It is a big week- it is my last week at home with Amelia on maternity leave. My emotions are (not surprisingly) running high as I feel this finality coming forward with the countdown to next week. I shared in a post my favorite pregnancy/new mom books that focus on the parent vs. the child, and The Fifth Trimester has been an amazing read. The fifth trimester is the time after the fourth trimester, which is three months after the baby is born. The notion is the fifth trimester begins when you transition out of the three month sleepy newborn stage – for some (including me), that also means back to work.
Let’s be honest, next week I will be an emotional wreck (and the week following, and the one following that too I am sure). Then I started to think about what Smith Brody notes in the book regarding guilt. She notes that guilt is a word we use to wash over specific feelings instead of noting the true emotion. I spent time meditating on this thought and realized what I feel sadness. Time flies with children, in a terrifying way. The daily grind can wear on one and then you look back at a photo from one month before and realize how much has changed. My sadness is the thought of missing any chance I have to be with her and Mitchell.
I recently had a dear friend tell me that having a child is all about saying goodbye. Watching them step out on their own, go to school, attend their first sleep over, drive away, go to college, etc.
To be honest, my return to work is something I am looking forward to in a sense. I enjoy my job and at times during maternity leave craved mental stimulation outside of board books and tummy time. But I am in a season of family, recovery, and care and I embraced my hibernation fully with zero regrets. The daily pjs, naps and dance parties filled my soul.
Thinking of life in seasons has helped me be present.
Being Type A, I love a tidy house. But my life isn’t tidy right now, it is filled with toys and books and adventures. We embrace a messy kitchen from cooking so we can all sit down as a family around the dinner table and talk about our day. The season was about giving; giving to my family, the holidays and also giving myself grace. And it was good, really really good.
Embracing your season allows you to think of where you are in your life in a positive light. Typically I wouldn’t think of celebrating a workout and blowdry in one day – but it sure as hell was one with a baby. And you better believe I celebrated, as we all should. I dipped off social media for some time because my daily routine was far from picturesque and I didn’t want to compare myself because what I was was happy. Happy! Happy. I am happy because I embraced my mess, my small blessings, my season.
Returning to work and leaving this sweet bubble I have built around my home feels overwhelming. But I know we can do it and I know we will thrive. Work is something I enjoy and the care we have selected for Amelia is the best of the best. My heart is sad because I want to be selfish and have her all day and work. (<—once someone figures this out, call me.) When Mitchell was young I worked from home and remember so many ups and downs. There is no easy when you’re a parent.
Knowing the season I’m in will soon fade into anew, I’ve spent every second I can with Amelia, no missed opportunity. We’ve snuck in a few extra cuddles because we can. We’ve done a few practice runs in the morning. And she has spent time with those who will love her to pieces beginning next week. Second to missing Amelia, I am dreading pumping at work. (A new season? Ha!) I don’t expect everything to be smooth and I know I will forget one of the million bags I will soon be toting with two kids, a milk machine and work bag. And I will likely cry. But this season will soon fade into another.
So for now I am going to drop the word guilt, live in my now, and embrace my season.