A few weeks ago I was in the nursery folding laundry. My two boys were in there with me, playing in the hampers, using the pile/mountain of clothes as a crash pad and pulling up my shirt to look at my ever-growing tummy.
Normally, I’d be slightly annoyed. Normally I might say something like, “OK, that’s enough! Don’t mess up the clothes! Give Mommy some space!” Instead, I put my arms around both of them as they kissed my tummy and said hello to the baby inside and I thought, “What if this is one of the last days I get to do this with just my two little guys? What if tomorrow our little family of four turned into a family of five?” My due date was just weeks away, and I knew that these precious moments with just my two little men were swiftly coming to an end.
I must have been having some sort of premonition, because at 6:52 a.m. the next morning, we welcomed our third little boy into our family. My labor and delivery were quite fast and unexpected. I was thrilled beyond belief to finally have my baby in my arms, yet terrified at the thought of being home with three kids instead of two. I started to panic thinking about how much this would change my daily life: mealtimes, playtimes, outings, sickness (my germaphobe-ness just shot through the roof) and of course, sleep. How — and when —would I finally get “back to normal?”
My sister must have read my mind because as I sat in my little hospital room that day holding my new angel, I received an email. “I thought of you when I read this!” she wrote.
“I feel sometimes like there is a message out in our society today to ‘get back to life’ as quickly as possible after our babies are born. Back to our old selves, back into shape, back to work, back to our old routines — just keep life going like a truly amazing miracle didn’t just land into our lives. To go on and appear as if nothing ever happened — this makes me mad that this is applauded and praised today — it’s truly ridiculous, but very sad also. It’s an indication of a deep chasm in the most important bond of mother and baby.”
This hit me hard. “YES!” I thought. Things ARE completely different now, as they should be. Why am I so paranoid about how this will “disrupt” my old life? That life has changed forever now. I’ve been told by numerous family members and friends to “take it easy.” It’s OK to turn on a show for my kids while I nurse. It’s OK to let my husband do the grocery shopping, even if he sometimes comes home with interesting choices for meals. Speaking of meals, it’s OK to let people help by bringing me dinner (I always feel guilty for putting another mother out). Or even eat cold cereal for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
It’s all OK because there is now a tiny addition to our family who has just rocked our world, and we should all ENJOY adjusting.
Sarah ends with this:
“I think babies deserve to rock the world of those around them a little. To stir things up, to make us rethink priorities, to bond — totally and completely giving ourselves to them when they need it most. Even if that means little things like fat pants for awhile, or a makeup drawer that goes untouched for months, or big things like lots of ‘no’s’ to invitations and commitments, or everything that once seemed so important plummeting down that priority list and maybe even disappearing. Of course we can rebuild slowly — on the baby’s timeline — but things shouldn’t look the same ever. We all need to move over and make space for this precious new life we brought into the world. Babies deserve it, and we moms do also.”