Yesterday, I got out of the house for a little while. This trip helped me put the last year into perspective. I am no longer have the “new mom look.” Let me explain.
After I got Anouk down for a little nap, I left Jay with the baby and got out to the grocery store. ALONE. AND it was AWESOME. I wandered the aisles, picking up the week’s groceries at my leisure. I only thought about whether my husband and daughter were doing ok once…ONCE… that’s it.
I approached the check out counters. There were lines at least three deep at every checker. I got into my line and checked my phone. I saw nothing from Jay. I thought he must be doing ok…So I broke down and texted him. “Still sleeping?” He wrote back within a minute…”I wish.” I still feel a little guilty about leaving him with her alone. I know it is absolutely crazy. But it is because for the first three months of her life, I really couldn’t leave him with her. She was inconsolable except when I was around and able to feed her. He would try, to his credit, but nothing would really work. Now I still feel that pressure. He watches her for entire days while I am at work sometimes. But when I get home, I hear the whole story about how hard it was… and I feel guilty….
So anyway I am in line. I see these texts. I think… I gotta get home to save Jay. OR Anouk. And that’s when I notice the woman in line behind me. She is holding a newborn, one month old, in her arms. She is swaying, she is bouncing. She looks like a maniac. I turn to her, and help to guide her cart in as we move forward in line. I take the opportunity to ask “How old is your little one? How are you doing? You getting enough sleep?” She is rattled. She starts throwing out details “she sleeps 11-1:30 on a good night” “I’m up at 5, unless it is earlier” “Doing it alone, my husband works.” And I can feel her.
I tell her she is brave shopping alone. I tell her she is doing great. I tell her she looks like a natural. I tell her that I remember that feeling. I tell her it calms down. I tell her that she is about 5 months away from the beginning of some really fun stuff. I just put my hand on her and her baby and tell them that they are beautiful. I ask if I can take her groceries to her car for her. She said “no thanks.” I did it anyway. And she was thankful. I remember thinking I couldn’t accept help….
I remember her panic. I remember that feeling. I remember how tired she is (still am that tired, actually). I remember the swaying. I remember the jostling. I remember the details, trying to explain it. I remember saying to my mom, my sister, anyone who would listen “I am not sleeping much, this is really hard.” Just like she said… I remember being in public when a woman told me “it will all calm down, you are doing great.” Yesterday I was me talking to the me from nine months ago. Mothers, we all go through this…
I am so glad I got out. I am so glad that I did it alone. I am so glad that she stood behind me in line. I am so grateful to have seen her beautiful baby. It made me really want to get home to see mine. Perspective. It is a glorious thing.