With a new teeny tiny human in the house comes a new learning curve. Even if a mother has “been there, done that” there’s still an adjustment period with a new baby. Enter the chaos.
This has been the hardest adjustment yet.
Or has it?
I know I struggled with adjusting to life with one, and then two… Has this one really been harder or is it all in my head? Perspective and perception are powerful things and there are a multitude of factors influencing both for me right now (like, everything about 2017). It was a hard pregnancy, a hard birth, and I’ve felt ready for a hard postpartum.
I want my life back.
I’m not going to lie- I feel terrible right now. Postpartum depression with a shot of anxiety is a tough pill to swallow. I want my life back. Life with a new nursing baby means never being alone. Right now baby needs my boobs available 24/7 whether for food or comfort, which means keeping him close so that I’m available. It means I can’t go riding or work with Chroi the way I’d like to (visions of trail rides dance in my head). It means I can’t practice music the way I’d like to (oh to be able to put a solid hour’s worth of work in). It means I can’t take care of myself the way I’d like to (no long hot baths or fun artsy makeup jobs).
The way I’d like to.
Hm. There’s a common element there.
Well, if I can’t do things “the way I’d like to,” how about finding ways to work with what I’ve got? I am a mom now, and whinging about the things I can’t do sounds a bit too much like regretting having my babies.
And I have zero regrets there.
In fact, as I type this, my Babs is crawling underneath and between my arms to get into my lap- much like a cat who decides she’s more important than anything else you could possibly be doing (and, when it comes down to it, she pretty much is). That’s why I sometimes call Babs “critter.” She crawls into my lap and I laugh at her precocious sweetness and wrap my arms around her. She’s such a sweet one.
It’s time for me to step up. How will I ever live my life if I keep letting this way of thinking get the best of me?
A story shared
The answer to the question above is: I probably won’t. Not in any sort of mentally/emotionally healthy way, at any rate.
With that thought in mind, I took my baby boy with me to the barn and figured that I’d at least try to have a “normal” time. If he woke and cried I could cross that bridge when we came to it; however, in the meantime, I was going to do what I wanted to do and see how far I got.
And I wanted to wash Chroi. I absolutely love having a clean, fluffy unicorn- she’s just so beautiful!
My little prince slept through almost an entire bath, but woke near the end of it so that I was scrambling to rinse Chroi off before his crying reached a desperate pitch. I talked and sang to him to let him know I was there and it bought me enough time to get the last of the soap rinsed out. Then I let Chroi stand to dry while I nursed bub nearby.
You do what you’ve gotta do
As I was nursing an older woman came out of the barn, looked at me, and smiled. She started an “I remember those days…” conversation. She commented on how great it is to be able to just sit down and feed your baby anytime he needed it.
I was on cloud nine, to be honest, because instead of giving me side-eye while walking imperiously past me like I’ve had others do she was not only supportive but she clearly understood how I felt. And what she said next was the cherry on top of it all.
“I was that mother once, too,” she said, nodding toward the stroller I had been self-consciously pushing around the barn. “I dragged my son and his playpen to the barn with me every single day. I set him up next to the arena and let him play while I got in maybe five, ten minutes of riding. You do what you’ve gotta do.”
I was floored, because I’d been thinking about this very thing, thinking that even if I only got five minutes aboard Chroi that it was five minutes well spent. Only I had, up until this point, been too afraid to try it. What if he cried? What if someone heard him? What if…heaven forbid…someone judged me? It’s bad enough knowing people laugh at me as I fight getting a stroller through pea-gravel while leading a pony.
And here was this fine lady, thin and athletic and attractive in her expensive breeches and carrying an expensive dressage saddle, telling me about her now-21 year old son and how she used to not give a single turd about dragging his playpen around the barn because she needed to ride.
It was like she’d read my heart like an open book. And that was that. I knew that the next time I got to come out to the barn I was going to try going for a ride with lil man chilling (probably sleeping) in the stroller. Just five minutes was all I wanted, to climb on and see how it felt and maybe do a circle or two in each direction. I was gonna do it!
And I did.
I’ll never forget that fine mama and her cosmic timing. Thank you, mama. Thank you, Universe.