Thursday, July 21, 2016

As Magic as the Smell of Baby Shampoo: Third Baby Perspective

I've never enjoyed a baby so much.

With AP, we struggled with the reality of unexpected parenthood and carelessly thwarted plans until the moment we held her in our arms. My anxiety became really difficult to manage and we were trying to learn to be a husband and wife in the middle of learning to be a papa and a momma. I fretted about schedules even though she slept beautifully and I tried to determine what her cries meant even though she rarely cried. I imposed dumb rules on myself- like not doing anything else while I nursed her. Partly, I think, because I was ashamed by my reaction to the pregnancy and wanted to bond with her so badly. And partly because I was, every day, trying so hard to prove my worth as a mother. To the world, to Peyton, and to myself.

With Graves, while he was very planned, two kids was a hard transition and I struggled to learn his ways and bond with him initially. It was a full year of survival mode. I spent a lot of time exhausted, anxious, and paranoid everyone was judging what were my very best efforts. And I wasn't honest about it with myself or anyone else.

This time I've worked incredibly hard to be honest with myself and with P. I've tried to be transparent in all the spaces it helps me to be so. I've realized it's an extremely worthwhile use of my limited energy to process all of this in real time instead of down the road.

And I'm in my early 30s instead of my mid 20s. I know the hard times (and good times) are just a blip in the span of a lifetime with our Sarah Lamar. If she's asleep, she's asleep. If she's awake, she's awake (and typically in one of our arms- I ain't worried about Babes getting spoiled). And if she's crying, I almost always nurse her. The time when the solution to life's problems is that easy is unbelievably short. I'm able to be present in organic, non artificial ways. My lifestyle is much more simplistic, my anxiety is better managed, I more often notice ordinary wonders all around me, and I know where my worth lies (and it's not in how well I mother them, as important a vocation as it is).

Those things are about as magic as the baby shampoo I'll be in the corner sniffing for the next thirty years.

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