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proof that I am in a better place

Anxiety is no mother’s friend. Even before my hormones and brain chemistry didn’t know what to do with themselves postpartum, I tended toward the worrisome. But then when a 7lb 11oz chunk of my heart came forth from my womb one day last July, I loomed on the edge of paralysis by fear.

Every cry, every squawk was crippling and made my world spin. Must. Fix. It. Now.

This tendency that became undeniable when OBaby came along began to seep into and effect other areas of my life. It began to change the wife, and woman, that I was.

I remember sitting in the rocking chair in OBaby’s nursery right before his nap time last February. I had nursed him to sleep and he was now cooing soundly in my arms. It had been this way for 5 minutes.

And then 10. What if he wakes up when I move? What if he won’t fall back asleep? Then it was 20 minutes. He would cry if I tried to lay him in his crib. I’m sure of it.

45 minutes. O, God. I can’t move. I have to go to the bathroom but if I moved the day would be ruined. Ruined.

An hour and a half. Now I’ve wasted so much time that I should have been doing the dishes and Dan is going to come home to a messy house and I haven’t even started dinner.

2 hours.

For two hours I sat, literally paralyzed by fear, nap after nap despite the fact that he was regularly sleeping well in his crib.

Who was this woman wearing my skin?

Last Monday was cool and rainy, a departure from the usual midwestern humid summer days, and OBaby had been cuddly all morning. We had warm oatmeal for breakfast together and then headed into his room to start his morning nap. We sat in the rocking chair again, but this time my mind was clear. He snuggled into my chest and his eye lids drooped.

I basked in the perfection of that moment, filled with joy and gratitude in place of fear and anxiety. Most days now I would have laid him peacefully in his crib, but this time I stayed there for 5 minutes.

And then 10. How could his cheeks be so impossibly soft? Can I stay here and stroke them forever? Then it was 20 minutes. I wish I could freeze this moment, this picture of his sleeping body in my arms, and keep it in my memory clear as day so that I can come back to it.

45 minutes. Lord, you are so good. So, so good. Thank you for this little blessing. He has taught me so much. You have taught me so much.

An hour and a half. There is nowhere in the world I would rather be right now than rocking in a quiet room kissing my sleeping baby’s head. Forget all the world, this is what motherhood is all about.

2 hours.

Two glorious hours, I sat so that I could hold my son and hear his sweet sleeping sounds. By the end I was in tears as the joy flowed over me and I was hit like a brick wall with the realization that this is who I am. This is me, this is my son, this is reality.

And it is so, so good.

43 Responses to “proof that I am in a better place”

  1. Megan@SortaCrunchy

    Hooray, Allison! You’ve made it! You have crossed that threshold from survival mode into mastery. These words, that moment . . . all evidence that you ARE in a better place, that sweet spot of confidence and appreciation. Enjoy it, mama!

    Reply
  2. Cara

    Precious. I had PPD after my middle child, and I totally know the feeling of “my day will be ruined” and being stuck. Literally stuck. I would hide from my oldest. I would hide from my baby (not that he could go find me)

    Thankfully I’m much better this time around with baby #3. I was so nervous about having to go through all that again. But the good news is that it doesn’t always reoccour! I have been fine – well maybe mostly fine – this time around, even without any meds. (Not that meds are bad. Meds are good, very good, if you need them that is. I’m just thankful I don’t need them right now.)

    Reply
  3. mama23bears

    i am so glad you are feeling better! i remember the day that i finally realized i wasn’t paralyzed by my anxiety.i remember it was a simple trip to the store and it should have been nap time. except we weren’t at home. and then the baby got very loud and crying while i dashed through wal-mart. except, i didn’t break a sweat! we made it just fine and it was the first day in a long time that i felt free.

    Reply
  4. Alissa

    I am getting to this better place, too. It’s not out of fear that I rock DD during naps, but out of the joys of her snuggles. To smell that beautiful blond head of hair, to hear her breathing– not the anxiety of a SCREAMING baby once I wake her up.

    Isn’t this a wonderful place to be?

    Reply
  5. Janelle

    That is beautiful! Thank you for sharing this. So glad you have had this transformation and are getting to truly enjoy motherhood. God IS good! I still get choked up when I think about how blessed I am with my boys. It is a beautiful thing…this motherhood thing.

    Reply
  6. Haley

    The juxtaposition of those two moments in time is powerful and beautiful. Praise be to God that he can turn our sorrow into laughter and dancing!

    Reply
  7. Mrs. Cline

    I read so many of your posts and I think “I. CANT. WAIT.”

    Really, I can’t wait. Please remind me of this when I’m tweeting at 3 am that I just want to sleep.

    Because I want this.

    Reply
  8. Amy G

    Thank you for the reminder to take in those precious moments. My kids are older now 9,8,and 4 and even then one needs to stop and realize their life and the impact and change they have made. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  9. Kelly @ Love Well

    I love this, Allison. I love that, outwardly, your actions were the same in both circumstances. But your inner world was vastly different. I’m deeply glad for you that you’ve out of the clouds.

    Reply
  10. Elizabeth

    i had a moment like that yesterday too. Joshua napped on me for 1 hour and instead of thinking of everything i needed to do, i just enjoyed watching him sleep. :)

    Reply
  11. Tiffany

    There is nothing like a sleeping babe. And, it sounds like his momma is doing SO much better. I am sure he could feel your love as he slept. xoxo

    Reply
  12. jen

    i love love LOVE this post. it’s so true.
    and it happens again with the second baby.
    and the third.
    except there is a little less of the anxious piece. (a little). and a lot more of the there-is-no-place-i’d-rather-be piece. (quite a lot. because you realize how fleeting it is.)

    Reply
  13. Erin

    This makes so much sense. I think that it’s normal for ANY mom to not want to put baby down and rock the boat when he’s sleeping… but where your post-partum came in was that you were crippled by the anxiety and fear of it, whereas, others aren’t.

    Reply
  14. Mungee's Ma

    This brings tears to my eyes. I have been there. I don’t want to go back. Hopefully you won’t have to either. Thank you!

    Reply
  15. Elizabeth (@claritychaos)

    Oh, Allison. This is beautiful and so true and authentic. I have been that first You, almost 7 years ago now. 25 years old, rocking my first baby, dealing with very similar anxieties. And then that second You — yes, I know her, too. It is a beautiful thing to be able to take those two hours to just be there, in that place, that time, experiencing those moments and that exact stage in your baby son’s life. Not two hours wasted, by any stretch. I have done that many-a-time, but I don’t get to as often anymore — with three kids there’s not often the chance. But, oh, do I take it when it presents itself.

    Beautiful post, Allison. I’m so happy to hear that you are in such a good place. That first year of motherhood is like no other. I look back to it a lot, wishing I could go give that younger me a big hug. So I’ll send one your way. ((hug))

    -elizabeth

    Reply
  16. Erin

    This made me cry. So beautiful. It is great to read you are doing better, and everything you write about the “How can this be reality it is so good?”/ thanking the Lord for it is very much where I am. The other evening I nursed my son to sleep in our bed, and I was so reluctant to put him in his crib because I just wanted to watch him sleep and bask in the moment of him being a baby. I know those days of babyhood are numbered!

    Reply

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