What a whirlwind this past year has been! I feel like Baby M has sent our lives into a tailspin. Not a scary one, but one of those controlled tailspins… Think stunt airplanes at an air show. We haven’t quite pulled up & out of the tailspin yet, but it’s coming. It’s thrilling & scary & hard & fun, all at once. This next year will hopefully bring with it walking, less nursing, less pumping at work (!), more communication, more sleep, more laughs, more love.
Despite the utter chaos (seriously… you should see our home…), this past year has brought so much undeserved joy. Even while I feel utterly exhausted most of the time (& sometimes completely brain dead), I know I am very lucky. Even now, sitting in bed, sick, on a Monday that would have otherwise been full of meetings & work, with M napping next to me.
Despite the exhaustion & hard work, M’s first year has flown by. It seems like just yesterday, I went to work, a little uncomfortable with “Braxton Hicks” throughout the day, unaware of the fact that my body was gearing up for birthing the next day. Whereas my son was a full two weeks “late,” Baby M was just shy of a week “early.” So, I was surprised, to say the least, early the next morning (after telling my boss I’d probably work from home instead of coming into the office) when the midwife told me on the phone that it seemed like I was in labor (… I then told my boss nevermind… no work, just labor…)!
I still recall the details of Baby M’s birthing day so vividly. I recall my son’s tears upon seeing his baby sister for the first time. I recall her napping peacefully in my arms, so tiny. I recall remembering (so meta!) the unreal exhaustion of that first night with a newborn after having given birth. I recall my favorite outfit we dressed her in often last summer, hot in the shade of our house. I recall my my mom & mother-in-law chatting with me in our bedroom, as I recovered after the birth.
I recall my first outing with the baby, after the grandmothers had returned home & we were alone. I remember our crazy camping trip when she was just one month old. (“We can handle this!” we told ourselves.) I remember a fall of picking up my son from school when I was on maternity leave. I remember savoring the last days of my leave, not doing anything special, but knowing those days were indeed special in their own way.
It’s all still so fresh… How is it possible that a year has passed already?
And I’ve been back to work for over six months. (And we’ve gently moved past the back-to-work worries like bottle feeding & naps without nursing.) And I’m exercising every once in a while. And I’m still not sleeping. And I’m still not back to my beloved yoga. And maybe my partner could get baby to bed one night & I could be out with a friend. Maybe. Maybe not yet.
My linea negra still graces my lower abdomen (albeit faintly), a reminder that my body still retains some internal memory of pregnancy & birth. Does this mean I’m still postpartum, I wonder?
The first year is in some ways the hardest & the scariest. Your former life vanishes in the blink of an eye. Replaced by a life in which you manage all you did before, just with the responsibility of caring 24-7 for the emotional & physical needs of a new person. Sometimes there’s more time, sometimes less (my days have certainly been shorter since M joined our family!), but there’s almost always more love, more joy, more heartache, more cuteness.
Baby M has helped me to refocus on the joys of parenthood, even with my eldest. If even changing the nastiest diaper can bring some joy, why can’t all the rest? It’s not every day that your child sees the moon for the first time, but there is some of that wonder every day, especially during those first 365 days.