Wednesday, May 18, 2011

(2 Karats and a Kid) Post-partum Limbo

Mommy-ism #9:  Yes, you've changed and that's okay.  Over the course of 40 weeks, your belly expanded, your behind and hips spread, even your nose got bigger.  So no, you're not the same you, you've changed and that's okay.  Be willing to adjust and trust that you will figure out your new lifestyle along the way.

It was supposed to be a good day.  In fact, it was supposed to be a GREAT day.  After two months of weekly doctors’ appointments, weigh-ins, monthly echocardiograms, sleepless nights, sore boobs, non-stop cleaning, and uncontrollable hot-flashes, my husband suggested that I enjoy a shopping day to myself while he watched the baby.

All week I had planned for my shopping day, so I began to pump 5 days beforehand just to ensure that there would be plenty of milk on hand while I was out.  Finally, the day for my “day off”came and I was excited…or so I thought.

Prior to having a child, all you would have had to say were the words “shopping” and “all day” and I would’ve lost my mind.  I would have stayed up all night the evening before counting the hours until the stores opened.  Before my husband had time to roll over in the morning and ask me for a kiss, a cup of coffee, or a biscuit – I would have been out of the house, speeding down the expressway and on my way downtown to make my way to the GLORIOUSness that awaited me at the nearest mall.

But to my surprise, when the sun came up the next morning, I wasn’t at the mall doors waiting for them to open.  In fact, by two o’clock in the afternoon, I was still in the house washing dishes and cleaning up.  It wasn’t until the sun began to go down that my husband turned to me and said, “Can I go out with the guys to watch the game since you aren’t going out?”  With those words, I stopped what I was doing, washed my face, threw on some jogging pants, and ran out the house.

Downtown, there were people walking around everywhere doing their Christmas shopping.  Normally, the site of Christmas windows, carolers, and families would be enough to make me happy.  Yet, as I got out of my car and walked through the crowds towards the stores, my mind kept racing with the same thoughts, over and over again.

“I’ve been wearing maternity clothes for so long, I don’t even know what I LIKE to wear anymore.”

“What type of shirts are going to fit over these HUGE hooters?”

“I still look like I am about 5 months pregnant, what the heck and I going to find that will mask the invisible baby that’s still in my stomach?”

Suddenly I realized the physically and emotionally and in every way in between, I had changed and worst of all, I didn’t have the slightest idea of what these changes meant for how I viewed myself.

When I looked in the mirror in the dressing room, I didn’t see the happy, energetic girl I once viewed myself to be.  Instead, as I stared into the mirror, a sleep deprived, mentally dull person who was badly in need of something that I couldn't articulate.  I had spent the past 10 months and eight weeks going through a metamorphosis of sorts only to find myself half naked in a department store about to hyperventilate because I couldn’t choose between an ugly brown sweater over a less-ugly but horribly colored red sweater. 

At that moment I heard the warnings of my mother and the cautioning of so many other older women who have told me, “Don’t lose yourself”, “Don’t forget what makes you happy."   Yet, somehow in a  short span of time, their words came alive like an apparition of what's to come.

So there began the beginning of my journey of trying to hold on to the little pieces of “me” that bring joy, peace, and happiness without completely screwing up the other facets of my life that I hold just as dear.  Being a mother, a wife, a working woman is a fine balancing act that can be maintained by no creature on this earth other than a woman.  Yet, like putting breastmilk in a martini glass, in order to maintain some sense of sanity, I have to choose "me" as much as I choose my family, my friends, and my job.  More challengingly, I have to let go of my previous ideas of how to be a perfect wife/mother/friend/worker/sister/hostess/sexkitten/domesticgoddess and simply do the best with what I’ve got and trust that everything else that doesn’t get done will work itself out.

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