I’ll never forget that day. That moment. I was sitting at the dining room table in my robe and nursing gown. It’s the wardrobe I lived in that first few weeks of my firstborn’s life. My boobs were throbbing, my body exhausted, my brain overwhelmed. And my new baby, crying from Grandma’s arms in the next room, was needing me again.
Life as I’d known it was over. I wasn’t sure how much more of this new livelihood (or maybe death-ly-hood – to self, that is) I could handle.
“I just wanna like… check out of life for a while.”
My husband was floored. How could I say such a thing?
He didn’t get it. How could he? It wasn’t he whose every waking (and sleeping) minute was being controlled by a helpless human being.
I was miserable. And in that moment, what hurt even more than my cracked nipple was the complete draining of myself.
My life was no longer my own, and there was no foreseeable way out of this new and not-so-euphoric existence.
When my mom was set to leave a couple weeks later, sheer fear of the self-sufficiency that must set in mingled with the scary reality that this was my life now.
I had no idea what I was doing – or how I was going to do it – or why I should want to.
At the job I was leaving behind, I knew the procedures and performed them well. And on the other side of my effort was recognition and praise.
In this new role, the most proof of a job well-done was the dirty diaper that came with each painful feeding.
Nobody saw me wash the poop-stained laundry. Nobody noticed when I cleared the counters before rushing to join my sleeping baby for a desperate nap.
I just did what I had to do, thankless as it was, and gradually, I began to own the new life I had momentarily wanted leave from.
Less than four years later, I left the hospital a well-adjusted mother of two plus twins.
Onlookers would see me with my four under four and wonder at just how difficult the transition from two kids to four must have been.
My truthful answer? It was nothing. Nothing could have been harder for me than becoming a mom had been.
Learning to be a mom (not just how to mother) – to live for someone other than myself – to exist for someone else’s existence – was the toughest transition of my life.
But I made it through. And my life is fuller now than it ever could have been before motherhood emptied me.
You’ll make it through, weary mom. Don’t check out now. You die to yourself daily that another may live. There is no better place to pour yourself out than into the life of the little one who needs you… again.