The last few weeks have been everything that makes up life, literally. I have experienced the full gamut of human emotions and experiences…. I was having a fully healthy pregnancy until I was diagnosed with a liver condition that could put the baby’s life at risk requiring an urgent induction and leading to my little pumpkin arriving 3 weeks early. Both of us are healthy, happy, back home and adjusting to our new worlds.
My first week back home was the most exhausting week I have ever experienced with sleep deprivation at levels I had never experienced in the past, not even with my first born. Even though my labor and delivery was relatively easy, my body was still healing and aches and pains existed in all parts of my body. The next few weeks have been progressively better but I am still exhausted and sleep deprived. Breastfeeding has been physically painful for me with both my kids. With my first one, I’d often say that breastfeeding is physically harder than labor (who knew!!!) Yes, sometimes tears flow out for no real reason and for a planner like me, having such little control on my schedule (again!!) can definitely be exhausting. I can snap at Sumit and say mean things that truly make me sad, how could I say that (Ughhh again). Perhaps, the hardest part for me is letting baby’s needs always (almost) trump big brother’s needs. It’s not guilt or remorse but sadness that stems out of a mother’s heart, what I call love.
With all of these challenges and struggles that are real and all consuming, there have been a million and more joyous moments for which I am so incredibly grateful. Having my mom and Sumit by my side literally attending to every possible need to the best of their ability is one of best gifts I can ask for. An incredibly understanding toddler who has big fat hugs and kisses for his baby brother truly make my heart full. A healthy baby who loves to eat and is growing well is perhaps the best gift of all. True friends and family members who are there to support me in ways that matter most whether it’s a phone call, a home cooked meal. My recovery has been smooth and we have been out and about with many adventures to parks, farms, and everything that makes our family smile. I have been able to prioritize self care with lots of simple and indulgent treats that are nurturing both my body and mind – massages, mom’s wellness groups, books, soulful conversations – Am I really a new mom, #supergrateful?
For me, parts of new motherhood is incredibly hard, exhausting, all-consuming, physically painful and emotionally draining. And there are so, so many parts that fill up my heart and soul in no other ways. I am really enjoying my maternity leave and feel incredibly grateful to enjoy my baby, my family and also nurture my own soul, sit at Starbucks and write this post even though I woke up 4 times last night and don’t think I got more than a few hours of sleep (I have stopped keeping track at this point). Thank God for word and its spell check features else reading this post would have been a fun challenge:-)
And I believe such is my life – this beautiful juxtaposition of opposites. There is almost nothing that I love and enjoy that also tires, exhausts and brings aches and pains, literally or metaphorically. And, the meaning of life is to continue to cherish those joyful moments while still holding space for the dark pieces without losing perspective and empathy for all of those who may not have the luxury and comforts that I do – Mothers for whom motherhood can be exponentially more challenging in a myriad of ways. A part of me wishes that I could sleep through the night soon, maybe tonight and then I have to remind myself what a privilege and honor it is to be able to make food for another human, hold him close to my heart with so much love, and watch his contentment as he feels secure and nourished. This will only last for so long, these unparalleled intimate moments and yes, the sleep deprivation, both.