I remember feeling like everyone else had it figured out, and I was a failure. I had an informal list in my head of things other moms were able to do that I couldn't. Simple things like walk unassisted, or make it through the day without crying for no reason. (ok, both of those examples are from the first week after delivery...but still...) I felt cheated out of the new-baby-bliss I expected to enjoy, and I feared that I wasn't good enough to make it through this journey we were now stuck on.
Slowly things did get better though. I healed more, which allowed simple tasks to fade into the background a bit more. I began to get used to the 'round the clock feeding schedule (no one said love it, but it did become part of my new normal). And as my hormones settled down, my crying jags and melodrama waned. But still, when I look back on the beginning, it's a bit bittersweet. I remember falling deeply in love with my new daughter- taking endless pictures, and staring at her tiny features in absolute awe. But I also remember the pain. The feeling of inadequacy and uncertainty. The darkness that clung like fog to portions of our early days.
So this time...I was nervous. I was scared of the pain, of the emotions, of the responsibility. I prayed that my experience would be different. That my delivery would be easy and my transition to motherhood (again) would be smooth.
And OH, how God heard me. This time has been SO different. So very, very different! I had the shortest labor of all time (no one said easy...but short does count for something!) and a textbook recovery (again- not easy, but normal). And besides some typical minor emotional drama that comes with new-mama territory, I've felt good. Happy. Again...normal.
The first time I felt like I was missing out...and this time I've been blessed with a newborn do-over. And what a giant blessing that has been.
This past week Piper spent the week at my parents, which gave Dustin and me a break from balancing the needs of two littles, while also giving us the chance to spend some time with just Fin. And as much as I miss my spunky, smiley, little lady (I use the term "lady" loosely...) it's been really nice to have time alone with our newest girl.
And I am soaking her up. I'm in full babymoon mode, spending all day feeding her, snuggling her, and smelling her sweaty little head, on repeat.
The idea of a "babymoon" typically refers to a vacation that couples take before the arrival of a baby (ain't nothin' wrong with that!) But for me, it makes more sense that a babymoon would be just like a honeymoon- it comes after the big event, and is a chance for the newly joined love birds to spend time together...no responsibilities...no distractions, just each other. So Fin and I are on our babymoon. (Dustin is along for the ride, but unfortunately has that pesky job to attend to, so he's on babymoon-lite).
This time with my girl has been exhausting for sure, but it's also been refreshing in a way. The first time around I was a naive novice. This time I've gotten the chance to feel proud. I got my mama sea-legs much faster, so I've been able to enjoy this time, and relish moments of feeling like "I've got this". There are familiar feelings of fear, and doubt, and being overwhelmed, but they flow quickly like waves, without knocking me down as the pass.
I see a different mama when I look in the mirror this time around. I view her with more understanding, confidence, and a lot more grace.