I had a friend call me the other day and leave me a very serious message. Harper was born just a week ago this past Wednesday so she was calling to check in on me. This particular friend I hadn’t heard from in quite awhile, so while it was nice to hear from her, I felt her message too be too heavily laden with concern. Her message also lacked all signs of the congratulatory vocabulary one typically hears after they have a baby. In fact, she didn’t even say “Congratulations!” she simply said in a most serious voice, “I was just calling to see how you were doing?”
Although I was perplexed by the message my friend left, because it felt overly concerned, I wasn’t upset with her for leaving it. She is a mother herself and she is also well aware of how hard of a time I had after Rocky was born. When Rocky came home from the hospital, instead of rejoicing over my new baby with the family, I went straight upstairs and cried.
Looking back, it is clear that post-partum depression had me from the moment I gave birth to Raquel. It was unfortunate that I didn’t realize it until I had suffered and my family had suffered quite a bit.
Although I am much happier this time around and bringing home baby has been such a different experience, it hasn’t been easy peasy. I had some help from family members over the past week and now that they have all gone home I stressed over how I was going to do the simple day-to-day tasks with four little children. Time to sink or swim” I told myself.
Thursday marked the first day I was to take all four girls to drop-off Olivia and Georgia at school. I know I must have had a worried look on my face the whole time but I did it! When we arrived at Olivia’s classroom door it was nice to get a friendly embrace from Olivia’s kindergarten teacher. Perhaps it was the encouragement I needed to then head over to Georgia’s class. After both girls were safe inside their classrooms, Rocky, Harper, and I headed back to the car. As I drove away I felt super accomplished.
Life becomes really simple when you bring a new baby home. Simple meaning that there isn’t a lot of running around I can do right now. Breastfeeding every few hours (sometimes minutes) makes it impossible to even get off the couch at times. My butt hurts from sitting too much, my house isn’t as clean as I would like it, and embarrassingly enough, I completely caught up with the Kardashians.
A friend of mine, after a long battle with infertility, recently experienced the joy of becoming a mother for the first time by adopting a baby girl. I was thrilled to hear the news and called her immediately to congratulate her and tell her how excited I was for her family. She left me a message back and said, “I don’t really know what I’m doing but I’m just trying to keep her alive at this point”.
When I heard my friend’s message I laughed pretty hard. In its simplest of terms she hit the nail on the head for any new parent. Whether it is my first or my fourth, I related and feel as though my mantra this past week has been “just keep everyone alive.” I am really enjoying the new baby and I am amazed at my bigger girls who have stepped up into their big sister roles quite nicely.
Although, there is an increase in attention-seeking behavior for sure and a wee bit more shouting, for the most part, I think we are doing really well. Bottom line: I feel happy. I’d like to think that it is organized chaos in our home.
Here’s an example from this weekend: one minute the girls are yelling “Eww!” grossed out by Harper’s crusty umbilical cord, the next minute there is some heightened confusion and a rush of activity. We then see the crusty on the floor, and before I can pick it up, Maggie, the family dog is eating it, followed by even more “Ewws!” This kind of thing is typical. Fast-forward to today when we were running out the door late to school only to find the car battery was dead; time to load up the stroller mama. Yep, organized chaos, right.
We will eventually settle in to a routine that is easier and I know I will continue to be met with the daily highs and lows of life on life’s terms. In the meantime we are taking it one day at a time, taking all the help we can get, and trying really hard to enjoy the ride even when I’m pushing it up a hill.