So my miniest is about to be ONE.
How in the literal hell did that happen?
I say that somewhat jokingly because it also feels like she’s been here a decade. Or maybe that is just me, having aged a decade.
While this year has flown by, it has also crawled forward at the slowest, turtlest pace-
Ironically, kinda like her weight gain.
Ahhh that elusive 14 pounds… we had it, then we lost it. We’ll get it back. Sigh…
I honestly find the first year of babyhood to be one of the loneliest.
Which seems so weird because you are surrounded by the boundless love and needs of your littlest.
The crushing-all-consuming-suffocating-can’t-take-a-shit-by-yourself needs of your littlest.
You’d think never sitting on the toilet alone again would banish a smidgen of those lonely feelings, no?
Truth is, it almost seems to highlight just how much you and this wee one are in the trenches, despite often being gifted with incredible support. This is extends for me personally from my husband, to my big minis, to my family, my in-laws, my exceptional friends, so many of you reading these words now…
I have so much.
But it's me. Alone. On this strange and unfamiliar road. Where no one understands, where I don't understand. In my head. Endlessly. At 1 in the morning trying to make sense of why my baby won’t eat enough, won't lead enough, won't grow enough.
You lose a lot of yourself in the first year postpartum.
Despite gaining the greatest gift of your life.
And sometimes I think, well damn, everyone else's boat appears to be floating down the river over there.
And my boat is here. And it isn’t even a boat.
It's more a life raft.
And I’m paddling.
With zero fucking clue of what direction I am going.
Life continues to be very full, and yet, confusingly, with nothing that is really tangible and no outline for completion.
It’s not as though I can say, yeah man, I’ve got this huge project at work going on right now...
Because that big project at work is umm... Raising a baby that's feeding tube dependent and tirelessly trying to get her to eat and grow the way she should. Taking emotional care of a challenging, blended family. Growing with and staying (happily would be ideal) married to my partner. Continuing to find time and nurture the friendships and relationships that mean so much to me. Trying to create the time to take care of the relationship I have with myself...
Are these projects? Are there tasks I can check off when it comes to any of these? I mean, sure. Hit Aspen’s doc appointments each week to ensure I can feel like a frustrated failure some more…? Check. Try not to be a tired asshole to my husband and give him a kiss…? Check. Make sure I'm not a crazy momster and ensure each kiddo gets a little one-on-one today…? Okay, I can certainly try.
But what about the things that are perpetual? The activities and movements and motions that just go on and on and on…
Like, spending my entire day tubing Aspen while documenting the data points that reveal how many ounces tubed leads to continued oral interest + ability to retain + comfort + weight gain…
Or, making sure kid A feels supported, ensuring kid B feels heard, building trust with kid C so they talk to me honestly, making sure kid D isn’t left behind…
Or, creating the energy that is required to water my marriage to ensure it doesn’t die out, but rather flourishes and grows to only bloom stronger…
Or, even just securing some inner peace within myself to lessen my feelings of failure, my feelings of shame, of anxiousness, of fear, of defeat; to essentially try to avoid the mental institution that seemingly beckons daily…
Do these ever reach completion? Nope.
Should they? I mean, no, probably not. It seems to be this is exactly how I should be spending every day of my life in this very season of my life.
When I take a step back, and I mean a big mother-fucking step back, I’m able to pull my head out of my ass and appreciate just how lucky I am to be in this grind. This very grind right here that has the power to break me some days; and on others, fulfill me beyond my wildest expectations.
This.is.my.life. I get to have this life. This right here.
And rather than look to others on how they are maneuvering downstream, I can fully embrace how fantastic my leaky, squeaky, patched-up life raft is continuing to rock (*pun intended).
This journey is one for the books.
Well, minus directly pumping milk into my babe’s tummy to the point of misery and vomit.
Yeah, that chapter can go ahead and end.