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.
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.
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.