Those first few weeks of motherhood . . .
Bleeding. Exhausted. Scared. Crying.
(And that’s just me. I’m sure it’s an adjustment for the baby, too.)
And the pain—everywhere. Like, oh. My. Word.
My nipples. (Do I still have nipples? Maybe I just wish I didn’t have nipples?)
“This too shall pass,” my mom and my sister tell me. “It gets better.”
And they’re right.
I settle into a routine with my baby—the fear is perhaps the first thing to start to subside.
I can go a few more minutes without checking on his breathing. I get up the courage to take the baby out alone. I can handle the idea of leaving him with my grandma for half an hour while I run to the grocery store.
I’m busy, so busy, learning to mom.
And the laundry is crazy. There’s stuff molding in the fridge, I haven’t shaved my legs in three months, and the last haircut I had was when I was four months pregnant.
I often put on the clothes with the least evidence of puke.
“This too shall pass,” I remind myself.
We hit the four-month mark, and we learn about sleep regression. I thought I was exhausted before.
I’m sleeping 45 minutes per night, and there’s no time to sleep while he naps in the day, because I have a blog and don’t qualify for maternity leave. I need to work.
Will I ever sleep again?
“It gets better,” a friend says. “My kids sleep like rocks now . . . this too shall pass.”
Tonight, after bath time, I noticed his little tows crunched up in his 3-month sleeper. I take off the sleeper, set it aside, and pull out the next size up. It’s hardly big, I’ve obviously waited too long to make the switch.
He smiles at me and makes a real laughing sound. Not the throaty, wheezy, learning-to-laugh sound he often makes. A real laugh.
And it makes me real laugh, too.
His funny little laugh is, hands down, the best sound I have ever heard in my life.
He is the most adorable, chubby, happy little thing I have ever known.
And then it hits me—this too shall pass.
It is already passing.
The little sleeper he will never wear again sits on the dresser shouting it at me.
Did he even wear it 10 times?
That sweet little lip-smacking thing he used to do when he was done nursing–when did he quit that?
We’ve had so many firsts, and there are always more on the horizon, so it’s easy to forget there are lasts zooming by us.
We have lasts with these babies we are given—do we realize that mommas?
The last time we will nurse them to sleep, the last time they will cuddle up on our lap, the last time we will pick up our child. Even when they are infants, these lasts are not that far off in the grand scheme of things.
My baby looks more like a little boy now than a baby. I know he’s still a baby, but when did he get so big?
I must remind myself, from now on . . .
To put down my phone when he nurses.
To turn off the TV at playtime.
To be mindful.
To choose to savor the moments when I am unwashed and exhausted in my messy kitchen.
When I find myself wishing he slept a little better or could entertain himself for just a little while so I could just get a break—I must remember to be careful what I wish for.
Because this too shall pass.
Previously published on the author’s blog