Tuesday, January 20

Reflections on Recovery

The first year after having a baby has traditionally been very difficult on me.  Mentally and emotionally only, I feel so very blessed that I've never had to deal with a painful physical recovery.  This is no secret- I'll openly talk with anyone about it because I want to help dispel the idea that postpartum baby blues or depression is something to be ashamed of.  It's not.

As I looked at the calendar and  planned for Caeli's first birthday, I couldn't help but be emotional and reflective.  That time last year I was SO done with being pregnant.  Overdue, tired, probably a bit grumpy, emotional, and full.  Full of child, full of anticipation, and full of excitement- would this baby be a boy or girl?  Who would s/he be?  What name would we give this child, our fourth to be born into our arms?  What would my birth be like- would I have an unplanned home birth?!

She eventually came... She had to one way or another, right?  Almost two long weeks past her due date.  I had to wait for one of the best gifts I've ever been given, this child who is so full of joy.  Full of smiles and happy squeals.  Full of love as she learns how to give us kisses.

She's been the easiest of my babies and I thank God for that.  This recovery has been the easiest for me, due to a combination of factors I think.  She's a much better sleeper than her older siblings, so I'm much better rested.  And I think the fact that she's my fourth baby has helped me relax and let go of the little things that have worried me in the past.  I also encapsulated my placenta this time and I can tell (in several ways) that this has affected my hormones in a good way!  She's helped me heal and she's helped me become a better mother to her siblings.  She is such a gift!

So now, almost a year later, what's different?  Our family feels right.  I won't say our family is complete- only God knows the plan for us- but for now it feels good.  But on the other hand, I can't imagine never being pregnant again!  Despite the aches and pains, it's the only time I truly feel comfortable in my own skin, maybe because I'm knitting a person together within my own body.   I don't have to worry about sucking in my tummy or if I have acne because... pregnancy.  I'm not expected to be perfect.

I'm scared and intimidated at the idea of "getting in shape" again.  I've been working out off and on since last March and have very little progress to show for it.  I desperately want to feel good about my body- I want to feel strong- but I just don't have the time now to do it.  And I hate that.  I hate that I can't manage to prioritize something that should be so important.

Despite feeling SO much better this year than after previous deliveries, I'm still not quite back to "me" yet.  I'm still not at my ideal body shape, I'm still neglecting things that were previously important to me, and I'm still feeling very overwhelmed on some days.  Like everything is okay and I'm sort of doing a good job at this mothering thing and then... someone breaks a glass in the kitchen and my heart just drops. And the afternoon of sewing and beautiful childhood I had planned is swept away by the trappings of real life and a now-grumpy mama.

I'm just doing it though, moment by moment.  Waiting to see what God reveals as His plan for our family, but enjoying these days as much as I can (some days more than others).  He's already proven to me that each child is different, each experience is different, and that as much as I try to control the situation, He's going to allow the best things for us to happen.  Jesus, I trust in You.

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