I was too exhausted to soak up the newborn stage with our twins. To be completely honest, I didn’t feel the insane amount of joy that others experienced during the infant stage, and I still feel the yuckiness of that.
Delivering my twins was the end of a month-long hospital stay on complete bed rest. I just wanted to get home, to my own bed, to my own life.
When we were discharged from the hospital, WOW, did life begin.
I did not have just one baby to care for, I had two. I should have felt like the luckiest woman alive after the hell that was my previous year’s miscarriage.
It almost didn’t seem fair. I just wanted to soak my babies in and give them everything I knew I would and could before I actually became a mother.
Twelve months later, the difficult newborn period began again for us with the birth of our youngest.
Fast forward to these days, I get flashes of smiles, the sounds of bickering, and long tantrums. Sometimes, if I’m lucky, in the last minutes before bedtime, I’ll get an “I love you, mommy.”
Motherhood still feels a bit flighty, like I’m just a feather blowing in the breeze. I wonder if it will always be this way?
It’s the constant feeling of being half alive and so alive simultaneously. I’m physically here and mentally somewhere else, all at the same time. I’m walking along somewhere in the maze of motherhood with the mental heaviness of it all.
I often think back to the days of three babies under thirteen months, two one-year-olds, and a newborn baby (toss in my broken elbow too). The overwhelmingness and juggling of it were so much. I just wanted to take care of my babies but had to constantly rely on others for help. While I am forever grateful for it, it’s a feeling I’ve always found so difficult to explain.
I felt like anything but a great mother at the time. I felt postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety sneak back up on me in the first month of life with our youngest. My eyes could leak at any moment.
Looking back, I visualize the sheer state of me, a physical and mental shadow in my mind. But to others, I shone.
Most mothers, especially those of newborns, have courageous spirits, gentle strength, and subtle confidence, all overwhelmed with a loud stillness.
Some days I felt like Superwoman, and some days I felt like I needed my own Superwoman to save me.
I think back to the many moments I thought were for them, my babies. The moments where I held them close and hugged them tightly. But, now I see they were for me too. I needed them; my aching (physically and mentally) body pleaded for them.
I think back to my deliveries, my breastfeeding and bottle feeding journeys, the tiny fingers and hands grabbing for me, someone constantly on me, my husband wanting a simple kiss when he got home, but me not wanting anyone to touch me for a second.
I smile now because I get it. They needed me— all of them. Yet, my heart hurts at the thought of them needing me less and less these days.
I think back to the baby food, thousands of bottles, jugs of pre-made formula filling the top shelf of our fridge, the mess, the many things I mastered around the home with one hand.
I remember my biggest achievement some days was simply getting out of the door in one piece, less than 30 minutes late. I’ve made peace with that and honestly, it’s still a big accomplishment for us these days.
I remember trying to explain to my husband just how drained I was after a rough day at home. I felt like the words that came out never truly did justice to how I was feeling. The words would not align the way I needed them to so I covered it with a smile like I wasn’t hurting.
The days of newborn motherhood felt like the movie Groundhog Day, but now I see each of those days was original.
To our girls, they were all new days with so much to discover.
Their minds, their worlds, and their hearts were expanding at a rapid rate.
Did I miss all of this beautiful magic unfolding before my eyes?
Did I miss those special moments through my mental fog?
I’d lay in bed at night feeling as if I was drowning. I’d tell myself and my husband, “I don’t think I can do this.”
But, I was doing it.
I wasn’t drowning. I was slowly coming up for air, each day a little more than the last.
I was building my life as a mother. I was morphing into the version of me that my children needed me to be, exactly how my family needed me to be.
Perhaps you’ll think back on those days like me, or maybe you’re in the thick of it right now.