I received a text yesterday from a friend of mine who just delivered her second baby. I struggle with text messages because of their lack of intended tone, but every so often, there are those that chime through, jump off the screen and come across loud and clear. This text was of that sort.
She simply said she was losing it. I quickly sent a few responses saying things like “Go easy on yourself. Be patient. You’ll figure it out. It gets easier.” Bla, bla, bla. None of these statements did much for me in those first few weeks and months, but I was getting dinner on the table and in the middle of my own juggling act.
Our exchange that evening ended with this text that still remains unanswered in my inbox. It says
“When does it get easier?”
Ok. Now I have to halt, and remember how it feels to need someone to stop and hear you. It shouldn’t take a huge reach into my memory bank, I believe it was last Thursday. But, this response deserved some thought and a quiet house with sleeping children. I love quiet houses with sleeping children.
So, what do I offer that is both true and encouraging? Is there a magic month that unlocks a new level of ease? Is it 6 weeks? The only special thing that happened for me at 6 weeks postpartum was my hypertension diagnosis. Maybe 3 months? 6? 9? I heard all of these markers, and either they came and went with no relief, which only served to heighten my anxiety that I was doing something wrong, or in my current frenetic state, they seemed an eternity away.
I don’t think there is a formula for figuring out when it gets easier. There are many factors and every woman’s situation is different. Isabelle is almost 9 months old and I have found about 4 or 5 different lulls that I thought were the top of the mountain only to find myself facing another peak. But, because I have come to expect them, I feel more equipped to climb them.
So, after some thought, I’ve decided I’m going to answer that text with a phone call offering an ear and assurance that all she is feeling is normal, and a newly defined word, that after many self spoken repetitions, successfully and naturally brought my blood pressure down from the stroke zone. It is this:
BALANCE – acceptance of the insanity
Because this had such positive effects, I’ve decided to have more fun with Webster:
Ok, well that first one is all I’ve got. But, I welcome thoughts from other mothers of older children! Do these words ever find their way back into our dictionary?