From ‘round the clock feedings to pumping in a tiny room at work and stressing, not just about whether you’ll have enough milk that day because you missed your lunchtime session for another meeting, but simply over how you and your little one are feeling.
So what do I now do when moms ask me: I answer honestly. Though my daughter was with my mom for her entire first year after I went back to work, it was still grueling. I say that it was really tough for me, personally, but that you find your swing. I say that every time and person is probably different. And I say that it’s amazing watching them have a life of their own — separate from you and home — that they go to every day. I say that they come home with stories, and crafts, friends to talk about, and new ideas to share. And, lastly, I say, there is something to having them see you with something to go to as well. ⠀⠀⠀
Of course, I didn’t tell her that I cried nearly every single day, or that my stomach and heart felt like a pit as I dropped her off each day and prepared to do it all again at night.
My husband and I have talked about this topic and parenting’s evolvement at length. He says it’s great to let moms know they’re not alone in how they feel, and that if more moms were openly honest, maybe it would be a little different. I realize I was lucky to get good leave options at all, just as much as I remember how many moms told me they “felt normal” again after six weeks. I can honestly say it took me closer to a year, and some big life changes, before that happened.
And I think with this next baby, I’ll again have days where I’m still getting there. But maybe less. And that is my normal.
We grow with them. We grow, I believe, the entire time.