Motherhood Chronicles

Chronicles of Motherhood: The simplicity of survival

“Remember, you’re all in survival mode,” a kind nurse addressed our blood shot eyes, rumpled clothes, and tiny newborn, licking his lips as a syringe full of colostrum trickled into his mouth. It was obvious to me that little one’s needs would be the most basic for sustaining human life- sleep, food, connection.

What I didn’t realize before was that we were all in the same boat, our wants and needs simplified to that of a newborn. 

The hours, days, and weeks following our discharge from the hospital and Noah’s arrival on this side of life, have been a kaleidoscope of emotions and will. Our previous daily routine pared down to the bare minimum, a merry-go-round of feed the baby, feed ourselves, change the baby, sleep (in fits and starts), feed the baby again, feed ourselves, try to sneak in a shower, sleep again, etc. It’s hard. In a way that everyone warns you with deep sympathy in their eyes (and maybe a little post traumatic stress disorder) but no one can truly prepare you for until you live it. 

So where are the sweet spots, those tender moments of relief that lead to second and third babies? That lead to everyone agreeing, “it’s totally worth it,” it being severe sleep deprivation, hormonal and emotional rollercoasters, body transformations, strain on relationships, living in chaos, and holds or pauses on careers?

I think it’s tempting (and completely reasonable) to adopt an attitude of grin and bear it with gritted teeth and lots of caffeine.

And some days, that’s exactly what happens.

Yet, as the days and nights with little one pass, I find myself appreciating the clarity of perspective that comes with focusing on the most basic needs. How often we take them for granted. How precious a full night of sleep will feel after months of interrupted rest. How lovely a hot shower is after an all nighter. How longed for a fresh cup of coffee is, savored with every sip. 

There are gifts, even here in survival mode.

Anything above eating and sleeping feels like a miracle. Solo errands around town listening to music with no one else in the car. A quick getaway to the park to eat take-out with our hands because we forgot the silverware. Forays onto the porch in the mornings and evenings to watch the hummingbirds. The vibrant purple hues of summer flowers in full bloom.

This too, shall pass. But rather than wishing the time away, I want to embrace this season for all its difficulty and beauty.

I want to accept the clarity of focus, the rhythm of our days that will soon enough be filled with more than eating and sleeping and keeping a tiny human alive. 

For now, it’s enough. 

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