I knew this was coming. I could feel it in my busy little bones. When a new baby enters into the world, the entire pace changes. Let me clarify : the pace changes for the mom, but the hard part is it often does not change for the rest of the family. This leaves the mama feeling a step behind on almost everything – late to school drop offs because of miscalculating the time it’ll take to load that one extra child, leaving crusty dishes in the sink and unswept crumbs on the floor. I would be withholding information if I did not disclose that we are currently living out of a closet that is also known as our dryer. When my daughter runs in looking for an item, my response is typically “Look in the laundry hamper!” My husband jokes by the time I get around to it, it’s the texture of paper mache.
Newborns have few demands, but the ones they have require immediate and constant response. As a postpartum mother, your body has undergone the majority of an entire year riding the waves of hormone fluctuations, the literal stretching of your body, and then the life-changing and Olympic act of birthing them into the world. One minute they’re one inside of your body and the next they are on the outside. And even though 1 become 2, it still take awhile for your body to feel yours again. It takes awhile for your mind to settle into the reality of the change, the forever kind of change.
But back to the time, the pace, the rhythm that shifts once you shift from prenatal to postpartum. I’m a doer. I often will not ask for someone to help me because I figure by the time I ask and explain, I could’ve already done it. So I just do it on my own. I rarely sit down and I even have a hard time watching movies because that requires me to be still and engaged for well over an hour and well, who has time for that! I used to not be this way but motherhood brought it out in me like never before. I now have become that person that (embarrassingly) admits that I sometimes add items to my to-do list that have already been completed just so I can allow myself the simple delight of adding that check mark to the left of it (or line through it – whichever method you prefer).
I also love to create and then use those creations to serve others. Now here’s the part that has unearthed itself and shocked me most. I feel like if I’m REALLY honest, I’ll confess that I’ve often patted myself on the back for that. It feels good to ME to give and harder yet to receive. In this particular season, I find I’m still trying to give to the outside world at the same capacity I did before and the main people who suffer here are the people within the walls of my own home. My rations are a bit short now and I have to be careful with where I store them. I always tell other moms that are lamenting over feeling overcommitted that their first call is to their very own “little church”…and “don’t feel bad cutting your calendar to preserve that! It’s most important!” I can now feel this same message trying to land on my own heart.
The cure for all of this? Well it certainly isn’t a one-time fix as this is a well that water is pulled out of daily. It is the disciplined practice of moving in the direction I want to go.
This looks a lot less like studying the enneagram just a little more to understand the “why” behind my acts or trying to plow through the long days and a whole lot more like taking your sleeping baby upstairs to the rocking chair.
Sitting down and looking at his face.
Listening to his heavy sighs and watching the rise and fall of his chest, allowing the comfort of it to wrap up around you like a cozy blanket on a chilly winter day.
It’s choosing to open a window and listen to leaves rustle in the wind instead of turning on the radio and welcoming more input.
Each step you take to lay down the doing brings you that much closer to the BEING.
The art of being connects you deep places in your soul that are often running dry without you even realizing it. It allows you the time and space to truly see what’s right in front of you and be present for your own life. Engaging in these things fill our cups right back to the brim again, allowing us to pour out and invest in others once more, giving us the reserves so we can be the caregivers we wanted to be all along.
So today I’m leaning into my new rhythm. I’m leaving the tasks and trading them in for moments of rest and reprieve. Tomorrow I’ll wake up and preach this to myself all over again and ask willing friends and family to encourage me as I do.
I will accept the challenge of calming my restless heart and laying down my compulsion to do, trusting that God promises to work while I rest.
I can find comfort in the fact that even the very God of the universe took a full day of rest after He created our world, so surely this girl and her humanness would require the same.
Read my other postpartum updates: