I can hardly believe that it’s been two weeks since Charlotte’s arrival. To think that three weeks ago she was living inside my body, and now I have her to hold and look at all day long.
It has been a whirlwind since she got here, and we have been fortunate to be surrounded by family these first two weeks. Week one was the hardest for me, though my in-laws, doula and mom were here. I felt overwhelmed with trying to breast feed, and I wasn’t sleeping much and couldn’t take naps because we had a house full of people. Chad went back to work after a week so then it was just Charlotte and me. With no one but us home Charlotte and I could become more familiar with each other, and we could get into somewhat of a routine. On a typical day she will wake up around 5:30am, and I feed her then we both go back to sleep until about 8. I feed her again then shower while she sleeps. If I am lucky I get an entire shower in and can blow dry my hair and put on makeup and get dressed before she wakes back up. Then it is time to feed her again, play, feed myself and nap time for the both of us. In the afternoon I try and take a walk if it’s nice. This gets us out of the house and then we feed again and hang out until Chad comes home. My whole day is centered around her and doing whatever I can to make her happy.
In almost two weeks I hadn’t attempted leaving the house via car. I just didn’t feel up to trying to get her in the car seat and go anywhere. A baby’s schedule revolves around feeding so if you do want to leave the house you have to time it so the baby is fed, changed and sleepy. I know after I feed Charlotte I have about a 2-3 hour window where I can get things done if she happens to nap afterwards. Fortunately my sister came in town this past Thursday so I had some entertainment for the rest of the second week. Although I hadn’t felt up to having friends visit or leaving the house I was excited for my sister arrive.
Having my sister here was the best medicine I could possibly ask for. With her help, we actually left the house and went shopping for baby clothing and to Target. Small errands I took for granted when I was baby-free that now seem overwhelming with Charlotte here. My sister made it possible, though. I felt more comfortable having someone help me get her in and out of the car. On Saturday Chad had to work so we met him downtown at the end of his shift and not only walked around on 16th street mall but had lunch at Lucky Pie AND went to Denver Beer Co. for a flight of tasters. Charlotte rode snuggled in to my chest in the baby K’tan and was fabulous the whole afternoon. I did have to change her and feed her in the car while Rachel and Chad went ahead inside the brewery – just one of the many adjustments I’m getting used to!
We took walks, we ordered in food, took photos, watched movies and Rachel even cooked us dinner Sunday night. The time went by too fast. I was feeling better than I had before and Charlotte even slept 7 hours on Saturday night. The weekend was over before I knew it, and today Rachel said good-bye and headed back home to San Diego. When I went to the pediatrician this morning the doctor commented that she had never seen the mom of a two week old so well rested – I attribute it all to my weekend of gaining confidence, which has led me to feel like myself again.
While I can’t believe Charlotte is here, finally, I also can’t imagine my life without her. I cannot believe I ever thought this is not what I wanted or needed in life. Nothing else seems important anymore. I find it hard to post things on Facebook (and anyone who knows me knows I love facebook) because I can’t find anything important enough to say because the only thing that’s important to me anymore is Charlotte. I don’t want to be one of those people that posts pictures all the time of their baby or posting every thing they do so I don’t say anything at all. As much as I am open and public about my life, I don’t want to expose everything about her to the world. I want to keep things between us. I don’t think there are enough words in the world to express how I feel about her so I can’t even begin to try.
What I know is that now my life is different but it’s better. My sister is the first person who showed me that I can still do the things I enjoy doing. I just can’t do them all at once on the same day anymore. I want so much to get back to working out and toning up but at the same time I don’t care that I don’t have the 6 pack abs right now. I don’t want to leave the house for a long period of time just to work on me. There is plenty of time in the future for this. My sister showed me that it’s ok to stay in the house and take naps and just enjoy the company of Charlotte- to not be in a hurry and to enjoy every moment. Before Charlotte, when I would take walks with Bebe I would have my cell phone in one hand and her leash in the other. I was outside but I wasn’t focused on the beauty around me because I was glued to technology. Now when I walk I have Bebe’s leash in one hand and the stroller in the other, and there is no time for the distraction of technology. I am fully present and more aware than I have ever been-not only to Charlotte but everything around me. When I nurse her I may have the TV on but the majority of time is spent staring at her. I am in awe of this little being that I created, and I can’t help but be mesmerized by everything from her cry to her slight smiles.
I am so fortunate to have family that has traveled to be with us these first two weeks. No doubt they were some of the hardest days in my life. The adjusting, the uncertainty, the self-doubt and the enormous weight of having to care for someone who is so tiny and helpless was a lot for me to digest. Now that Charlotte is here there is no break time for me. My old life has been replaced with days that are filled catering to someone else. But for the first time in my life I feel like I truly have a sense of purpose and duty. I may not be making an income right now or working on having the best handstand but I’m responsible for the life of another human being. There is nothing that can be more important than that. My sister, my mom, and my in-laws helped me take care of myself so I could care for someone else….and that is the greatest gift of all.
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About the Author: Natalie Magee writes a regular column for Happiness Series about what motherhood and beyond - from prenatal to postpartum. Her intention with her column, "Baby & Beyond - What No One Else Will Tell You" is to give practical advice and tips to the busy mom and mom-to-be. She also shares her experiences good, bad and ugly as a woman, wife, mom, flight attendant and fitness instructor. Natalie is also a regular fitness contributor on Happiness Series. She will continue to create great, effective workouts for anyone - including the busy moms out there - who wants to get fit and stay in shape.