How has it been a year and a half? I honestly have no clue.
This week marks the longest we will have left Beck (5 nights! I kind of don’t want to go when I write it out), and so it has me all nostalgic for the times when leaving her for five hours was a massive deal.
More than anything, parenting, for me, is very fun. Also more than anything, I constantly feel guilty about something or pulled to do something other than what I am currently doing. If I’m playing with Beck, I’m thinking about a client I should be visiting. If I’m blogging, I remember there is laundry in the dryer since…? If I’m folding laundry, I’m wishing I was photographing for the blog, and on and on and on. Parenting is a full time gig. Keeping up with life is a full time gig. Working is a full time gig even though I don’t ~technically~ work full time. It’s exhausting and impossible and how I get through it is by trying ohsohard to stay in the moment, do one good thing at a time (note that good does not always equal productive), and not worry when things don’t get done.
Things always are not getting done, so that one had to happen first for my personal sanity.
Physically, I guess I’m fine postpartum. I have a pooch in my belly that I think is way more pronounced than before but also I do precious little to maintain any kind of weight other than the one I currently weigh. I weigh 6 pounds more than when I got pregnant. Some days that feels like nothing, some days it feels like an extra person’s worth of guilt and shame and JUST STOP EATING CARBS. Sometimes I have an awful amount of pressure in my bottom if I squat down to play on the floor for too long or, (you know you do it too), hide on the toilet on my phone for a long time when I’m done actually using the toilet. Sometimes my tailbone hurts a ton when I get up after sitting for a long time in the wrong position. My breasts resemble pancakes more than they did before I had Beck, but not like full-on pancakes, so ok. It’s all little stuff, and I think that makes me lucky. Or maybe it’s all little stuff and I choose not to dwell on it.
Emotionally, I think that I put on a pretty brave face but am basically a wreck. Like…I handle things. Beck is learning to talk and knows a bunch of stuff and eats vegetables and I do things socially and also go to work and am pretty nice to my husband. But the anxiety. I can’t describe it since having a child. It’s not even like it’s worse than regular slightly-anxious Lindsay, it’s just…different. Like sometimes I’m so busy being a parent and LEARN WORDS AND KNOW YOU’RE LOVED AND EAT THESE PEAS that I forget to be fearful of everything and nothing. I’m great. And then something startles me in the night or I have more than 90 seconds free and my mind starts to wander and suddenly the world is crashing around me and there’s nothing I can do to stop it, almost like because I didn’t worry at all for a set number of hours the anxiety is compounded when it does find me. That probably makes no sense. But! I have some ways to cope. Keeping busy actually does help, which is useful because I’m very busy. Talking myself down in a think-it-through, which is silly but works. “Oh, you think someone wants to come in and…steal you? from your child? no, your life is not an episode of The Night Manager. also Callie is here! she is so quiet right now which means there is NO ONE IN THIS HOUSE TRYING TO KILL YOU.” Also yoga. Of course I’m biased because I’m a yoga instructor, but in the last 3 months or so I’ve been making a concerted effort to take classes instead of just teaching classes. It’s made a refreshing difference in how crazy I feel, going back to the roots of why I started teaching in the first place, reminding myself that this is a practice, not something to become good at, etc.
Besides these blips of insanity, which I have determined (via literally nothing) are in the range of normal, I find myself enjoying Beck more and more as she gets older. I love her, sure. I like her, duh. But enjoyment is the term that most accurately describes how I feel about spending time with her. I want to, I get to, I cherish it. Watching her copy people and learn things, seeing how pleased she is with herself when we praise her for things, and hearing her call my name when she wakes up in the morning are just the most wonderful, sweetest moments in the world. She has plenty of tantrums and moments of hitting and yelling and pouting, but the good outweighs the bad so much at this point. I do think that I’m so lucky to have the work schedule that I do so that I’m with Beck lots of hours per week but am still able to work and find fulfillment outside of the house. We know people with a thousand different work/life/kid arrangements, and this is the one that we worked out to be best for all of us. I honestly don’t love my job enough to be at it 50 hours a week and not hang with Beck, but I’m not sure I care THAT much about the ABCs to want to be a SAHM and give up my career. Again, this is only me, at this point in our lives.
The downfall of Beck growing up and developing so beautifully is that I’m so nostalgic for how little she was just five seconds ago. I miss nursing, I miss waking up in the middle of the night, I miss her patting my arm, saying Mama, and that being the sum total of her vocabulary. And, at the same time, I’m so thrilled for her to know more, do more, experience more. Riddle me that! The same goes for thinking about a second child. In the big picture, I want another child, more kids, family, blah. But the thought of feeling this way about anyone but Beck feels like cheating on her in my brain with future fake children. WHAT IS THAT. Since I have no clue I’ll deem that normal as well. Science.
We weaned fully by about 13 months, and it wasn’t anything hard or weird like some people had said. It was a gentle adjustment, Beck wasn’t interested in it anymore due to FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD and I didn’t have any kind of timeline for stopping, so one day we didn’t, and then we went more days without nursing and suddenly it was over. I miss it because it was our thing, but the more I think about that, the more I realize that our thing is … whatever we make it. Maybe that’s why I miss nursing so much, I adore the connection Beck and I are forging together, and nursing is such a sweet connection with a teeny baby who has no other real way of communicating (so is bottle feeding or snuggling, this isn’t about that at all). Maybe it’s my craving for love and affection, who knows, but I don’t think so. My favorite part of parenting, hands down, is the connection that Beck and I are making. So, when things that connect us like nursing end it is sad, and when new things that connect us emerge, like inside jokes and language, I rejoice. I like being the one that knows what she is saying, being the one that she goes to for comfort. Jay has both of those things too, of course, but if it’s me in a room full of other friends and family she picks Jay and me every time, and that feels so special even though I guess it should be normal. Yay normal?
Yay normal. That is how parenting and postpartum life is for me right now. I don’t feel as though there is anything particularly special about my story besides that every connection between a parent and child is so very special, and that’s what we have. The version of my body that I’m in right now is fine, work is fine, and parenting is always at least 15% above the other fine things. We’re lucky in so many ways, and Beck is the most delicious buttercream icing on a very luckily normal cake.
(we are also going to Belize tomorrow and will be taking a minute away from this fun site to breathe)