This transition into babyhood has me thinking about and reflecting on the newborn stage. And since the newborn phase is intrinsically intertwined with the post partum phase of course I am thinking about that as well. The good. The bad. The beautiful. Even the ugly parts.
Overall it's a wonderful, almost magic filled time. A time in which not only a brand new baby is welcomed into the world but a new family is created. Everyone's world shifts on its axis just a little bit. (OK sometimes a lot!) And there is just so much love and awe for this tiny person. It's amazing how much you can love someone you've just met. So much love your heart swells until it feels like it will surely burst!
But it's also a cruel time filled with many tears. Tears from baby and mama. And often older siblings as well. Hormones are raging. Debilitating at times. Add to that the numerous and prolific bodily fluids needing to be contained and cleaned up. Again from baby and mama! And sleep has become a thing of the past. Good, quality sleep feels as obtainable as keeping up with the laundry or showering daily. Don't even get me started on all the new mom worries! Is baby too hot? Too cold? Not sleeping enough? Sleeping too much? Am I starving my baby? Is this much spit up normal?! (Yes even fourth time "new moms" have these worries!) Seriously, it's a recipe for disaster.
And yet somehow time passes. We keep snuggling. And nursing. And crying. And changing diapers. And pads. And loving. Lots of loving right in middle of the mess. Because newborns and post partum mamas are messy. Its equal parts beautiful and horrific.
I have to laugh at myself because with each pregnancy I convince myself that THIS post partum phase is going to be perfect. I am going to embrace the mess. I am going to love my baby and my body. I won't cry. Or at least only tears of joy. I won't become a sleep deprived irrational mother. I will shower daily. It will be beautiful. I will treasure every minute. Because it goes by SO FAST! It's a good dream. But it just isn't reality. Living life with a newborn is perfectly imperfect and quite messy!
Truth be told, I cried a lot these past six weeks. I was a mess despite my best intentions. I tried to love my body. Really I am in awe of what it did and what it is continuing to do by nourishing Levi. But loving my body when I barely recognize it is hard. Even harder is cherishing every moment when I am SO tired I can't even speak coherently. I cherished a lot of moments. Just not all of them! And I'm ok with that.
Was it a perfect six weeks? No. But despite all the messes it was still pretty magical. It was our first six weeks together as mother and child...as a family of six. Six of the longest, hardest and best weeks of my life!
*I've decided (after surviving four newborn phases!) that babies start smiling at 6 weeks in order to give us sleep deprived mamas a ray of hope. That it is worth all the work. That we can survive. It's like the light at the end of the tunnel. That and cooing. Two sweetest baby milestones!