This is the second of a group of posts on motherhood. Read the first post here. Thanks for joining me. I’ll be posting Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 8 PST. Comments welcome.
So the child is here. There is no one as intensely interested in your child’s welfare as you. Fathers are a close second but I won’t for a minute entertain the idea that they can fully feel the weight of a mother, one in particular who has given birth.
You have advice. People are full of it. You have the conglomerate of your own upbringing to either guide you, repulse you or perhaps a confusing mixture of both. And some deep instinct may kick in when you are not even aware of it.
What to think of all this? There’s not much time to think, honestly. It is all labor, more labor. It’s a grueling cycle of comfort, feed, change diapers, sleep and repeat. You become very aware that if the child did not sleep, very terrifying things could happen. The child’s sleep becomes a matter of survival for you both. Sometimes, despite your best effort the child does not sleep. You soldier on, somehow, because now your heart has become wrapped in the tentacles of the infant’s survival. There will be no escape. But your captivity is also your motivation.
If this sounds rather dark, it’s not really when you’re in it. One caveat: There is a postpartum reality that you should talk about freely with anyone who will listen and provide help, husband, mother, sister, friend and doctor. It will pass but you may need help, and not even know it. Don’t be afraid to reach out. Most women experience this to some degree. It’s primarily hormonal in nature.
My advice to you during this time is to embrace fully what is. The intensity of your work will ease soon but now is a precious window of time. Your child is being served by you. There is a sense in which you are being served by the child. You are being changed. These extreme circumstances will never come again.
Be fully present. Practice thankful thoughts, especially when you don’t want to. A thankful mother is the most wonderful gift you can give your child, and why not begin in infancy? Can you argue offer otherwise? I think not.
You may notice that I offer no practical advice. Anything of that nature may be outdated and even silly since I had my children three decades ago. But the inner life has a timeless quality, and this is my focus. My hope is to create a community of motherhood that can assist each other in many ways. Those of you in the trenches, if you have a rare moment to comment, please add your wisdom.
Thanks for stopping by. I’ll see you next post.