THAT WAS REALLY HARD…AND I DID IT.
I feel like I’m just beginning to come out of a postpartum fog. The birth of my second child was really fast and really intense, and in some ways I don’t feel like I was even there. Everyone who was there (and my living room was full for this one!) says how beautiful and wonderful it was. For me, it was like being hit by a truck (but not killed, unfortunately) and then dragged at full speed by said truck for three hours. My only thought when holding my beautiful little girl for the first time was “holy shit I’m SO glad that’s over. And I’m never doing it again.”
My favorite part came 12 hours later as I lay cozy in bed with baby girl, listening to my husband, sister, and two-year-old talking and laughing and making pancakes in the next room. THAT part I could do forever. That first week of healing, nursing, sleeping, eating (everything!), being waited on, and adoring my little baby is a wonderful little honeymoon.
But that honeymoon doesn’t last. And then life starts coming at your again. Everyone expects you to start bouncing back, the meals stop coming, the newborn stops sleeping quite so much, your husband goes back to work, the toddler is over the novelty of the care of others and wants his mama back. And the reality of real life begins to set in.
Real life is HARD. And for me, coming off that honeymoon high and facing real life just felt sad and depressing.
The stroller tire is flat. Now I’m going to have to somehow get both kids and a flat-tire stroller to the gas station to fill up the tire while trying to keep the toddler from running in front of a car in the gas station parking lot and his sister’s infant head from flopping all over the place as I frantically sprint to restrain him.
Both kids are crying. Toddler hasn’t eaten, so his blood sugar is tanking, but of course he’s refusing everything just because everything is my idea. I can’t put the infant down because the toddler, in his rage, will throw something at her, or step on her head. I, myself, am starving because, well, I’m always starving.
I am so incredibly tired, and toddler just wants me to play with him. I try to lay down and he comes running in every 10 minutes, “mama, mama, mama” “what?” “mama, mama, mama” Nothing substantial. He doesn’t want any THING. He just wants ME.
And all I’m focused on is just getting through these hard times. Without killing someone or locking myself in the bedroom. Thinking things like:
That was really hard. This sucks. I am not a good mother.
That was really hard. It’s only gonna get worse when my mother-in-law is no longer around to do all the laundry and dishes.
That was really hard. I didn’t have fun. Am I ever going to enjoy a trip to the beach again?
Oh, and now I’m expected to start going back to work, too?!
I feel like such a phony, too. As a coach, entrepreneur, businesswoman, and professional educator shouldn’t I be the model of positivity and self-motivation?
The other night when I was finally in bed after everyone was asleep, I again was reflecting on my most recent birth and began my usual thinking, “That was really hard…” But then a new ending to that sentence came to me.
“That was really hard…and I did it.”
And I smiled. I felt relieved to look back on that experience without dwelling on how hard it was and simply say, “Yeah, that happened. And I did it.”
So, I wonder…what if every time I have a “that was really hard” experience, I finish it with “…and I did it”? Would it always make me smile? Instead of making me dread the next hard thing?
I think I’ll try it. Wanna try it with me?