Yesterday at the doctor’s office, Rocco weighed a little over nine pounds. Nine pounds! Nine pounds might not seem like a lot, especially to my friend Jenna, whose baby came out two weeks after Rocco already weighing more than he does now, but, for a little guy who left the hospital one month ago today (!) only weighing 5 pounds, 13 ounces, nine pounds sounds pretty incredible. And, to a mama who’s already logged thousands of nursing minutes into an iPad app that led to those nine pounds, it sounds like some kind of small victory at the least. He’s growing! We’re doing this! And wait, what were we talking about? Is that the baby crying? This brain is so stuffed with a new body of information on sleep schedules and developmental milestones and perfecting a baby’s latch that it tends to shut down on me, without warning, mid-thought.
This first month with Rocco has been… new. Everything’s new. Like I mentioned in the last post, my labor and delivery were pretty difficult, so recovery has been slow: I can’t yet do the normal things of driving or cooking or working or shopping, so instead this new season looks like being hunkered down with Rocco, binge-watching TV shows and taking meals from friends, my body recovering even as it nourishes another one. I am unfamiliar with it, this cuddling a baby in the middle of the night, this answering pediatricians and nurses and lactation consultants about the condition of my chest, this dealing with hormones and emotions that have me crying tears of joy one moment and wondering if I’ll ever wear my old clothes again the next. I think maybe when you stop recognizing most of your daily life, it’s easy to stop recognizing yourself, and that’s true whether you’re recovering from illness or childbirth or a move to a new town. Am I the same person who went to grad school and was super analytical and loved to read chapters of the Bible in her morning routine? Do I even know this girl who can’t stop taking iPhone photos of her baby and stares at his little face when he’s sleeping and has entire conversations about topics like Moses baskets and Rockaroos and car seats? Sometimes when a friend comes over or calls on the phone, I have to work to remember how to talk about normal things like food or jobs instead of how I just learned to tie the Boba baby wrap.
And I think that’s because, the truth is, I’m absorbed in these new days—or, rather, I’m being absorbed by them. I can’t believe I have a baby! He’s so beautiful and precious and sweet! He’s really ours? Look at his hairline and those lips and, oh my goodness, those cheeks! When he’s awake, we’re both eager to hold him and snuggle him and feel that luxurious baby skin. When he goes to sleep, we look at photos of him on our phones and talk about how incredibly loud that one burp was this afternoon. I scan Instagram for baby photos. I read strangers’ birth stories while Rocco naps in my arms. It’s such a new, unusual, temporary season, and Tim and I are in the thick of it together. Sometimes when we get in bed for the night, we just look at each other and laugh that we’re parents! We have a child! Man, we love him.
And while, of course, yes, I’m still a person and I won’t always have a newborn, even just one month in I can see that I’m also not the same person I was, and really I never can be. Like everything that happens to us, parenting has changed me, is changing me, will keep changing me. I’m trying to embrace that. Right now, I get to lose myself for a few weeks or months in the moment-to-moment needs of another—in his feedings and diaper changes and burp sessions and laundry—although admittedly with so much help from Tim, the man whose character truly shines in the challenges of diaper explosions and new mom meltdowns. When I feel a little lost in the urgent tasks of these moments, I want to remember what he told me last week, that losing yourself can be good. Because what’s more beautiful than emptying yourself so someone else can be full? What else is love but joyfully sacrificing in the humdrum? It overwhelms me and it stretches me, but it also makes me thankful for the ones who have given of themselves for me, from my parents who gave me life to my husband who gets up for every feeding to the One who took on flesh, left heaven itself, to become a person to bear sin and death for me. All is grace! Hard things and sweet things. Hard, sweet things. Our little treasure napping next to me on a Thursday afternoon. Most days I don’t remember how to even explain these things (yet another new feeling!), but today, my little guy is taking a long nap and Tim is at work and I’m taking a cue from my friend Lindsey who reminded me on Instagram yesterday that sometimes it’s good to go write. I look forward to the day I can come over here with a recipe again! I know it will come soon enough.
ps! from a new mom brain:
— Onesies with mitten cuffs! We’re obsessed. Rocco is a classic face scratcher, and even though I’ve filed his nails four times, they grow so fast I can’t keep up. He hates mittens and finds ways to get them off, but built-in mitties? His face is safe! We’re also not above putting socks on his hands, true story.
— Mom Enough – This book from Desiring God compiles a bunch of mom-related blog posts into one place. It’s a free download! Super encouraging and Gospel-focused. So recommended.