Lying In

The sacred first 40 days following my beautiful home birth are now behind us and we are transitioning back into a routine, although I still most definitely consider today part of this postpartum season and will for some time. But my body has stopped bleeding, we are getting out of the house most days and Reed and I have found our nursing rhythm for the most part. Edie is comfortable with her, loves to help me take care of her and rarely shows signs of jealousy or anger toward sister like she did in the first few days. My milk supply seems plentiful, I am eating hearty meals daily, exercising every morning and kissing my new baby (who already feels like the most precious old friend because of our time together in the early weeks) most of the rest of the day. 

As the mother of a two year old and a newborn, I am up several times a night and I don't get to "sleep when the baby sleeps" during the day, but I don't recall ever feeling more rested in my life. I stayed in bed for two full weeks after Reed was born and much of the two weeks after that. I held my babies, watched them observe one another and allowed them both to come back to me as their homebase any time they needed to without a single second of waiting or distraction--we were lying beside one another the entire time and I had no other agenda. I slept with them when Edie napped, smelled my new baby's head ten thousand times and physically felt my heart swell with the sweetness of my life. 

I was present, and it restored me. I stripped away most things so I could really see the best things, and now I feel myself carrying that perspective with me as we add activity and responsibility back in. My babies are joy in the flesh--I can see it and feel it and hold it and it was born from my body, therefore my body is magic and I deserve to appreciate myself. I realize I have never loved myself before. I was always below my ever changing expectations and set on feeling disappointed in myself for not being God. And motherhood only magnified that--I didn't see myself as a good mother because I couldn't know and control every bit of my child's health and well-being. But, oh! Seeing that first terrifying baby love on the second with every ounce of her innocent heart--that was as close to perfect as I could ever hope to be. And I realized I can do that. I can't know everything, but I can love my girls fiercely. And I am allowed to let that feel good. I am allowed to let that be enough.

That birth high? It is real. And after this go around I am fully convinced it can be dragged out by lying in. Bringing your baby from your womb to your arms and then camping out away from the rest of the world is unfortunately rare in our culture, but perhaps it's the sweet secret to postpartum health. I'm still blissed out about my baby almost eight weeks in, maybe even more so than I was on day one.