Where. To. Start.
The fact that I’m writing this while leaning over the kitchen counter soaking my nipples in warm salt water?
Or that the 17 day old baby boy is sleeping and I have maybe 2 precious hours to get myself back to feeling like a person?
Or that after 60 hours in labor I ended up having a c-section and the whole ordeal had me PTSD crying almost every day for a week after?
Or that I finally saw my incision, slightly crooked and cut longer on the right side than the left because his little shoulder was lodged in a weird way on my right side, and felt like some science experiment?
No one told me that having a newborn would reduce my being to a pure physical vessel…my only purpose to feed and care for a helpless being. Or that caring for a newborn is a one way street, giving everything to this little life who cares not that you have layers of stitches crossing the bikini line, or that your mammary glands are freaking out, swollen and sore, or that your uterus is shrinking and cramping, that there will be vicodin and stool softeners and more people wondering about your gastrointestinal functions than you ever thought possible, that you would replay the events of your labor over and over again with your husband and cry over the pain and trauma of it all, that he will see and do things for you that you never imagined (involving blood and vomit and maxi pads and helping you walk and do ANYTHING).
But I was warned how wonderful it would be, how I would fall in love like never before, how all the pain would go away once that little babe was in my arms.
Readers, moms to be, new moms, professional moms…I have to say this wasn’t 100% true for me. It is there. It comes and goes. It is profoundly present when he smiles in his slumber, when his little fuzzy head nuzzles into my neck and he falls asleep, cooing and making the sweetest sounds, when he sees my face now or hears my voice and I think I can truly see some sort of recognition, when I’ve learned what soothes him and can calm those cries with a song, or a rocking chair session, or my milk. Still, it’s a liiiiittle more like a blind date than love at first sight…we are getting to know each other. Sussing out what we are in store for us with this union. Learning what we can tolerate, let go of, give, what we love about each other, what doesn’t work. There’s the fear of commitment and enormous responability mixed with an eternal love that can’t be explained.
And remember how afraid I was of losing my relationship with my husband? Well I’ve never loved him more. Our household has been a constant (and VERY welcome) stream of help and family and visitors, so we haven’t had a lot of alone time, but holy moley…he has become the head of our household, a caretaker like I’ve never seen, and although we were committed to co-sleeping, we now start the baby in a bassinet and the half hour we have together, in bed, side by side, has become one of the best parts of my day.
The baby was feed and changed and asleep last night at 10pm, my husband’s mom was in town and we were feeling ambitious, so we decided to surprise my husband and show up at his work. When he saw us, his family, he teared up.
Because it’s finally hitting us. This is our family. We are family.
I looked up “family” and the defintion is pretty sterile:
: a group of people who are related to each other
: a person’s children
: a group of related people including people who lived in the past
I suppose this cardboard definition is necessary and the best dictionary.com can do with the “traditional” sense of the word. But what a shame. If you are reading this, you probably understand how little justice these definitions do the word.
I am formimg my own definition and will share it soon as I learn more from this little boy and the big man in my life. It’s bubbling inside me, this deep feeling of awe and confusion and love and sense of forever…