The First Week


I kept my expectations low for life postpartum. I do a variation of prepare for the worst, hope for the best with a dash of "if you brace yourself for something to suck, think of how pleasantly surprised and happy you'll be when good comes from it." I expected to not sleep, and to cry a lot, and to be frightened by how much I didn't know. I braced myself for the hormonal mood swings, the night sweats, the leaking boobs, the hair loss. I relished every long afternoon nap and spontaneous trip to the store that took all of five minutes to get out the door.

In the time it takes to grow a human, there's a lot to think and to feel and anticipate. There are so many moments. Joy at the thought of what will be. Excitement to meet this new little person, knitted together so carefully and thoughtfully for close to a year. Nervousness at the thought of no longer being able to safely shield and carry her and protect her from everything out here. Selfishness in my moments of realizing that I really enjoy the life of just Bryan and me -- but trusting that it's because we just don't know how amazing it would be to have her join us.

But no one could have prepared me for this.

No one could have told me just how much I would love her. It's so bizarre, too - because how amazing to be so loved by everyone for just merely existing?

Melissa came over a few days after we finally got home from the hospital and took photos of our family of three. When we woke up that morning I told Bryan that I just wanted to be able to capture what our life looked like in that precious and tired first week. Baby accoutrements strewn about the apartment, tired eyes and messy hair - I wanted to remember all of it (...even my fluid retention).  Bryan said, "So, should I put pants on?" and we decided that yes, Bryan. We'll make an exception for pants.

Bryan and I leaned in to smooch Elsa and knocked heads instead. Elsa was not amused ;)

We're four weeks in and thankfully (and unsurprisingly), I was really wrong in my expectations (except for the leaking boobs - that's REAL). I think partly because I could only imagine the bitter without the sweet, and I didn't account for the grace God would give us in savoring each moment with her because I understand now just how fleeting it is.

"You will never have this day with your children again. Tomorrow, they'll be a little older than they were today. This day is a gift. Breathe and notice. Smell and touch them; study their faces and little feet and pay attention. Relish the charms of the present. Enjoy today. It will be over before you know it." 
                                          - Jen Hatmaker