It was one of those days. The kind where you leave your toddler, who just desperately wants to snuggle, alone on the couch and you go cry alone in the nursery. Because you’re tired. Because literally (actually literally) everything hurts. And you just need 5 minutes of no one touching or needing you.
My hips hurt. I’d take a thousand days of pregnancy ligament pain over this post partum strained ligament pain.
My muscles hurt. All of them. Including muscles I didn’t know I had (and I’m a nurse). My back hurts from lazy middle of the night feedings when I don’t try and sit correctly. My feet hurt. And I would say that my abdominal muscles hurt, but I’m pretty sure they’re not even there anymore.
My brain hurts. The mental load of two kids is a lot. It’s mathematically impossible, but somehow two children did not double my brain’s overload, it quadrupled it, maybe more than quadrupled it. How is there always something to be added to the to do list and, these days, hardly anything come off of it? How did the laundry increase by tenfold with just one little human?
But mostly, my heart hurts. Because it grew two sizes too big the minute I met Kolbe. Love multiplies, it doesn’t divide. We’ve all heard it. But man, oh man, did it become so painfully and beautifully apparent when I met my son. My two beautiful souls on earth, and my two beautiful souls in Heaven all have my whole heart. That’s not really mathematically possible either, but it’s true.
But here’s the catch. The part that no one likes to talk about. When a mom’s heart expands, there’s growing pains. And I’d like to put the emphasis on ‘pains’ part. Because in every way that a mother’s or father’s love is beautiful and joyous, it’s equally difficult and straining. Somehow, you have to snuggle and cherish the newborn days. And do puzzles with the toddler. And do both at the same time. And hold the toddler when she gets an owie that’s completely invisible to the naked eye. While feeding the newborn. And then change the newborn while trying not to leak milk e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e because you overproduce and it’s the best worst problem to have. And then the toddler wants Mommy. And how is it time to feed the baby again? And then there’s guilt over too much screen time, or letting your baby cry 2 seconds longer than you would’ve let their older sibling cry. And it’s only 11am. (And–can I add a little footnote here? I’m struggling like this WITH my husband home on paternity leave. Single parents: you are heroic.)
Growing pains. Am I doing enough? Am I loving them enough? Do they get enough individual time? Does Rose like Kolbe? Resent him? Resent me? Am I any good at this Mom thing? And of course the answer is yes, of course I’m a good mom. But in the early days and the newborn fog, sometimes the answer feels like a big, glaring ‘no’. Because hormones. And exhaustion. And that pesky business of loving your children so much it hurts. And more exhaustion. And sometimes you panic a little (or a lot) because you aren’t doing everything perfectly. And then you wonder if your panic is your “normal” dose of anxiety or if it’s post partum depression. And before you have time to google it, its time for another feeding. And the toddler no longer can drink out of her sippy, she needs the other purple cup. The most honest thing I can tell you about life right now? I’m always on the verge of tears, usually happy, but sometimes sad.
And the hardest part of all of this? It’s knowing I’m going to miss it. The hectic days, the toddler wanting to be by my side every second, the sweet late night newborn cuddles. I’m going to miss it. I’ll blink and they’ll be older. They won’t need me quite this much. So as my heart grows, and as the love hurts a little bit, I try to remember: it’s just one of those days. And through the tears I know. Growing pains are hard, and I’m pretty freaking lucky to have them.