Thursday, June 3, 2021

Four Months: Out of the Fog

Sometimes the timing of things is surprisingly perfect.  As we finally emerge from the fog of what the past four months have been as new parents, nationwide restrictions regarding COVID-19 are beginning to lift.  Now that Zoe's actually interested in meeting people, we have the privilege of introducing her to family members, friends, and neighbors with masks off.  Also, I finally feel like I actually have the energy and motivation to go out and be social rather than having visitors come to us.  It's interesting to think about how much we've been through over the course of the pandemic in terms of growing our family.  I can't believe that I was getting tested for infertility at the beginning of the shutdowns, going to appointments at the height of infections, celebrating holidays quietly at home with a big belly bump, and delivering the baby as vaccinations started to roll out.  It's been a long, anxiety-ridden road leading up to this point.  For the first time since Zoe was born, I've had the mental space and time to take it all in and breathe a sigh of relief.  It's just been so fast-paced since her birthday, that I have not actually thought about the past very much until now.  I'm so grateful that it all worked out in the end.  Zoe is no longer just a figment of our imaginations--she's a real-live baby in the flesh, and she is absolutely perfect.  We were just discussing that we can't imagine having a different baby, and we didn't know it then, but she was the one who we were waiting for.

Sometimes the idea of being an actual parent is still so foreign, even though it's been the new normal.  Zoe grows and changes so quickly that we can barely even settle into a routine before it's time to refigure again.  It feels like we're always trying to keep up, always on survival mode!  But there are days that she fits into our lives more seamlessly than we would have expected, and these days are becoming more common now.  Over this past week, I dropped into a few teletherapy sessions to say hello to the kids and parents who I was working with prior to going on maternity leave.  They were so happy to see me and Zoe, and I really missed them all.  It was so great to see their familiar faces and hear their voices through the computer, but instead of being their therapist, I was a visitor holding a baby in my arms.  I found myself fumbling my way through the questions they asked me, "How does it feel to be a mom?", "How is the baby doing?", "Is it fun?"  There is no way that I could sum up everything that I have been feeling in a single response for the open-ended questions, and the yes-no questions could be answered with, "Yes, and no."  Luckily, the mothers on the other side of the screen would nod knowingly in agreement when I made unfiltered remarks like, "It's been so hard!", "I'm a totally different person now!", "I'm ready to go back to work!", "It's not always fun."  I've found that when talking to other moms, I simply do not need to explain.  I feel seen and understood, and this new sort of connection to other women is one that I treasure very much now.

I've learned and accepted that motherhood is full of contradictions.  While I may feel extra grateful at a certain moment, I may be grieving the life that I had lost in the next.  I am not sure if this ambivalence will fade as time goes on, but I believe that it is normal and human to feel torn like this.  It's important as a mom to own these bipolar emotions and know that it's okay to not feel grateful all of the time, despite the hardship I endured to get here.  I wasn't expecting to have so many negative feelings in the beginning (more on those in previous blog posts), but the more I hear from other moms, the more I am realizing that it's like that for everybody.  "Isn't this what you wanted?" is something that Wes said to me one time during a postpartum argument (he knows now not to say that anymore!).  I struggled with immense guilt and bubbling anger as I tried to respond honestly.  Yes, and no.  

Right now, as Zoe sleeps in the next room, I am sitting in front of the keyboard and letting the whole past year sink in.  Our dream to have a child has indeed become our reality.  Zoe is a healthy, exceedingly rotund 4-month-old, with a BMI score in the 73rd percentile (12 pounds 13 ounces and just over 22 inches long, with a head circumference of 15.75 inches!).  She's made up almost entirely of rolls upon rolls of baby fat--I mean, she barely has a neck, wrists, elbows, or a waist.  Her hair is so long and luscious, and it glows light brown in the sun like mine.  She's also starting to look much more girly, though neighbors still think that she's a boy every so often, especially when she has her stunna shades on.  Her voice is clear and no longer raspy, her grip is accurate and no longer groping, her smile is purposeful and no longer incidental.  She clearly shows enjoyment, worry, annoyance, distraction, and persistence.  She sure has a mind of her own, but she is still learning how things work.  She also seems to like interacting with other people, looking at picture books, and watching trees go by from her stroller.  With all that she is going through and wanting to experience, it's no wonder she has been having trouble sleeping!  I can't believe we are a third of the way to one year old.

Wes has made some upgrades to the nursery this month to account for the fact that Zoe is sleeping in there every night on her own now.  Seeing her empty bassinet by our bed is very bittersweet, but also a relief that we don't have to tiptoe into our own bedroom at the end of each day.  He's installed a Smart ceiling fan and some permanent black-out blinds.  We're also waiting on a long footstool to arrive from Etsy because the crib wall is too high for this short mom.  Basically, he's in charge of all of that practical environmental stuff while I'm sitting here ordering hair bows, new toys, and cute onesies!  We also got a hiking backpack baby carrier--exciting times are coming.  Zoe, you have no idea what this world is made of!

1 comment:

  1. 四個月大的妳也愛啃雞腿,有時候還一次啃兩隻 :)