When we are kids, it seems like we are anxiously waiting for time to pass. Each moment feels like hours. I can remember being in school and watching the seconds pass on the clock thinking time was standing still.
We wait for the school day to be over, we wait for the week to be over to have our weekends, we wait for the school year to be over to have our summers… summers that somehow feel like they would last forever.
Then something happens, and suddenly it feels like our whole lives are on fast-forward. We just whiz through months, even years. There are things that have happened to me over ten years ago that I feel like happened maybe last year. When I sit down and calculate the time, I find myself wondering where in the world it all went.
Now add being a parent to the mix, and time suddenly becomes an enemy.
I honestly feel like the day I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl could have been yesterday. I remember every detail with such clarity. I remember going in early that day to be induced, I remember how uncomfortable it was, and how long I waited there before being able to go home. I remember the anxiousness that went along with it, thoughts that I wanted her here so desperately but at the same time, I felt as though I wasn’t ready. I remember going home and putting on Don’t Mess With Zohan and my husband and I taking a nap because neither one of us was sure just how long it all would take once things got moving.
I remember waking up in tears as wave after wave of excruciating pain vibrated up my back. I didn’t know these were contractions because no one had told me ‘back contractions’ were a thing. I remember looking at my sleeping husband and thinking that I should let him sleep just a little while longer as I waddled into the room, hunched over the edge of the bed and cried for over an hour.
I remember toughing through my back contractions at the hospital at first before they wore me down after hours. I remember feeling as though I wanted to give up, that I could forget this dream of being a mother so long as the pain would stop.
I remember the instant relief of the epidural and suddenly feeling like I could close my eyes and sleep for hours. I remember lying to the nurse when she asked me if I was having a contraction because I was too tired to push and all I really wanted to do was sleep.
And I remember when she finally arrived.
I kept thinking to myself that it was all so surreal. I felt this wave of relief, and then this odd emptiness. I knew the very moment she was out, I could feel it like a balloon someone had let go off that blew around the room as it emptied.
She arrived quietly, and I wasn’t expecting that. Without so much of a boo, she was wiped down and put directly on my breast. Just like that.
I looked at her with this unreasonable amount of love, a love I never would have even thought I was capable of.
And time stood still.
I felt like hours could have passed, or maybe only seconds as I held her for the first time and she just stared at me, like she already knew exactly who I was. It’s weird because I didn’t cry but my heart was so overwhelmed.
The hours leading up to her arrival I cried nonstop and then I saw her and everything was just so right…
The first few months after I was a complete zombie.
It probably wasn’t until about three months postpartum that I felt even remotely close to functional.
With my body doing all it could to try to recover from labour and provide all the nutrients it could for my new beautiful baby girl, there was almost nothing left for me. There were days when I slept more than I was awake. She would be on my chest feeding and her warmth would just lull me to sleep.
In that time, I honestly didn’t even have the energy to think about myself at all, which in a way was a blessing. I didn’t care to think about my body trying to shrink back to normal, I didn’t have the time to think about greasy hair, blocked pores, breakouts. I was in this little bubble in a way.
Unfortunately, that couldn’t last forever and at around four months I started to be really hyper-aware of myself. My looks and how little my mind seemed to be functioning kind of hit me like a ton of bricks. I forgot a little bit about the wonder of childbirth and instead just looked at myself through these cold, judgmental eyes.
This is another instance when time seems harsh. Alone, time seems to slow and it gives you this infinite amount of time to eat away at yourself. It’s isolating, and it’s this very desperate loneliness at times. I would love to say it completely passes, but as mothers, there is no one who will be harder on us than we are on ourselves. It really is a whole process learning to love yourself and give yourself the time and space to make mistakes without coming down really hard on yourself for them.
Our first Christmas did not go off as I would have liked. I got this really bad 48-hour bug on Christmas Eve and wasn’t even able to leave the house to celebrate it as I usually would with my family. It was hard. I had this new baby and I had to breastfeed and care for her while I felt as though I was dying.
Those 48 hours felt like a week. It was another time that was just really hard and trying for me. It’s hard to feel like you’re being and doing all you can as a mother, especially when you can’t get out of bed. I felt really low that whole week. I had this image of what our first Christmas would be like in my head and it really just hit me hard.
I do remember when she was so tiny, my biggest thought was that I couldn’t wait until she was a tad bigger. I wanted to be able to have more of a social relationship with her. I wanted to be able to see her reactions to things, I wanted her to be able to show me when she liked something and when she didn’t. I wanted her to be able to sit and play on her own. Reaching a lot of those milestones became a bit of an obsession to me.
I wanted time to move a little faster.
Now as we are mere weeks away from her first birthday, I find myself wishing time would just stop. My Mat leave is officially over, I am attempting to get her into daycare so I can potentially go back to work and I find myself standing on this threshold desperately trying to hold onto this time with her.
On one hand, I feel like I do want to get back out there. I want my days to have a little bit more in them and to get into some kind of schedule. On the other hand, I want to be with her ALL THE TIME!
The thought of trusting her with someone else through a whole workday fills me with an anxiety I honestly don’t know if I will be able to push past. I have never loved something as much as I have loved her, and I have never been one to trust easily. This is going to be a really big hurdle for me, and I honestly don’t know if it’s one I can get over.
One thing that never changes is time just keeps ticking on. It doesn’t care about how I feel, or how any of us as parents feel. It doesn’t care that we are struggling to cope with being parents and the fact that it seems to just be whizzing by is crippling in a way. We blink, and our babies are toddlers, we blink again and they are teenagers.
As parents, time is an enemy.
I’m just struggling to come to terms with the fact there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. I just have to sit back, enjoy the ride and try to make everything out of those fleeting moments while they are here.
I am so close to having a one-year-old… Excuse me while I go cry.