I’ve heard time and again that the first two weeks with a newborn is the most challenging. To my surprise, the past two weeks have been fine. Fun, even. Dare I say it, the past two weeks have even been blissful.
After a pretty ideal 8+ months of pregnancy, the last few weeks were a little tough for me. I read somewhere that we as humans are much better at adjusting to life changes than we assume that we will be, but that the uncertainty of situations is what can really bring a person down. This uncertainty was throwing me for a loop. I was scared of labor, scared of being a new mom, scared of my life changing so drastically. Being a natural born worrier, I decided to peruse message boards to better prepare myself for what was to come. If there was one lesson I later learned from this, it was to never peruse message boards in order to ‘prepare’ myself for anything ever again. Horror stories are abundant. I was half expecting to have a 72 hour labor, a baby who cried for 12 hours daily and to never leave the house or sleep or eat or exercise or shower or brush my teeth ever again. I would be a stinky, sleep-deprived, emotional mess and also my husband would probably hate me.
So it came as a pleasant surprise when I had an extremely fast and mostly pain-free labor (The epidural is my new soul mate), a mellow and very sleepy baby, and a husband and extended support system so wonderful that getting some ‘me time’ has not once been an issue. I’ve read a whole book (One for grown-ups!) since Bryn was born. I take long walks with that beautiful and happy baby of mine every night. Robby and I take shifts at night, so we both end up getting at least five hours of sleep, though I usually end up with closer to seven. I don’t exactly consider this sleep deprivation. I have upcoming races and photo-shoots and media events and other adventures planned, just like I always have. Heck, I even took two showers yesterday. (Those long walks do make me stinky.)
But it’s so much more than just having unexpected down time. I have never felt so inspired, nor has my life and heart felt so full. I definitely felt inspiration and a fullness of life before, but now it seems my world is overflowing with the stuff. Bryn has brought more joy and magic to my life than I even knew was possible. That I could help create someone so absolutely perfect is amazing to me. I feel the need to skip and dance and write cheesy poetry, just because she exists. How come these mommy message boards don’t focus on all of these warm fuzzies and long cuddles and the desire to kiss someone’s soft little cheeks all day long?
I’m also really proud. I’m proud of my daughter, and how quickly she’s adjusted from womb to world. I’m proud of my husband and I for figuring out this parenting thing together, and for being patient and kind to one another as we learn. I’m proud of my body and what it’s capable of. Sure, it’s nice being 5 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight. But much more than that, I am amazed at its ability to bounce back after labor. After delivering an eight-pound baby, I truly feel that I can do anything. Nobody told me how empowering giving birth would be.
Best of all, I feel like I’m falling in love all over again. With my daughter, and also with my husband in his new role as the daddy of our girl. Robby’s mom was in town for a couple of days, so two nights ago we went on our first date night since Bryn was born. We laughed and flirted and had long conversations about Star Wars and how weird and unintentionally incestuous it was that Luke Skywalker kissed his sister twice. I felt giddy and silly and almost like a teenager again. Can you have a crush on your husband? Because if you can, I totally do.
Shortly after bringing Brynlee home, we heard her sneeze for the first time. I had always assumed that sneezing patterns were learned and not inherited, but after hearing hers for the first time, I knew this assumption was wrong even before researching it. Picture Minnie Mouse or a bunny rabbit quickly coughing five times in a row, and that is probably the closest thing to my sneeze. I often get amused comments on it, as it’s this weird trait about me that has always been very uniquely Christina. But now it’s not. Miss Brynlee sneezes just like me. I gave her my sneeze, and that makes me so incredibly happy.
I don’t write this post to brag about having the world’s best baby or husband or life. I have been so blessed, but I know Miss Bryn will have her good days and bad, just like we all do. I write this because I want to remember all of this joy, and all of the other new feelings that accompanied the beginning of Brynlee’s life. I write this because I would have loved to find something like this while Googling when I was pregnant. I write this because I wish someone would have told me that it was possible for my uncertainty to turn into such an indescribable glee. Of course I know that there will eventually be challenging moments along with the blissful ones. All of the most beautiful things in life are this way. But how could I not be on top of the world, being able to love and hold and look into the eyes of this little person who shares my sneeze?