Hello loves. Remember me? I never intended to take such a long break from the blog, but my goodness, motherhood hit me like a ton of bricks. And now that so much time has passed, where do I even start?
I actually started writing this post months ago, but the interweb gods decided to crash my browser, deleting everything I wrote, leaving me in a puddle of tears. I took that as a sign to relax, take some pressure off, and focus on being a mama. No one was sitting in front of their computer waiting for me to hit publish. But still. When you've been blogging regularly since 2009, it felt strange to not share my post-baby life with you. Plus, I figured if those effortlessly stylish Instagram mamas with 4 home-schooled children could run a business and keep a blog going, why couldn't I pull it together? Who ARE those women?
Almost seven months have gone by since our little love was born. Seven months! The best and hardest seven months of my life. And it may sound crazy to some, but I'm just NOW starting to see the light. Just now starting to feel less anxious, more confident. Less stressed, more appreciative. Just now feeling rested enough to actually convert thoughts into words - although I've still yet to sleep longer than 4 hours at a time since his birth. Oy.
Motherhood is a choice you make everyday, to put someone else's happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you're not sure what the right thing is...and to forgive yourself, over and over again, for doing everything wrong.
- Donna Ball
Shell-shocked is a good term to describe those first few months. I was living in survival mode every second of the day, just trying to keep this tiny human alive. With a preterm baby, we suffered through it all - daily doctor appointments, jaundice, breastfeeding challenges, low milk supply, hair-pulling colic, head shape and heart rate scares.
Then came hormonal postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, and sleep issues that are still working themselves out. I will never forget counting down the seconds until Hal came home from work, so I could pass off the crying baby to cry in the shower alone.
While pregnant, I was so naive. It's comical really, how naive. You can imagine, you can read books and you can listen to other people's experiences, but I've learned you can't really prepare yourself because you have no idea what you're in for - what your particular baby will be like. I foolishly assumed and hoped that since I'd had an easy pregnancy, I'd have an "easy" baby. Laughable, I know.
Our sweet pea just so happens to be one of those "spirited" babies, persistent, dramatic and adorably demanding, pulling all theatrics to get what he wants the moment he wants it. Sounds familiar - I shouldn't have been surprised. He also has a severe case of FOMO (fear of missing out) and fights sleep with everything he's got. But at the same time, this kid is ridiculously happy and charming after a good snooze and a big meal. Now that his personality is emerging more and more, I've noticed how remarkably expressive and goofy he is - we might have another performer on our hands. And his eyes. They are angelic. He smile heals. He is pure light and joy in physical form.
We dance with the baby every night now, spinning round and round the kitchen. DIzzying, this happiness.
- Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation
Now and again, when I awake to screams in the middle of the night, when I experience an overtired meltdown in public, when he hurts and there's nothing I can do to help. During teething, shots, or a difficult developmental phase.... I wish the days, weeks, and months will end so I can sleep again. So I can have time to myself. So I can get back to work.
But it was such a difficult path to get here, I've made a vow to stop wishing away the hours. The days are long but the years are short, they say - which I never really understood until now. There's a song that chokes me up every time I sing it to Bowie before bed:
Where are you going, my little one, little one
Where are you going, my baby, my own.
Turn around and you're two, turn around and you're four.
Turn around and you're a young man going out of the door.
This new life? It's the real deal. The lows make the highs even higher. The joys brighter. I thought I knew happiness before having a baby. But my heart now explodes on a daily basis. His smell, his skin, his squeals. I laugh more than ever. I live in the moment like I've never done before. It's messy and monotonous, but oh so magical. THIS, to me, is what happiness is.
Babies are soft. Anyone looking at them can see the tender, fragile skin and know it for the rose-leaf softness that invites a finger's touch. But when you live with them and love them, you feel the softness going inward, the round-cheeked flesh wobbly as custard, the boneless splay of the tiny hands. Their joints are melted rubber, and even when you kiss them hard, in the passion of loving their existence, your lips sink down and seem never to find bone. Holding them against you, they melt and mold, as though they might at any moment flow back into your body.
- Diana Gabaldon
As for the future of this blog, to be honest I'm not quite sure. I'd love to get back on my weekly schedule again. If the babe ever naps in the crib or anywhere other than my arms, the carrier or the car seat, it might be possible. But I'm not going to stress about it if I can't make that happen. I DO know that I'll be using Instagram as a micro-blog, linking here when I have more photos to share or something to say that exceeds 150 characters. So please find me (@shanrockeileen) to follow. And I hope you'll sign up for my newsletter (see sidebar) to be notified when I do get a chance to post. Thanks, friends. For hanging in there. For your comments, support, love and loyalty over the years. ♥