mama says // a new normal.

{image from here}

if there was one thing that took me by surprise more than anything else when i became a mama, it would be how much different my life was in the months after giving birth than it was in the months before. of course i knew it would be different - obviously, heading to a cafe with an adorable little sidekick in my shiny new stroller would be a change from heading to a cafe with a thick book (but the baby would be charming for a bit and then amuse itself while i rifled through a magazine), and getting up a few times a night to nurse the baby would be a big change, but we'd cuddle and fall back to sleep and take naps together every day so the whole sleep situation would just work itself out!


what i wasn't prepared for was the all encompassing-ness of my new role. there is no off-switch with a baby, no pause button. while i expected to be me, plus a little one, in reality i was a totally different person as a mama. it was a much harder adjustment to make than i anticipated - having someone else constantly on my thoughts whether i was rocking him while humming a lullaby, out grabbing a quick solo walk, or even while i was fast asleep - he was always there in the corner of my mind. that might be the truly exhausting part about being a mama: you can never go back to thinking 100% about yourself.

i mentioned the other day to a couple close to my heart (who are about to become new parents) that those months with a newborn seem like they'll last forever when you're in them. the sleepless nights, the confused days, the attempts at finding normalcy when your world's been turned upside down (in a way that you can never *truly* be ready for), and being at the beck and call of someone who can't say your name, can't kiss your cheek, can't say "thank you."

when you're in them, they can seem like they'll never end, and that can be devastating when it's hard. i had many hard days where i'd have to plunk phoenix in the stroller or a wrap and get out of the house as fast as possible, sunglasses hiding eyes that were puffy from frustrated crying, because he just wouldn't fall asleep even though he was so tired and i couldn't take it anymore. there were the few months after we moved across the country and bought our first car, when phoenix hated his carseat and driving anywhere was a nightmare - i thought i'd be stuck at home forever! there were the challenging changes in routine, the going from four naps a day quickly down to two, the growth spurt that kept him attached to me, nursing constantly, for two days, the front top teeth that came in at the same time over christmas and made sleep a distant memory.

the hard stuff all seems like it will never end.
but it does end.
and when you look back on it, you realize, oh that wasn't so bad.
we made it through.
and then your little person looks up at you with delight in their eyes and lets out a giggle, 
and you think about how happy you are that they came
and turned your world upside down.

now, fifteen months in, this feeling of always having someone else on my mind is something i (almost always) relish. leaving on my free saturday mornings to come to a cafe and actually read a thick novel or do some writing myself is a bittersweet activity, laced with the sadness that i'm leaving my favourite person in the world, and i love that i've got another little human to care about and who thinks the world of me. now that i have the freedom to regain that little bit of normalcy in my life (those solo cafe trips with a thick book or my journal, the long chunks of nighttime sleep that are *almost* a mainstay at our house), i find i miss the little person who caused all the chaos in the first place. the jarring feeling of losing the person you used to be and the life you used to have is a fuzzy memory and you feel normal again. it's a new normal, slightly different, but it works.

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