Monday, March 31, 2008

perspective

I was sitting in the waiting room at the doctor's office today when a couple came in with their little boy and brand new baby girl. It was hard not to stare: The dad was tall and handsome; the little boy had these adorable curls, and the baby - SO cute in her little yellow pj's (size 0-3 months, no doubt). The mom was very pretty, too, in a Molly Ringwald sort of way - or at least I'm sure she was underneath the massive eye bags and cloud of utter exhaustion that hung over her.

Now that my own kids are school-aged, I look upon new mothers with the compassion of someone who has been through that particular war zone and survived (even if it sometimes felt like the survival was the "just barely" kind). Because while it is obviously beyond awesome to hold that new little life in your arms and nourish it with your body, new motherhood can also (in my experience and the experience of countless women I've known) be an incredibly lonely and sometimes scary place. The sense of responsibility you feel is enormous - which would be unsettling enough if you were well-rested. Add sleeplessness and all the attendant tension and hormones into the mix, and the situation can spiral downward quickly. And while I never experienced clinical post-partum depression, my hat is absolutely off to any woman who does.

Why am I blogging about this? I don't know exactly, other than I guess I realized today that I have the sort of perspective on the care and feeding of babies that I didn't think I'd ever have when I had babies of my own. Perspective is goooood. It made me want to sit down next to that new mom in the waiting room and tell her, "It won't always be like this. It will get better. You will get your life back. It may not ever be quite the same, and it will come back in increments, but it will come back. And when it does your heart will swell in compassion at the sight of an exhausted new mother, because by that time you will proudly wear the badge of someone who has been through that particular war zone and survived."

Of course, I didn't sit down next to her and say that, because the look in her eyes told me she might bite my head off in one clean snap if I did. That's probably the same reason no one ever told me. It's okay, though. I discovered it when the time was right.

1 comment:

  1. I DO love your blogs! I wish that I could think of great (at least, good!) things to write about at my blog.

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