Each time I birth a baby, I feel incredible pressure from friends and family to get back to my regular life. When will I stop going to bed early? When will I travel again? When will I get a sitter and go out? When will I lose the last ten pounds and fit into my jeans? Basically, when will I go back to being who I once was?
With my first child, I tried so hard to bounce back quickly. I didn’t want people to see that I was struggling, and I had a hard time setting boundaries. I took on too much too soon, and I paid a heavy price physically and mentally.
This time around, I feel the pressure, and I feel guilt. I also feel the extra ten pounds when I try to squeeze into my shorts that still will not fit. I want to be back to my old routines, and my old weight. I feel like I am letting people down when they bring up what life was like before the new baby or when they glance at my midsection curious as to why I lost the weight much more quickly with my first.
This time around, though, I know better. I know it takes time to bounce back. I know that I will bounce back. I also know that these first few months with a newborn are challenging and draining and that what my family and I need most is a calm home environment and togetherness. Most of all, my newborn needs me. Life around me continues to move swiftly, but life in my home pauses for a period. In many ways, it is a holy period, a sacred time of learning to love and live with a new little person. This time around, I am embracing the pause, I am breathing in the simple moments, and I am cherishing this season in my heart.
Babies are only little for so long, and that so long is fleeting. So yes, one day I’ll put on my size six jeans, arrange for a babysitter, travel to Europe, and spend my nights walking the streets in Lucerne or dancing beneath the stars in Venice. I’ll stay up late to see the newest Marvel movie in theaters with my best friends, and I’ll join a sports league to get some exercise and burn off this baby weight.
In the meantime, I am going to nurse my new baby to sleep. I am going to kiss his sweet head, smile back at him when snugging him into his swaddle blanket, and whisper how very much I love him. Because one day he won’t need me to swaddle him up, read him a book, or sing him a song in order to drift off to sleep. He won’t need me, because he had me, and these memories we are making matter more to me than almost anything else could.
Bouncing back from birth is overrated. It’s much more fulfilling to bounce around a house with little people who don’t care about your weight or what life was like before they were born. With the birth of each baby is the birth of a new relationship and a new journey into motherhood. What joy this brings. So, I’ll see you all in a few months. Right now, I’m off to bounce with my baby.