Wednesday, March 19, 2008

a report from the field

What I'm about to say shouldn't be taken for a gauge of where I'm at exactly, more along the lines of pieces of me - and the camp these pieces are visiting on occasion.

It's hard to get back into the swing of life. I don't even know what LIFE is these days. I live in a state of constant reflex - reacting to Alice's cries and snuffles, attempting to get myself showered and dressed on a semi-regular basis. The halls here at home are never as warm and welcoming as they are the second Chip walks in the door, and around 11am when the sun is shining and I can open the curtains to let in the light. I live for these minutes and for the moments when Alice seems to look at me with true recognition in her tiny face. LIFE is a rolling ball of moments swirling in a blur of reds and yellows and blues and grays. Sleep isn't something to be taken lightly. It comes in tiny snatches: a nap sandwiched between feeding Alice and doing a load of laundry; in the witching hour at 2:30 a.m. when I seem to be the only person on the planet; in the pre-dawn of 4:00 a.m. watching dew collect on the windowsill. I'm working on getting out more. It isn't easy. Everything takes so much longer than it used to. I can't just run out of the house. There is a bag to be packed, a baby to be fed, a nap to be interrupted, a mommy to dress. K called me today (yes, the same K from our labor and birth class - we've actually become good friends, bonding over the sheer terror of first-time motherhood) to share her Tuesday thought, which was: what's the point of bathing the baby when she poops and pees all over herself fresh out of the bath and even after clean-up is already covered in milk and spit-up an hour later?

I know that these are the early impressions. The things we live through to get to the next stage: smiling and sitting up and solid foods and teething and preschool and and and... Every single mother I've talked to about all of this says the same thing: it doesn't last forever; hang in there; you will get a system down; things will be easier. And I know they're right. I know it will get better. And it already has. We're getting out more. We went to Babies R Us today and survived to tell the tale. I'm finding that a two hour stretch of sleep actually feels luxurious. I live for her snorfles and hiccups and sighs. One smell of her milky skin is worth every sleepless minute. I adore this tiny girl and everything she promises to be.

Just the same, I think it's important to put everything down. To report what the pieces of me are finding, even in the dark corners.

Being a mother can be incredibly lonely.


nomadicspud said...

I love how you voice your thoughts. Each of us, if we're entirely honest, have had these thoughts. The first weeks after having a baby seem to be filled with immense joy, exhaustion and yes sometimes hopelessness all swirled together. Thank heavens the immense joy keeps us moving. Personally, I believe 6 weeks is that magic time. At 6 weeks hormones start leveling off, baby gets used to life on the outside, schedules seem to be more defined and the sense of what baby wants somehow seems to be more defined. Hope that helps. It did for me. She's adorable. If you need to rest, I'll come watch baby!!!

Tessie said...

You are doing great!

Also, at this stage, for me, the sleep thing clouded everything. Once that lifted, everything was so much more enjoyable.

She is beautiful.

ailene said...

Hey, it's okay! Just take it easy! Yeah, it can be stressful when you don't get a lot of sleep at night! I'm sure Chip is doing his share to help out with the little one too. The sunlight is a good thing, glad you are getting it!

Be sure to let your friends know if there is anything they can do to make your life easier right now (that includes me)!

The Wife said...

I have much to say, dearest. But I think I had better email.

It's much too personal to post for the whole world.

I love you. That sums up part of it.

stacie d said...

i don't know what it's like to be a mommy, but i do know what it's like to be your friend! i also know that alice is as lucky to have you as her mama as i am to have you for a friend! xoxo

emily said...

i'm so happy to hear that you are getting to the swing of things with little miss alice. please call me if i can come over and help with ANYTHING!! love you guys!

wandering nana said...

Just keep telling yourself it is all worth it in the end, because it definitely is. The time will come when you will help Alice with her newborn... it will come and you'll remember these days and realize how nice it was when she was new.

wandering nana said...

PS Remember, I can help at any time.

Kristin H said...

I used to nurse my baby in the middle of the night and think about all the other moms out there who were up too, like we were part of an invisible club held together by gossamer strings stretching between our houses.

tearese said...

those first few weeks can really get you down. I remember this feeling like there was no way I could leave the house for anything, because it took too much work, and what if she wanted to eat?
The lack of sleep made me angry and crabby all the time (still does).
I started my blog shortly after Elora was born,just so I could feel like I was doing SOMETHING besides taking care of her. It really helped.