Once you figure something out it is bound to change in the next couple of days. Don’t let this dishearten you or make you think that figuring it out doesn’t matter. It does. And you deserve to celebrate that hard-won victory even if the party is short.
– This too shall pass. This too shall pass. THIS TOO. SHALL PASS.
– Parenting has a way of bringing back to light the hard stuff about yourself that you thought you had a grip on. Mine is the stock I place in what others think (or, what I think they think) about me. It can be paralyzing. It is simply not possible to be everything to everyone. I have to pick and choose. And I choose her above all else.
– “And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.” -John Steinbeck
– It’s ok to not relish in every moment. Just relish the hell out of the ones that you do.
Happy one month, Ros. We’re doing a-ok, you and me.