The first eight months of motherhood….MAMA I MADE IT!
I wish I could say this experience thus far has been nothing short of magical. I wish every time I looked at my daughters I saw two perfect angels instead of piles of piss and poop accompanied by annoyingly adorable smirks.
I love my daughters. When they were in the NICU, I cried constantly, wanting nothing more than to bring them home. Giving birth then immediately being separated from my children was a traumatic experience. I pushed two beings out of my body and for 20 hours I could not touch them, smell them or see them. For 20 hours we could not find comfort in each other’s warmth. I sat in a medicated daze but was coherent enough to stare at the door awaiting my partner’s return. I knew he would bring photos and video of our daughters. I just wanted a glimpse of them, confirmation that I was now a mother…
Yes, being away from them was hard, but having them home has come with it’s own set of challenges.
Piss. Poop. Pump. Eat. Sleep. Repeat.
For the first two months, this was my daily routine. My partner and I decided that he would continue to work outside the home while I worked remotely so I could care for our daughters. This arrangement seemed ideal. I imagined my daughters and I having giggling sessions and I would nurse them joyfully. I had fantasies of carrying one of them on my back, the other strapped to my chest while I prepared beautifully elaborate meals and wrote poetry. My partner returned to the work place and my daydreams were quickly swallowed by reality. Babies are cute but they also need you to do things for them, like wipe their poopy butts every few hours or make sure they don’t choke on their saliva. Thus began my first of weekly meltdowns. Although I have an amazing village of loved ones ready and willing to support me, I felt isolated.
One of my greatest weaknesses is my inability to ask for help. Sometimes I scream on the inside, hoping someone will hear my loud thoughts and rush to my rescue. Alas, not everyone is a telepath and my stubbornness and pride often prevent me from opening my mouth no matter the level of stress.
As much as I like to think I don’t need people…I do need them…a lot.
My daughters are eight months old now. They are sleeping through the night, have emerging teeth and they are laughing which makes changing their poopy diapers a tad bit more tolerable, (DAMN THEIR CUTENESS!).
Self care has become crucial.
To those like me, who often suffer in silence, I see you. We’ve invested in the idea of the Super Person, this otherworldly being who doesn’t need help or sleep or food. They are fueled by the desire to check things off their to-do lists and care for others. They believe ‘they can hold it all.’
I’m not a Super Person. My children are not my only nourishment. Reading, writing poetry, cooking comfort meals, feeling present in my body, laughing with my partner, venting in a blog post; these are the ways I nourish myself so I can better show up in the world.
Pause. Take deep breaths. The world will be a better place when the best YOU is able to emerge.
I practice self care (almost) every morning by waking up before my children, burning sage, meditating/praying, then I move my body, (usually in the form of yoga). I focus on deep breathing and imagine all the wonderful feelings I wish to wash over me during the day. Sometimes this takes 30 minutes. Sometimes it takes 15. You choose how much time you need. I am of the belief that there is always time.
If you have people who want to support you, let them. You deserve all the help, all the hugs, all the hot meals and an abundance of naps.