Dear New Mom,
You Go, Girl.
So you've had a baby. Congratulations! Now what? The myth has already been dispelled. By now you know that conceiving, getting pregnant, staying pregnant, giving birth, nursing and taking care of an infant is nothing like what they said or implied it would be. Sure, millions of women do it every day all over the globe, but your experience is unique and very much your own. Like snowflakes, no two mothers are alike. Even if things have gone exactly as planned or perhaps especially because they have, you are one tired mama. Your very existence as you've known it thus far has changed and you have so much time to ponder it because you're always UP and you're always ON. This little ticking human time bomb keeps you awake and on your feet with a few restless breaks in between. Long gone are the days of enjoying hot meals or hot showers. Your time is no longer your own. You're on baby time now and you will be for a while. Around the clock, you're feeding, burping, changing, rocking, soothing, loving and yes, sometimes greatly disliking this tiny person all the while trying to get back to "normal", whatever the hell "normal" is. You do this every. single. day. If you're not doing it, you're anticipating it. No matter how long you've been at this mothering gig, whether this is your first child or third and whether it's one day or one month (or even one year), every day with this baby you reach the point where you've had IT. Physical and emotional exhaustion don't discriminate. Every day you reach a point when you've had more than enough. Some days start out that way. So you resolve to get out, because that's what I'm here to tell you, YOU MUST GET OUT every day. Sometimes it's lunch with a friend, sometimes it's a walk around the block, sometimes it's a cup of coffee at the book store, somewhere ANYWHERE that's not the four walls you've been staring at all day. That's how you ended up at Target tonight. You're there in your milk-stained yoga pants and your unwashed hair up in a bun. Your breast pads are soaked through but you saw an opportunity for escape and you took it, soggy boobs be damned. Sometimes you have to steal that opportunity leaving a dumbfounded husband and kids in your wake. You're going where? NOW? With a defiant jerk of the wrist, you turn on your car and you answer to no one in particular: Target. HELL YES. They don't worry because they know. So you meander through the aisles enjoying the silence, pushing your empty cart along, not really looking at anything. You meant to really get out today but somehow you didn't get around to it. The zombie march down to school with the baby strapped to your chest to pick up your other children doesn't count. So here you are at the store twenty minutes before closing time but hey, you've kept your promise to yourself. You're out. Alone. While you're there, you remember you are out of apples and have been meaning to pick up a new toothbrush and so you grab them. As you pay for that bag of apples and that new toothbrush, the cashier looks at you in that knowing way. She's seen you there at that time before. So, when she hands you your receipt and your purchase and cheerily says, "Thank you, see you soon!", you say it right back, "See you soon." All the while thinking, maybe it'll be as soon as tomorrow but you don't care because you know tomorrow will be another day you've gotten through and these days any day gotten through, no matter how shitty or great (many days it's a little of both), is a good day.
Ninotchka Beavers is a mother of 3, writer and artist living in Dallas, Texas. She is the author of "Twice Blessed: A Diary of Secondary Infertility". Ninotchka writes candidly about life and motherhood at her website www.ninotchkabeavers.com.