I’m writing you a love letter, of sorts. Something for you to tuck away and read when you need a reminder of solidarity – weather it be in middle of the night when others are sleeping or almost frantically between sips of coffee in the morning.
What a thrilling time in your life! A time that few other experiences will rival, I’m sure. All of the physical and emotional transformational, juicy stuff that happens over the next few months is incredible. But also – based on my experience, at least – melancholy. I didn’t expect the lingering, passive sadness to be part of the program…
Yes, I knew about baby blues and the influx of hormones dancing around inside of me but adjusting to being a new mom in a pandemic? There wasn’t a medical term that I was aware of for that.
When your littlest love arrives, your life is brand new. You world is colored in never-seen-before hues. Most of the time it is a gorgeous view: a love truer and move divine than ever seen before. But even with that impenetrable love, some days feel never-ending. Little sleep. Mounting stress. All of the oxytocin in the world can’t prepare for the abrupt pivot being a parent brings, particularly during such an isolating time; when family is supposed to be near but, to keep everyone safe, they have to stay far.
Many of us know the mantra, we can do hard things. Which we can. But I found it important to add on to it. We can do hard things and we can do new things. Everything is so damn new, isn’t it? A new little roommate (who might not be a great sleeper). New expectations of visits (through windows instead of huddled close on couches). A new life. A new person. A new world. In my opinion, new is almost more difficult than hard. We can conquer both though. New things. Hard things.
Pandemic or not, parenting is a reckoning and there is no room for righteousness…
Truth be told, I was smug when breastfeeding came easy to me. I wore the Exclusively Breastfed badge with great, inflated honor. After all, breast is best, right? Right… Until your supply takes a dip and your baby has decides breast is best and formula is a no-no. No negotiating. No recall.
I already said it but it bears repeating; there isn’t room for righteousness in parenting. Whatever works for you and your family is best. Remember that. Don’t get caught up in any silly pride game. If I could go back, I would have found a good quality formula from the beginning and introduced it early on; if only for the flexibility it would later allow me. Of course, you will have your own “if I could go back…” tales to share one day soon too. We all do.
Although, ours will be a bit different than others, won’t they? We are still in a pandemic. And I still don’t know if there is a medical term for becoming a mom during a global crisis but it is a particularly interesting time for such a transition…
I am certain this experience is far from how you envisioned it would be. Family and friends can’t come over to visit or help or hug or meet your baby. Confetti can’t be tossed and cupcakes can’t be shared. I’ve learned though, this is no reason to believe you and your baby won’t be celebrated. You will be! It looks very different than what was expected but the love is still overflowing for you. The support is still there, albeit likely virtual and not physical.
We can feel light and joy from miles away. I’m sending it to you right now! Can you feel it? This time is new and hard and exciting and scary. It might feel impossible to stay bright but a perspective that has helped me is to remember that every baby cuddle that is missed with a loved one, is another one that I get to treasure.
The pandemic will eventually end. And the second that it is safe to, I can’t wait to meet your little one and for you to meet mine. We’re in this together; even if we have to be apart.
It’s a new year. We can do new things.