After three kids, I’ve learned at least one thing:
It takes me a year to feel like ‘me’ again.
The days start to make sense, we fall into some sort of rhythm, and I can slowly begin adding pieces back into my life that feed and nourish me. Funny thing is, though, that we usually try to start getting pregnant about a year after our last baby was born…which means we are gently moving towards the thought of Baby #4. It’s sort of cruel and hilarious at the same time – right at the moment when I start to gain momentum and see some progress and wholeness ahead of me, everything is thrown to the wind as we begin from ground zero again.
Now, I love being pregnant. If I could be pregnant for months on end, I totally would. There’s something about growing a human being inside me that fascinates me. The nutrition, the science, the ways I can nurture my child even before he or she enters the world is so intriguing to me. I actually take better care of myself while I’m pregnant than I do in most other seasons of my life. Something about knowing my actions directly affect another human being helps me up my game a few notches.
However…I have loved the last three or four months of my life. Leah is a few months past one, and Hunter and Madison are well into their preschool years. I can set my alarm for a certain time in the morning and know that I have an hour or more to myself to focus on the necessary but not urgent stuff that fills me – reading, writing, gentle exercise, listening to calming music. In the quiet morning hours I am filled with hope and expectation for the day.
The thought of another baby dashes those hopes into a fine, powdery dust that drifts away on the morning breezes. Oh, how I long for another little one in our family. That ache of ‘We’re not quite done yet’ pulses strong inside me. Hence, this entire entry resonates with contradiction, right? The tension of expectation and sacrifice – knowing there are great and precious things to come, but facing the loss of a few of my own precious things along the way.
When I peel back, zoom the view-finder of my life out a few degrees, and realize that this portion of my life, the baby-toddler-preschool ages of child raising, is merely a blip in the entirely of my existence, I can slowly exhale and realize it will be okay to let go of the things I have picked back up during the past few months.
There will be many mornings for me to read, write, sit, notice the quiet and the sunrise and set my day along the path I intend it to go. For now, I am soaking in the mornings that I can and cherishing the ones to come. The ones that begin around 2:30 AM with nursing snuggles, sore backs, tired eyes, and shushing of babies. Those are the fleeting moments which I truly long to grasp before they slip away forever.