I was surprised by the effort it took care for two young children and be pregnant. During the last trimester of my pregnancy I spent a lot of time feeling run down. I’m sure this is not atypical for mothers, to be tired in the last leg of the journey. Compared to my two previous pregnancies, it was clear that the third was a little harder on me than I had remembered or anticipated.
Before the third arrived, I had attempted to orchestrate a setting where I would be able to come home and indulge myself with rest and recovery. We purchased a deep freeze, prepared oodles of food (and cookies), washed everything at least once, and arranged a new set up for toys that were inviting to the kids (because novel wins every time). I had read that women in Japanese culture will stay in their bed for at least three weeks following delivery in order to heal properly. This approach to healing is also seen in Ayurveda, where the mother is secluded for 40 days so that her milk can be established, she can properly heal from any physical trauma that occurred during birth, and have time to bond with her child. These cultures tend to rely heavily on family to step in and assist with the duties that the mother is unable to do during those time frames. Even with my entire family taking time to come and visit us (not all at once – but throughout the month following) I knew that these cultural traditions were not really going to be something I could do. I wasn’t particularly interested in replicating them, just fascinated by the way the postpartum woman is treated following pregnancy and birth. I craved comfort and desired rest and it was indulgent on my part to imagine a life where this kind of recovery existed!
Four days out, we were back to our normal routine — meaning non-stop. While one child is using the restroom, the other is rummaging through the fridge for cottage cheese, except this time, there is also a newborn growling for our attention. As we made our way to the elevator one morning on our way to the store for diapers, I told my husband “ God clearly had a reason for a fast, trauma free delivery” he chuckled as we each grabbed a child’s hand and stepped across the elevator threshold.
Bringing home the second was tough, don’t get me wrong. I remember struggling with fitting our second child into our one child routine, but it was compounded by the fact I was facing postpartum depression. Bringing home the third is beyond me, even four weeks out. I’m still attempting to get a grasp on where one day ends and another begins.
I’m not complaining. It’s been a blur – surreal, dreamlike even.
The one steady foundation I’ve had is my husband. He is the one who stitched together every single burp rag with my recently passed grandmother’s vintage Singer sewing machine. He made our son’s first baby blanket, a blend of cerulean blue and charcoal plaid on one side and metallic Elk on the other. He gave baths to the two oldest from 37 weeks on. He jumped out of bed at every small request for a glass of water or another tum for heartburn. All of that was before the baby had even arrived! Since then, he has remained calm and smiled (even sarcastically) in the midst of a 5 family meltdown. He has taken on the role of sole care taker to each and every one of us.
It’s been a blur – surreal, even dreamlike- his beauty and heart.
God orchestrated a better recovery plan for us, He gave us each other. With two children, life felt manageable. I focused most of my energy on the kids, my husband focused on work and us. It all felt nice and cozy. Since about week 33 of my pregnancy, I began to be terrified of losing my husband. Not in the literal sense, but losing touch, losing time, and losing our connection. The year that we had was our “marriage year”, that year that comes along and out of nowhere (upon looking back is completely to be expected) and settles you as a firm unit (or destroys you). We don’t have the luxury of my family here. We can’t rely on the security of their help in our day to days. We do however have one another, and that is a solidifying fact to accept.
To my husband, who holds us all together. (sorry if that is scary to see in written form).