And just like that, my baby girl is one month old. I don’t know where the time went or precisely how we spent it, but I do know that I’m beginning to feel I’ve got my feet under me again.
I’ve just got to take a moment to give a massive shout-out to my husband’s company. Because of a new policy this year, he has been given more paid parental leave than we are even planning to use. He’s been home for the entire first month of our daughter’s life, and he’s still not back at work. (I get him for 3 more weeks! It’s the BEST!!)
Having suffered Postpartum Anxiety/Depression with two of my births, I can’t tell you what a blessing it is to have my husband’s consistent, reliable, and much-needed help.
To be honest, this week is the first time I’ve felt really stable since giving birth.
No, I haven’t had the baby blues. Nothing like that. But I’ve sensed my own profound vulnerability.
I suppose I’m more in tune with it now than I used to be. (Did I mention I once had PPD for 5 months before I realized it and got help?)
I like to think I’m invincible. (Who doesn’t?) I don’t like to admit that stress–even the low-level, everyday sort–effects me more than it would if I didn’t struggle with anxiety. I like to think that now, after all these kids, I’ve got it all together.
The truth is: Birth leaves us broken. A beautiful, blessed broken…but broken nonetheless. In body, in spirit, in heart.
I just went through profound pain to build and deliver a human being into this world. My heart has torn itself beyond my body to breathe on the outside. I need to honor that. I need to honor the healing, the time it takes to learn to be without that piece of my heart.
I’m learning to accept that life is slower, fuller, heavier (rather like me at the end of pregnancy) than it was before. We have a new person in our midst! That’s quite a lot to be getting on with. And everything else? Well, it’s just going to have to take it’s time a-simmerin’ on the back burner.
Sometimes, that’s the hardest part: letting life simmer. Letting go of plans. Funneling all my energy and effort into someone other than myself. Six someones to be exact. Sometimes, I feel as if I’m falling behind while the world runs on ahead, looking back occasionally over its shoulder, saying softly, “She had so much potential.”
I need to remind myself that I am healing. That time spent fallow is fertile time. That it–and I–am worthy.
This great effort of birthing babies–this is worthy. This is glory, breaking in from Heaven. It is slow, full, heavy work. It is beautiful and it is blessed. So what if the world runs on ahead? I am participating in creation.
Life isn’t on the back burner.
Life is here. Right here.
Being birthed, grown, sustained.