There are a million things to say about the past eight months since having little Lew, and it’s daunting to think about putting them down in a blog post. My world has been rocked in so many fantastic and intense ways, some expected, others completely surprising. There is no way I can adequately describe the experience of birthing and caring for a baby, especially in the forty-five minutes I have left before he wakes up from nap. So, I’ve decided instead to give you a list of things I think and feel these days, in no particular order.
- The love. Oh my God, the love. It’s so wonderful. Sometimes too wonderful, like, how can this much love actually exist inside of me? How can this much love be directed at me? This love wasn’t a choice. I felt some of it when he was kicking my insides, then the second his slimy, wiggly body was plopped on my chest, it overwhelmed me. And the love has only grown since then. Will it keep growing? How will my body hold that much love?
- My husband is phenomenal. It’s strange how seeing my man with my baby is one of the sexiest things imaginable. Our spark is stronger than ever, even though it takes some serious effort.
- Which brings me to the exhaustion. It’s better now that Lew sleeps through the night (I seriously feel for you mamas and papas who didn’t get lucky in the sleep department), but even so, holy shit. I had no idea people could function like this. I’m a freaking superhero.
- And it shows. The lines in my face, the bags under my eyes. Are these permanent changes or will they fade once I’m back to sleeping more? (This is a rhetorical question).
- Man, I miss my mom so much. But I also feel closer to her than ever. The first two months were rough. It seemed unfair and mean that she wasn’t here to share this with me. But as I healed, and as Dave, Lew and I figured each other out a bit more, I realized two things: 1, She is here. All the time. I cook her recipes, sing her lullabies, tell her stories. Also, I sometimes see her smile in Lew’s smile and that is just so damn cool. 2, What a gift! Right before having my own baby, I was given the gift of knowing what I remember about my mother after she died, what pieces of her still stick with me, what about her impacts me now. I entered motherhood with this. I’ve been given a pass to not worry about all the little shit and just focus on the things that honestly matter, the things that I know will last in Lewis even once I’m physically gone. Also, between dealing with the loss of my mother and giving birth, what the hell can’t I do? Bring it.
- I don’t mean that. Please, universe, don’t bring it. The little things make such a difference these days. I often plead out loud for a parking spot right in front of my apartment or a line with only three people instead of thirteen at Target. And when the grocery store is out of hummus, it feels like a really big deal.
- You know what else feels like a really, really big deal? Breastfeeding. It’s so special and sweet, but I miss my body being mine. My body hasn’t been mine since Dave and I first started trying to conceive back in June of 2014. That was eighteen months ago, folks.
- But, how freaking great is my body? I grew a baby, pushed him out, breastfed exclusively for six months, am still nursing the little monster, and I look and feel fabulous. I rock.
- This level of self-confidence is new, and I like it. But it wasn’t like I birthed a baby and suddenly gained all this confidence. What a trip it has been to rediscover myself! The first three months of motherhood were so freaking nuts. Becky who does anything except be a mom was gone. And then, like an ostrich raising its head out of the sand, Becky the writer, Becky the musician, Becky who exercises, Becky who walks out the door without wearing a nursing tank, a baby, and an enormous diaper bag, started to poke their heads out. But how in the world can all these Beckys exist? I definitely had to grieve the loss of my old life, of my freedom and my lack of responsibility (what the hell did I even do with all that free time I used to have?), but I don’t feel like old Becky has died. Old Becky is still here, and now Mom Becky is here, too. It’s a tricky puzzle, but how lucky am I to be working on this puzzle? I have all of these wonderful things in my life, plus a Lewis! How cool is that?
- Lewis is definitely not always cool. He really, really sucks sometimes.
- That being said, it is super fun to take him out and about. He loves the lights, the noises, all the people. I’ve fallen in love with NYC all over again. How funny, Becky the Kentuckian raising a city boy!
- Back to the me puzzle. Working is hard. I love my job and am happy to be back, but seriously? Work and mother? Why did I choose to be a teacher? All these people and their needs. It took me a solid six weeks to not feel like a zombie all the time.
- Now that I feel like a zombie only half the time, I have somehow been able to write and play music. My level of productivity has increased exponentially. When I have an hour to sit and write, I am not on Facebook, I am not looking at my phone. I am writing. However, a big challenge for me has been letting go of expectations. I will not get that first draft of my novel done by next month. Nor did the band release our EP this summer. Yes, I use my creative time much better than I did before, but I just don’t have that much creative time anymore (again, what the hell did I do with all that free time I used to have?). Everything takes a lot longer now that I’m a mom. That is okay. Repeat, that is okay. It’s frustrating, but frustration is okay, too.
- I miss biking to work every day. I miss doing yoga at night. I miss sitting to meditate whenever I want. Taking care of myself is difficult. But I have found little ways to do it, like biking around the park for twenty minutes when Dave is home, or doing a few poses while Lew crawls around me, or mindfully washing the dishes. It might not be thirty minutes of exercise or hour-long sits everyday, but it counts. And I’m discovering all of these little opportunities throughout the day to breathe deeply, to bring myself into the present moment. Lew is really good for this. Not only does he demand my attention (turns out that dog food, balls of cat fur and shoelaces are really delicious), but when I’m being mindful and present, everything is so much better. His delightful moments are that much brighter. His sucky moments are that much more bearable. Feeding the pets, vacuuming the rug, brushing my teeth, all the routine daily chores become a rewarding part of my day instead of a bother. And, let’s be honest, I fall asleep during most of my attempts to sit and meditate, anyway.
The little bug is stirring. This was a nice, long nap. It’s so great that he’s fallen into a steady schedule just in time to travel for Christmas. I’m sure he’ll continue this lovely routine on airplanes and in strange homes. Vacations are fun!
Happy holidays, my friends.
This post originally appeared on beckyfinefiresheets.com on December 18, 2015.