I am having a hard time believing that tomorrow, Harrison will be four weeks old. In some ways, it feels like the days are long, but most days I feel like time has just started moving at warp speed and I can’t even catch my breath. Do I really have a baby? Am I really not pregnant anymore? Are we really a family of three? Did I accidentally feed the cat twice? Three times? Whoops.
Writing has always been such a therapeutic way for me to process stuff, so while I have a sleeping baby next to me (I’m learning that’s not always a guarantee!) I thought I would put together a stream of consciousness post with my thoughts on the first month of motherhood …
1. I literally do not understand my emotions anymore. Is emotional dichotomy a thing? Because it should be. How in the world is it possible to be so unbelievably frustrated because your baby only knows how to communicate by crying and yet you simultaneously love this child more than life itself and think he is so unbelievably precious, even in his hysterical-meltdowning-state??
Here’s to hoping my husband shares the same sentiment when it comes to me and my hysterical-meltdowning-state.
2. It’s weird to not be working. Since Harrison was born, there was a huge combined annual meeting of the MA, CT & RI conferences to discuss the merging of the conferences and I followed via Twitter. Yesterday and today, most of my UCC colleagues headed down to Baltimore for General Synod and, again, I am following via Twitter. I have maintained such an intense work pace for the past six years that it’s weird to be completely disconnected not only from RCC, but also from the denomination.
And yet … I don’t care. I mean, I care in the sense that I’m curious about what’s going on and I miss everyone. But I am exactly where I want and need to be right now. I love being a mom. I love having this time with my precious baby, time that I know I will never get back. I love watching Bruce be the most incredible father I always knew he would be, and yet couldn’t have completely comprehended until now. I may be a hot mess, I may spontaneously cry, I may be covered in some combination of breast milk and spit up and I may not be able to recall when I last showered, but this stage of life is pretty freaking awesome. Right now I am learning how to be a mom and there is so much grace in it, I can’t even put it to words. As hard as it is to watch everyone go on with their work and to feel a little bit stalled in that area, I know I am exactly where God is calling me to be right now.
3. I’ve discovered insta-stories and I love them and don’t know why. Why don’t I just post everything to my main instagram page? Wouldn’t that make more sense? Who knows, but if you want more pics and videos of Harrison, check my stories, because I’m currently obsessed with adding little clips throughout the day.
4. I’m seriously out of the loop when it comes to what is going on in our country.
And for that I am thankful.
5. It has been harder to integrate back into the real world than I thought it would be. I pictured myself being out an about a lot more in this first month, but I haven’t really wanted to, honestly. I think part of this is my anxiety about bringing a newborn places – I barely know what to do when he melts down at home, how do I deal with meltdowns on the go??
This has honestly been hard for me to admit because I do like giving off the illusion that I have it all together, but I talked to Bruce about it the other day and he has been encouraging me to have faith in myself, make small trips when I can and push myself so I can get more comfortable venturing out into the real world.
The other day I took Harrison for a walk by myself and he started screaming (I think he was hot, it wasn’t super humid, but the afternoon sun was doing its thing). The bad news is that I had to push a screaming baby up my hill. The good news is that we both survived and then watched Moana in the air conditioning.
I also think part of my homebody-ness is just loving being home, bonding with Harrison and being a family of three! But at the same time, I’m definitely also feeling cooped up and needing some adult interaction. My friends have been awesome! They have given me grace in figuring out what I need, have let me have space when I need it and have shown up with food and empty arms ready to rock a fussy baby when I finally ask for it.
6. Chores make me feel sane. Bruce took the baby from me today to give me break from the fussiness and I started unloading the dishwasher. He told me to go lay down so I could catch my breath, but honestly – chores help me catch my breath. In a very strange way, it makes me feel like I have some sort of control over something. Because when you’re on hour three of a crying baby fighting sleep, you realize how little control you have over other things.
7. Motherhood is overwhelming. I worry about every little thing and second-guess myself all the time. I analyze the color of baby poop. I google a lot. My doctor hears from us on a daily basis. Bruce got into bed the other night and said something about not realizing how mentally exhausting this would be. I think we both prepared ourselves for the physical demands that come with a newborn, but never quite realized how much it would demand mentally. I think this is going to be constantly changing as Harrison gets older. My friends with older kids say that in some ways it gets easier and in other ways it gets harder and I can totally see how that would be true.
8. I love picturing what life will be like when Harrison starts coming to church and I start attempting the balance of being a pastor and being a mom. I had him in the carrier the other day and got emotional thinking about what it will be like to have him in that same carrier at church functions.
(God willing. At the moment he tolerates it for about ten minutes.)
I’m a PK – I grew up in the church and it was an amazing experience. The church was my second home. The people there were my family. It was part of what called me into the ministry. I cannot wait for Harrison to experience church, know God’s love, learn about Jesus’ life and ministry, see mama working and find grace along the way.
9. This is going to sound so cliché, but watching my husband become a father has made me fall in love with him all over again. He is an amazing father and does such an incredible job of taking care of both of us. Last night he held a crying baby in one hand, a crying wife in the other hand and never once wondered out loud when the last time was that he had a fishing rod in his hand. He’s amazing and I am so thankful.
10. This is the single most incredible thing I have ever done. Hard? Yes. Exhausting? Absolutely. Frustrating? All the time. Terrifying? Good lord.
But it is also amazing. Beautiful. Hysterical.