Summer is slow season around here as far as photography goes (who wants to take photos in 100+ degrees?) but with Issa I’ve been keeping quite busy. There are good days and there are bad days and lately I’ve been focused much more on the bad days. I think what I’ve been trying to do is keep the same pace and lifestyle that I lived before her. I knew life would change, I knew that it would be different, I just didn’t realize how it would be different.
I thought I’d just fit her into my life, that she’d sit happily in the bouncy seat in my home office while I worked away on whatever photo session needed editing or graphics that needed creating. People told me how great it would be that I could work from home and still be with her. I visualized her sitting and cooing and watching and I would be productive and that would be our life.
But she is not that child (if that child even exists).
She wants to be engaged and involved in everything I am doing. She is interested and vocal and focused. She does not like to be by herself. She wants to cuddle. She wants to observe and then try things for herself. She wants to hold my hand and touch my face and stare at me for hours with her blue doe eyes. She wants to hang upside down off the boppy and then somersault off. She has a short attention span and gets bored easily. She is 100% my child.
Shortly after she was born, or maybe it was a few weeks before, I read this article. Janelle writes this very clever and excellently honest blog about life and motherhood and things that makes me both want to laugh and cry at the same time because I get it. The above post, yeah that, I get that, 100%. And every time I read that post I tear up because I get it and because 5 months ago I had no. freaking. clue. But now, 5 months postpartum I’m still figuring it out, I’m still going through “a human, adult reaction to a giant shift in identity, a presence of mind recognizing the end of an entire chapter of life, a heart mourning the woman that once was, and a soul shaking under the weight of a new giant world” as Janelle so eloquently puts it. And, I just stopped wearing maternity jeans.
I miss maternity jeans.
It’s a process, I’ve decided. It’s a process that on Thursday last week took a step forward. Issabella was screaming. I had gone through the list of possible things that were wrong…wet-no, hungry-no, bored-no, cold-no…and finally landed on tired. Really tired. And instead of getting frustrated because why wouldn’t she just go to sleep if she was so tired, and I was thinking about all the things I should be doing, the piled up to-do list, laundry, vacuuming, e-mailing that client, returning that phone call, finishing up those edits, balancing our every tightening budget, placing that print order, showering, I stopped.
I wrapped her in the quilt my mother made, sat down in the rocker my Aunt bought us, looked into her screaming face and sang the only hymn that I could remember in that very loud and overwhelming moment, Amazing Grace. In that moment I decided I would put the list out of my mind and I would just enjoy the moment, screaming and all. I would sit and enjoy the moment where I got to rock my baby girl and sing to her, knowing that because I’m her mom I can calm her like no one else can. And then the screaming stopped. And she just watched me with those doe eyes. And then those doe eyes began to close. In a few minutes she was asleep in my arms. And I just kept singing to her whatever mashed up mix of verses I could remember from Amazing Grace. And I thanked God for my baby.
I’m moving slower since last Thursday. I’m enjoying her at every moment, good and bad. I’m thanking God for this child. I’m learning to change who I am to fit her rather than fitting her into who I was. Because now, I’m her mom. With every hard bit I grow and become somewhat better. And then she starts screaming again and I get frustrated. But I am encouraged because I am her mom and God gave her to me so that I could be her mom. For some reason, He trusts me with this new, little life and that’s pretty freaking cool.
Thank you to Andrea from Ethan Avery Photography for this amazing image just after Issa’s birth.