Yesterday we celebrated Leif’s first birthday! And as cliche as it sounds, I really can not believe how fast the year went by. I once heard someone say that when you have children, the days go by so slowly but the years fly by. I feel like our days go so quickly as well!
This year really has taught me more about love than I could have ever imagined. There are places in my heart I did not know existed before bringing Leif into the world. His existence has altered my understanding of love, pain, and joy more than any other experience in the world. While the year went quickly, it also feels like I’ve know him forever.
My ideas about life after giving birth have been shattered in so many ways. From a birth that did not go exactly as planned to a recovery that has taken a lot longer than expected, this year has taught me so much about letting go of expectations for myself. A year postpartum, my hips are all sorts of wonky (this is my term, the PT made it much more scientific), my vagina is tight in all the wrong places, and my foot still aches after a long day (which I now attribute to my wonky hips). I’m not running and not doing the circuit class that normally keeps me going strong. I’m now seeing a PT, chiropractor, and massage therapist to get my body straightened out. I was so thankful this week when both the massage therapist (who was new to me) and the PT commented on my athletic body–I really am feeling like a blobby broken down old lady (and the massage therapist asked me if I am still in school!!! yeah! She thought I was in my early 20’s–or she was trying for a bigger tip!).
Something interesting happened last night though that really brought me back to my body. Everyone was asleep and I had FINALLY settled Leif down after a day of family and birthday celebrating. I got up to use the loo, and for the first time since my postpartum bleeding stopped, there was a bit of blood. Now, I’m not particularly anxious to start menstruating again but I thought it was amazing that of any day, the 1 year anniversary of birth was the day my body would let a little out. It was like a beautiful reminder from my body, nature, the powers that be of the blood, screaming, fear, excitement, wrenching, universe altering joy I experienced on March 8, 2013. It was truly as though I was being told, “Look Girl, you brought new life into this world. It was the most painful and exhausting experience of your life (and you are no stranger to painful and exhausting things). Your body literally opened up and ushered a new human into existance. Its okay that you’re not exactly where you wanted to be. Just be. Be right here.”
And so here I am. With a TODDLER. He still thinks I’m the greatest thing in the world. He still lays slobbery kisses on me, wants to snuggle all night long, and loves to look into my eyes while he nurses. This moment will not last forever. One day he won’t need me anymore. He’ll be busy pursuing life and my body will be (mostly) healed and I can run run run. I’ll have all the time in the world without a baby on my breast or a diaper to change. So I’m just going to be right here.