Posted in Aurelie, Blog, Emotional wellness, Featured, Just for you, Life as a mom, Love and marriage, Mother, Recovering from childbirth

My growing pains

I remember this defining moment when J was about 4 weeks old. It was late evening, and I was sitting up in bed breastfeeding. My husband was reading a magazine beside me. I looked around and took stock of my side of the room. It appeared as if an infant bomb had exploded and covered exactly half of our bedroom. Strewn everywhere on my side were infant Tylenol drops, burp cloths, dirty onesies, breast pads, a pack of those ever-so-comfy hospital mesh undies (yes, it did take me over 4 weeks to move the plastic hospital goody bag of pads, lanolin, etc from the one spot it occupied on the floor), diapers, wipes….

Then I looked at my husband’s side of the room. Status quo over there, with his Blackberry, glasses, medical journals, leisure reading and work clothes all in the usual spots.

I immediately started to cry hysterically. Violent bursts of crying were not all that unusual in the first month, but this time, it seemed I had hit bottom. In taking stock of my new reality, it hit me that not one thing from my pre-baby life had survived the baby bomb. Where were my old clothes? My old bras (you know, the ones that were cute and little and didn’t smell of sour milk or have multiple buckles and flaps and breast escape routes)? My leisure reading? Evidence that I had a career?  Where was I in all of this mess? And perhaps more frighteningly, who was I?

I attempted to explain this to my husband between choking sobs. He comforted me in the best way he knew how. Honestly, though, I did not feel reassured. Not knowing how or if I could resolve this we continued with the tasks at hand. We put J to sleep in the pack n play 3 inches from my side of the bed, and as I listened to his soft regular breathing I rolled over and prepared myself to do it all over again in 2 hours.

Shortly after this pivotal evening, I discussed my new search for self with a wise friend and mother of a 2 year old. She said, “Yes. We will never be the same. And as important as our husbands are to our family and rearing our children, they won’t be as altered as we are. I am definitely a much different person after having my son. And as hard as that is to accept at times, I don’t think I’d want it any other way.”  I sighed and agreed with her wholeheartedly.

Now with a few months under my new mom belt (well, let’s be honest it would be more like a new mom elastic waist band), I can say that fragments of my old self are resurfacing: I exercise. I get some leisure reading in before bed. I get pedicures and massages every now and then. I’m returning to work soon. J now sleeps in his own crib in his own room, and the baby debris is (mostly) contained to his space. Yet, I still feel the weighty presence of all his things hovering over my side of the bedroom, ghosts of my new life.

Just as the little man is changing with every moment of every day into his new self, I, too, am evolving into a new me. With every milestone J hits a tiny part of me laments how fast he is growing. But mostly I delight in watching this little person become himself. And so with that as my guide, I am learning not to mourn the loss of my old self, but instead to embrace the new me.

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