Preparing, nesting, predicting. OH MY!
If you are preparing for the arrival of your baby, you may be in a similar place as I am. My main goal is to make our living space feel less cluttered and as functional as possible! This is what they call nesting, and I have been a bit of a maniac for the past month or so.
Btw if you need organization inspiration with your nesting, check out my bestie Fay Wolf. She's an organizing genius, and here is her sight : http://neworderlove.com/)
This is our second baby, and I am also preparing in other ways as well. I'm pushing through my cranky tiredness and keeping up a gentle yet consistent exercise routine which I have shared in my past couple of posts. I'm trying to keep my weight in control by avoiding too many sweets and processed foods and focusing on a low glycemic diet. And the other big thing I'm doing is reflecting on how my partner and I handled our first baby experience so I can predict what may come up for us again. One of my favorite things to talk about with postpartum moms is how their relationship has shifted with their partners.
A little personal story: when my man and I met with our doula before the birth of our daughter in 2010, she said these exact words: have you guys talked about what is coming for the two of you?... because of course there is a birth, but in some sense there is also a death. The birth of your child and the death of your life as just two. At the time I remember thinking well that's a pretty freakin' morbid way of looking at it! ...but in retrospect; she was so right. Scott and I were who we were on March 28, 2010 but then something completely new began on March 29th! Since then we have grown as a couple and found a new us, which is totally different than the old us. At times I mourn our old life and the ease and spontaneity we had, but most of the time I celebrate who we are as a family and how we practice love, kindness and joy in our home.
So it seems, to follow along with our doula's sentiment, we will be experiencing another birth and another death soon. The day this baby boy comes into our world we will be 4, and the 3 of us will be a thing of the past. Freaks me out, makes me cry just thinking of potentially shifting the goodness that the three of us have so far. But I am also filled with pure excitement as I wonder what and how it will all happen.
As Scott and I make space for the new us I thought I'd share what we are doing to prepare for our growing family (If you are reading this with your first baby on the way, just enjoy who you and your partner are today and be open to the unpredictable yet delicious ride you have ahead of you!).
We look at pictures of Ivy's first few months in our lives and remember it all. We talk about the beautiful and the not so smooth (and maybe even downright ugly) moments too. What worked? What would we both like it to be like the second time around? We talk about the birth, her colic, the little lessons we learned; it all helps us to look ahead.
When we were both zombies and emotionally drained we had to figure out how to help each other. I think at times the ugly stuff is just going to take its course, but other times it helps just asking your partner Is there anything I can do for you today? or Do you want to take a walk or a nap and be alone for a while? or Shall I book that ticket to the Keys for you so you can avoid your massive break down...? Whatever the tactic or question is, we know that we will be looking out for one another.
3. Be kind
We try to thank each other for the hard work we both do. We take deep breaths together when the time is right. We acknowledge that we will both feel stuck at times, but how can we help each other shimmy out of it? I mentioned this in a facebook post the other week: how you bring up certain topics with your partner is important. For example, if you are in the middle of an internal rant about EVERYTHING YOUR PARTNER SUCKS AT AND HOW HE/SHE JUST DOESN'T GIVE A DAMN ABOUT YOU AND THE BABY... yeah... take a breath. Or ten.
Give it an hour or a day. The next time you and your partner are in a good mood, maybe with a glass of wine or while enjoying something delicious together, say thanks for the support they give you and then gently bring up what was bothering you. For example you can say I'm so thankful that we are in this together cuz it's been so so challenging. I'm struggling with keeping up with the folding of the baby's clothes and It's making me feel nuts. Maybe we can both rock it out together?
You can find your own words, but I urge you to talk, not to bottle it up.
What you have with your partner evolves. When the stakes are high (exhaustion, raging hormones, crying baby) there simply isn't space to sit back and think rationally about everything that's evolving and why. Bringing kindness to the table and keeping an open mind with one another takes practice. This is the "work" in a good relationship. "Work" isn't a bad thing, it means you both care, and you both don't want to risk hurting one another. Look, there are times when things feel off between two people, and it can take some time to get back into the groove with them. But I'd like to think that there is something we can do about it if we bring our awareness to it and keep communication lines open.
Best to you this week Mamas! Remember we are not alone. We are in this together. If there is anything you want to share with me, or with your partner I urge you to find the right time to come out and say it. Be kind, but be honest and don't forget to b.r.e.a.t.h.e.