Recently I had my 6 week postpartum check up. Emotionally it was a bittersweet appointment. It was the culmination of a life transforming journey, for both Ben and I. We formed real relationships with all of the midwives. We trusted them to help us make decisions for our unborn baby, and now we were on our own. It’s hard to put in words what it feels like to go from a pregnant woman, to a woman that just had a baby to one deemed “ready to resume activities as normal”. What does that even mean? My new normal is far from my normal 10 months ago. The words kept going through my mind the entire drive home “ready to resume activities as normal”. I started thinking about what that was going to look like. So, I can work out again! I calculated how long it would take me to lose the last 15 pounds of baby weight. I mentally planned how organized I was going to be; meal planning, more one-on-one time with the kids, cleaning the house…. oh, and that 6 week mark also meant I should shave my legs before bed tonight!
I walked in the door with my renewed perspective on life…. and the baby started crying. As I was sitting in the rocking chair feeding my sweet baby I looked around. Where did all of that dust come from? I JUST cleaned? How did the floors get so sticky? I just scrubbed them! Then I remembered… the last time I did any of those things was 6 weeks ago. While I was in labor. How was that 6 weeks ago! As I thought about all of this, I started to get really overwhelmed. Who was I kidding? I spend most of my day breastfeeding. When will I find the time to clean the house, let alone work out! I was determined to make it work. The rest of my day I spent extremely frustrated. Every time I tried to make dinner, fold laundry or do any type of cleaning the baby needed to eat. Bedtime came, and I decided at least one thing would go right today! I showered, shaved my legs, got into bed…. with a baby that was wide awake, and a husband who eventually fell asleep. I felt completely defeated. I had gotten nothing done. I mentally made a list of all the things I failed at all day. I felt like I had let my family down, I should be able to do this, right? I told myself tomorrow is a new day!
The rest of the week went pretty much like that first day. Fast forward to last night. I sat in the rocking chair, feeding the baby and I realized something. I was putting all of these pressures on myself. No one else said a word about the unfolded laundry, pathetic meals of popcorn and leftovers, or my lack of muscle tone. The “6 week” mark is just a day. It should be celebrated. Completing 9 months of pregnancy and the first 6 weeks of a babies life is success! Coming out of the fog at 6 weeks doesn’t mean you become a super hero, it’s actually the opposite. It humbles you to the power of your body, to an indescribable love that actually hurts your heart. It reminds you of raw emotion, that tears can flow without warning just because you feel so deeply for a tiny human. It forces you to face the fear and joy of motherhood.
The most ironic part I realized about the 6 week mark is that Atticus was quickly changing from a newborn to a baby. At 6 weeks, he started smiling and discovering his little voice. He also began to nap a lot less and breastfeed a lot more. Just when I was feeling up to marking things off of my to-do list, he was getting more demanding. Maybe this is mother natures way of getting us mamas to slow down and connect with our babies. Everyday could be the last of one thing and a first for another. I don’t want to miss a second of it. So I have decided to give myself a break. Instead of hurrying through a feeding or longing for the next nap, I am going to snuggle with him a little longer and cherish the moments he is learning about the world around him…. after all, my kids think popcorn and rice crispy treats for dinner is awesome!