The newborn days already seem like a hazy dream. I’m reminded of that same Anne Lamott quote I share over and over again: It turns out that you’ve already gone ahead and done it before you realize that you couldn’t possibly do it, not in a million years.
He’s five and a half months old now, and this seems like the best age, but then again I say that every day. When we were in those frenzied first few weeks of parenthood, I frantically Googled “when does having a newborn get easier???” and came across a blog post that posited that it did not, in fact, ever get easier. Because, you know, kids grow and change and each phase comes with some new challenge. This person maintained that the newborn phase was actually the easiest, because tiny babies just need to be fed and held and they can’t, like, walk anyway.
I would very much like to respectfully tell that writer to go eff themselves (Hollis and I are trying, unsuccessfully, to use less profanity). I’m sure that parenting will always be hard, but the endless-seeming sleep deprivation and cluelessness of those first few weeks was its own special feeling. And now that I know it’s temporary…well, it makes everything else seem a little bit easier to handle.
Now that he can smile and laugh and react to us, things are easier. He has ways of communicating that don’t just involve screaming (but, oh, there’s plenty of screaming). It’s hard but good.
I’d read so many times that the adjustment to motherhood can be difficult, especially for women who’ve been working for years. And while I get that (I mean, the baby isn’t giving me feedback on my performance OR a raise for doing a great job), it didn’t feel like an adjustment to me so much as a culmination of a lot of work. Maybe it’s because so many, many things changed for us before we had the baby that it really felt like we were starting over with a scorched earth type of situation. I went from working full time while writing at night to caring for a baby full-time while writing whenever I can. Friends and family members moved away. Some of our relationships were strengthened while others, for all intents and purposes, ended. And, of course, I’ve mentioned the losses that we dealt with many, many times. I was idly thinking about 2016 the other day and wondered what the best and worst parts of the year were before I was like, oh yeah, fucking duh (whoops). It was an intense year.
Also I somehow wrote a book from the time the baby was 2 months-5 months old, which I still don’t totally understand. It’s a funny (I hope), anxious romance like my first book, but it’s also EXTREMELY personal. I’m so excited about it because it’s about something I went through that I’ve never seen in YA before. While LAOAE was about anxiety and loss and the X-Files and brothers/sisters, this one is about beauty standards and feminism and podcasts and sisters and babies (all of that subject to change based on my editor’s revision, obvs). It still has a ways to go but I like it.
This is all just to say that life is good and hard but extremely satisfying. I feel like I’m exactly where I’m meant to be, even as I’m so, so unsure and scared about the future. I’m currently rocking a rock n play with my foot while hooked up to a breast pump and running on 1.5 hours of sleep and I’m on the verge of tears multiple times a week, but it’s all so, so good.