Sometimes I think the hardest part about having a new baby is wrestling with the constant emotional dichotomy. It’s painful trying to survive while also slowing down enough to enjoy each moment. Sometimes I am gritting my teeth in exhaustion, physical fatigue and emotional burnout, and just trying to get through the moment until I can practice even the most basic self-care. And then the next moment, I’m lying next to my sleeping baby in bed, wondering if it would be possible to admire and cherish her enough.
Good and bad, the time is so painfully fleeting. Sometimes it seems for the best. Sometimes it’s for the worst. But I suppose knowing the time is fleeting is exactly what makes feelings of tenderness, patience, gratitude, and peace bloom so freely in the heartbreakingly beautiful, soul-stretching experience that is nurturing a new life. You are a cherubic baby and I love you so dearly. You are sunshine personified. But, oh, am I bone tired and weary.
One particular day this last month I set the bar low and still didn’t meet it. I cried for absolutely no reason, and I loved until it hurt.
You woke up this particular morning with a big, gummy grin and it melted my heart. Mercedes, 4, and I made up a new game where we both take turns making up short stories to tell each other. Mercy made her own lunch, because she wanted to, but I was relieved I didn’t have to do it. I tried to exercise for a planned total of 18 minutes but was interrupted by you at least four times. I zoned out while I ironed some clothes. I washed my hair. I felt bad about my body. And then after marathon nursing, I felt proud of my body. I kept us alive and relatively happy. But the apartment still looked like a bomb went off.
That day was nothing and everything. It was good and it was bad. It was mundane and boring, and yet so taxing I wanted to crawl back under the covers and maybe never come back out. That day, motherhood was as good as it was bad.
But, in reality, I suppose motherhood just mirrors life: Life is often both good and bad, sometimes at the exact same moment. And that’s okay. I think the trick to deal with it is gratitude. Neither of our lives will rarely look perfect, but if we look towards Heavenly Father with patience, faith, and gratitude in our circumstances — not for them — we will find joy that sustains us. The type of eternal sunshine that you came to earth with weaved in to the very fabric of your soul. I hope you never lose it.
This last month, we’ve seen you grow more into your own person. You’re reaching for things, laughing, interacting more with your sister, investigating, and rolling. You laugh the most for Mercedes, but you’re happiest with me. And, you little booger, you make sleep — even naps — so difficult. You constantly want to sleep on or with me, and I am struggling trying to find balance between helping you sleep and well — just about anything else!
I love you, Gwendolyn!