Those first few weeks man. It's like you are slogging through a mire. A fire swamp, if you will.
Side note: We tried to watch The Princess Bride with our kids the other day. I'm quoting every line, laughing, etc. and my kids were like NOT into it AT ALL, especially little man. What gives? Maybe the romance element? In any case. I was bummed.
So now, newborn days, we're out of the fire swamp, I think, finally.
Hopefully not headed down to the pit of despair...
Too much reality in that statement.
The pit of despair is where I ended up after my last newborn weeks...floundering with little Green, in the holidays, too sad and overwhelmed to see straight.
You know what?
I don't feel it this time.
I think I also feel much more at peace about the low down days. You know?
Some days with a newborn, you are on top of the world. He sleeps! For three hours! Not in the wrap or in your arms! You sweep and clean and make dinner!
Other days you cry. Three times. You yell at the kids. You fail at everything you try. You think I am terrible at this! And then you eat chocolate, watch Greys Anatomy and go to bed.
But this is the difference, for me, at the moment anyhow.
On the days where I cry three times and eat chocolate and watch Grey's Anatomy I go to bed not feeling hopeless, not in the depths of despair, like I have in the past, but instead, knowing that I tried my damnedest to do everything I need to do in my day, and just because I didn't doesn't mean tomorrow will be the same. Tomorrow is a new day. Tomorrow is the day you storm the castle, take on thirty men, and live to tell the tale.
You know what? Scratch that. Not that tomorrow is a new day, and you can do better then, because you know what? The to do lists don't define you, as a woman, as a person on this planet. They don't define me. And man, I have done this in the past. Its still a struggle to be honest. But I can't let it.
Not sweeping the floor after every meal (damn ants!) doesn't make you a terrible person, a failure.
Not answering all the emails, making all the follow up calls, writing the new novel, planning the perfect school day - heck, planning your school day at all.
None of this makes you worthy, worthwhile.
Kick up your feet, drink an afternoon iced coffee, crumple up the to do list, nurse the baby (ahhhh, oxytocin!) and let your day, be your day, imperfections and all.
You dont NEED to tackle the to do list with renewed vigor tomorrow to make up for today's 'inadequacies.'
This day of studying spelling words, reading the story of Passover, and taking the kids out for an extended swim, after answering a couple emails.
That is enough.
Even staggering to the couch with a headache and a crabby newborn while the kids Netflix it up all morning.
Also worth it.
Also worthwhile. Also worthy.
Because you, mama, are worthwhile. You are doing a hard hard thing, this mommying thing.
Kiss them. Tuck them in at night. And know that that is enough.
You know what that is? Grace. Grace for yourself, mama.
You don't have to conquer all the things, do all the things, be all the things for everyone. And this is for all mamas, not just those with newborns. Be yourself, as a mom, bad days and all. because they aren't bad days, they are just days. And tomorrow will be more days, with different things, maybe more things, but still, they are just days.
Days, and then days. Filled with grace.
ETA: PPD is a for real legit thing. Chemicals. In your brain. Doing nasty unfair things. Telling you you arent worthy. And no matter how filled with grace for yourself you are it IS REAL. And sometimes, there isnt a dang thing you can do to "be more positive" and get through it. People told me this. Loving people. And I still floundered in it, for months. I think partially because of nearly losing Little Green in birth, partially because I am predisposed to depression and experience it from time to time, in very real ways (like through the long MN winters, for example!) For you mamas going through it. I feel you. And I may end up having some rough months yet, it can kick in after two, three, six months after birth, so I write posts like this, to myself, to remind myself of these thoughts in those months to come. You are worthy. You can do this thing. Be graceful to you.
And now, for a million pictures of my baby. Because on the days where I feel unsuccessful at 'all the things' it always helps to take a million pictures of these smiling faces and be reminded of the task we are up to in these days - days and then days - the mommying task. And how worth it it all is, and how worthy we are at the task.
This is on the road up to Waimea a few weeks ago.
the below shots are all this morning...
Friday, April 15, 2016
So I've had a certain level of slacking off over the past two months.
There's only so much a mama can do.
And for me all I could handle was feeding children, laying on the coach not losing my mind, and getting some school in, occasionally.
So now here we are, a month into this four kid thing. So I figure time to get back at it.
I even made a schedule of our week -with craft days and nature walks and trips out to do things.
We shall see how long it lasts.
My mom and dad left yesterday. We had such a great visit with them. Having someone bring you a cup of tea while you're nursing? There is nothing like that. Especially when it's your own mom.
Rather than sit around feeling despondent this morning, while children whine at me about iPad and TV, I figured let's start easy, let's start small! A nature walk! Out of our own front door! So I packed up the kids backpacks with nature journals and water bottles and we headed up the mountain. Well, volcano, actually.
And the baby slept in the stroller.
And the kids learned two new Hawaiian words - mauka, which means the mountain side and makai, which means ocean side. So when we walked the narrow road running along the side of the mountain above our neighborhood and I shouted "mauka" they'd run to the mountain side of the road. And yes, people use these words to give directions. We live in the makai side of our road etc. because you can pretty much always see the ocean from wherever you are.
And we talked about the farm we will have some day with fruit trees and a cat and a dog and Little Misses own bedroom and then Little Green requested if she could please have her own hot tub. Ha.
We explored the Hawaii you don't see in the tourist books. The Hawaii with cows and sleepy pastures, hot already in the morning sun, and tangles of bright flowers and and wild fruit trees and tall grasses and big beautiful trees - that are not palms.
I'm beginning to love this Hawaii. This real Hawaii.
And the baby woke up so I put him in the wrap. And little Green's legs hurt so I let her ride in the stroller.
And we came home hot and tired. But we did it. And the kids said we should do that every morning, they had such fun.
Creative, fun, out and about mama rises from the dust. She lives!
My ideal schedule, below.
Friday, April 8, 2016
Four weeks. Amazing how much more quickly these four weeks went than the previous anxiety ridden four weeks waiting for baby.
So I sit here now. This bundle in my arms. As the 9yr old boy skims the pool, the girls arguing over who gets what floatie.
In the past, post baby, I have found myself in a crisis of identity. No longer "lady expecting a baby" who am I now? What is there to look forward to??
Not this time though. I feel, now, solidly myself. This woman, with a baby, and three other kids, getting on with the business of living. Yes it's a more chaotic life at the moment. Yes I lose my shit still at silly things (no seriously just PICK UP THE PLAY DOUGH!) But, I know things will settle out, settle down.
And it will happen so quickly. And these newborn days, these days of The Last Baby, will be gone.
I find myself holding each moment out to look at it, examine it. Remember.
The tiny fleshy feet to kiss. The sweet newborn breath to smell. The tiny sighs after greedily nursing, my own little suckling pig. His look of delight as he watches the smiling cooing faces of his big sister.
And the 9 yr old dumps a scooped up slug from the net at his screeching sisters feet and I remember his tiny sighs, his sweet breath, his bitty fleshy feet, marveling now at his strong tanned arms, his quick retorts, his complex emotions.
So quickly. I am reminded. It goes so quickly.
And I look down again in my arms at this bitty boy, wondering who he is, who he will become, but reveling in his quiet tiny sighs, for now content in his mamas arms.