I Don’t Mean It

He cries in the dark for the third time since I attempted to fall asleep. My exhausted body sits up to settle him back down as I think, “I am never doing this again.” But as the sun rises on another day and my eyes focus to see that sweet face smiling back at me, I know I would do it over again in a heartbeat one day.

I shuffle through the clothes in my closet, struggling to find something that will fit my new postpartum body. Most items hug my new hips a little too tightly or don’t fully cover the belly that still looks five months pregnant. I squeeze the squishy flesh and say, “I am never doing this again” as I think about the Diastasis Recti that I need to fix and the twenty pounds that won’t budge while I breastfeed. But then he locks eyes with me while nursing and the oxytocin fills my body with pure love, and I know that I don’t mean it.

I see pictures of friends going on dates with their husbands and doing amazing projects with their older children and I think about everything I am missing because this little baby weighs me down. I tell myself I am ready to move on to a new phase of life. And then I catch my older children hugging the baby as if he is the most precious gift they have ever been given and I know I would give them more gifts like him if I could.

This is nearly five months postpartum for me – a mix of emotion and continued physical healing. We’ve convinced mothers that once you get the ok at that 6-8 week postpartum appointment life should go back to normal, but it doesn’t. The postpartum period lasts months as our bodies recover from the physical trauma and emotional rollercoaster of hormones. I certainly don’t feel back to normal yet at all.

But despite the work that still needs done to heal my body, I know I would do it all over again in a heartbeat one day in the future. Even on the worst days when I am exhausted and overstretched, it just takes one little sniff of his head to remember why this sacrifice is worth it – why mothers willingly pick up this cross every day and drag it to wherever our babies need us to go. My flesh may be weak, but my love is much stronger.

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