Two Months of Lessons
In my short time of motherhood I have learned many things. As I write to you I am practicing one of them: holding a baby while also holding a laptop and drinking coffee. Multitasking is a must at times.
Simultaneously, I have learned that sometimes I just need to lay it down and be present with my family. The journey of gaining wisdom to discern between the two is one I continue to travel. And as I am now writing the rest of this paragraph nine hours later, I can attest that today I put the “lay it down” part into practice.
I could probably share about thirty-seven lessons I am muddling through. Due in part to the fact that my time is no longer my own, we will just chat about seven.
- Motherhood. Is. Amazing. Being a mom has already been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. From the journey of pregnancy to the birthing process to the tender first weeks of life I have been blown away by God’s design and pure genius. Growing a human in utero is unfathomable and watching that human grow daily in front of my eyes is…indescribable. I love being a mom.
- Motherhood. Is. Exhausting. People told me this but in my naïve and hopeful innocence I wanted to believe they were all wrong. It turns out they were all right. It turns out every mother has experienced complete exhaustion. And that is okay.
- Efficiency is no longer the name of the game. Second only to lack of sleep, learning that inefficiency is okay is possibly the hardest adjustment. I am used to buzzing around accomplishing chores and errands in a timely manner and gaining much energy from crossing tasks off my list. Efficiency is rarely a part of my daily routine. And that is okay.
- Prayer is always the answer. My anxiety levels have increased since giving birth. When Annabelle was in the NICU she rarely cried, and that made me nervous. Now she cries unless she is sleeping, being held or has a pacifier in her mouth. So that makes me nervous. AB is a very loud sleeper, making noises like she is in distress, which of course caused anxiety that something was wrong. The pediatrician assured me these were all normal baby sounds. When she is in a deep sleep she is silent and chest movement often undetectable. Then I become nervous that she isn’t breathing! As you can see everything about a newborn can be nerve-wracking. And that is okay. I just pray through it.
- Emotional rollercoasters are not as fun as real roller coasters. All in all, I stayed as level headed as possible with a child in the hospital for 26 days followed by a move, lack of sleep and the holidays and actually did not have too many meltdowns. The medical staff kept reminding me that it would take time for my hormones to level out which could take months. What I did not expect was to feel “okay” and two months later, when life was starting to settle, feel like an emotional train wreck! Stuart, bless his heart, has been gracious and helpful when one minute I am nice Allyson and the next minute I’m monster Allyson. Someone pointed out that a few weeks of lack of sleep can be handled well but it’s the continuous deprivation over months that can take a toll. She is right. Ups and downs happen. Emotions happen. Meltdowns happen. And that is okay.
- Throw away the books. Throw away only one “normal”. I constantly desire to know what “should” happen and when it should happen and if what I am experiencing is normal and what Annabelle is experiencing is normal and the answer I have found is yes! Is the baby crying? That is normal. Is she quiet? That is normal. Does she eat for ten minutes? That is fine. Does she eat for twenty? Totally normal. “Normal” seems to be just about anything and everything. No two people are the same. No two experiences are the same. And yet they can both have a healthy, growing baby and both experience postpartum in normal ways, even if those ways are opposite. It is nice to share experiences and at least know I am not crazy to be fine one minute and laying on the floor crying the next. But I will experience this journey in a completely different way than anyone else. Your experience is unique to you. And that is okay. What I still really struggle with is the fear that something could go terribly wrong. I refer you to lesson “Prayer is always the answer”.
- I am enough because Christ is enough. Life is not without mistakes. Days do not always go the way we plan. Sometimes we get it all done, sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we say the right thing, sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we honor Christ, and unfortunately, many times we do not. But while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. It is by grace we have been saved, and this is not of ourselves but by the gift of God through faith. You are enough and I am enough because Christ is enough.
As it is now a few days later that I am finally finishing this post, I am trying to think of a clever way to wrap up. But because I am being called to one of my new jobs of keeping the pacifier in AB’s mouth, it looks like I will have to put these lessons into action, be present with my baby and accept that for today, this is best ending I have. And that is okay.
Amazing, exhausting, and completely worth it.