Rebirth Through Postpartum
It takes me a long time to recover from a birth.
Not physically--that's the easy part.
It makes sense that with each new baby born, so is born a new mother and yes, that's me.
Seven times, that's me.
One would think that an seven-timer at anything would be efficiently adept and I am.
But I'm also not.
I flounder as my hormones go crashing and I rage as they rage.
It's not postpartum depression but it is something.
Something that sends my whole world into a tailspin, flips my marriage on its head, shakes me to my very core over the weeks and months following a new baby.
And it's understandable, I get it.
We all get it.
Okay, well maybe my kids don't get it.
It's a big change and my body is firing on all kinds of cylinders, cylinders that can soothe a baby effortlessly and yet have me climbing the walls in my own head.
But it surprises me every single time how hard it is, the adjustment.
How very much of myself that I lose.
Because I do lose her along the way and in her place stands a little bit of a duller, more tired, more irritable version of me.
And that makes sense too because the very foundation of motherhood is built upon the notion of selfless giving.
We give up comforts and sleep and the best, last bites of food; we give up the time to get ourselves ready, to read good books, actually to read any books, to shower alone.
Our wardrobes consist of three pairs of black yoga pants, wash-worn nursing bras, and a handful of shirts that are debatably clean.
I have perfected this gift and listen, I don't regret it.
I do not regret this one bit.
I was born for this job of mothering, born to raise this family, and I'll always do whatever it takes to hold tight my line.
But I will always wish it were easier, that my postpartum days weren't filled with such strife and emotional drama, that the new mama fog wasn't so damn foggy, that it passed more quickly.
We emerge weeks later from that beautiful newborn period like victims in the aftermath of a tornado.
"Are you ok? I'm ok. At least I think I'm ok? How is she? Is she ok? Him? Them?"
And hell no, nobody is ok, not really, we're all in various stages of adjusting for awhile.
The marriage adjusts and the mother adjusts, the father and all of the relationships between them.
In order to welcome another to the flock, the ground beneath our feet has to crack open a bit and spread wide enough to accommodate another soul.
Family ties are not always so easily unbound.
It's messy and it's loud and it's full of near misses into holes so dark and deep, it almost seems like light could not reach.
But light always reaches.
New days always come; they march by actually.
And slowly, slowly there is a return.
There is a settling and a lifting.
There is more peace and less arguing.
More sleep and less exhaustion.
An occasional best last bite of food.
For me it's a metamorphosis of sorts, where in order to truly delve into my family and to give what is inherently needed during this time of miraculous and blessed change, I am almost singularly focused. I succumb easily to having secondary needs. I understand that this is a stage and a phase and that soon, I will do my own changing.
My own re-emerging.
I will rediscover the woman inside the mother; I will know again the friend and the wife and the lover.
I will eventually dig through the postpartum rubble and unearth my own private joys.
My interests and my goals and my wishes on stars.
I will blow the dust off my dreams, take a shower alone.
Slide into jeans that fit again, sit on the front porch and laugh with my husband.
My hair will stop falling out.
And I will revel in the reconnecting with an old friend.
Changed and bettered. Broken and beautiful. My hard edges smoothed by the ever-changing, rough and tumble tides of motherhood and its all encompassing love.
It is worth it to acknowledge the depleting journey, fraught with highs and lows and pendulum-swinging emotions, because it's also worth it to acknowledge the hard-won joys of a woman come full-circle.
That's the best kind there is.
Angi Martin, The Village Journalist