the fear factor.

Last night (at 3:45 am, mind you), I found myself thinking about the first few weeks after Sam was born. At the time, I lived in Baltimore, in a dark (albeit darling) apartment. And it was smack in the middle of the worst winter I've ever lived through. Oh, and I had no friends. (Seriously, zero.) And Anson still had eight months left of a residency that resulted in him pretty much living at Johns Hopkins.

He was maxed out. I was maxed out and was showering roughly two times a week. Yeah, it was no bueno.

I actually remember sitting out on our front bench one evening waiting for Anson to round the corner on his bike. It was freezing, but I recall this intense need to just GET OUT of our house. So there we were, me and Sam, bundled up in our winter coats and hats to cover up the fact that we were both, in fact, still wearing our pajamas at 5:45 pm. I was bouncing Sam in my arms, trying to -- yet again -- get him to stop crying. I, too, was close to tears. Yep friends, it was a rock-bottom moment.

Once Anson got home, we had a conversation (aka me verbally vomiting all over him) where I confessed that I felt like a total basketcase, walking around like I might just lose my shit at any moment. (Looking back, who was I kidding?!? I had spit up in my hair and snot running down my face -- my "shit" was clearly long gone.) I wasn't looking for a solution to any problem -- I loved my new baby more than anything in the world -- but I felt a bit like I was close to drowning. And at the moment, I was grabbing for Anson, my lifesaver, and literally gasping for air between big, heavy sobs.

(Mamas to be -- have I completely freaked you out yet? It gets better. Keep reading.)

It's because of that vivid memory, that I found myself facing a bit of anxiety in the weeks before Audrey was born. Would I melt into a puddle of hormonal goo the moment I brought her home? Would I be walking around like a semi-functional zombie for the next three months? And would I, most importantly, be calmer, more confident and less, well, crazy this time around? With my less-than-stellar track record and another baby to take care of, it's safe to say I had my doubts.

But, with four solid weeks under my belt since Audrey's arrival, I can honestly say that this time feels a lot different. Sure, it's more to manage and straight-up chaotic the majority of the time, but I feel more at peace with it, which I'm sure is a result of having Anson home more often, my parents so close by and, you know, the fact that we're not buried under three feet of snow this time around. All in all, it just feels easier. Better.

Now don't get me wrong -- the exhaustion still creeps up from time to time, but this is why I've invested in Bobbi Brown's dark-circle concealer (amazeballs!) and basically have Diet Coke pumped through my veins 24 hours a day. And Audrey may be a sweet baby, but she still has her moments (and by "moments," I mean hours) of inexplicable crying. (Side note: I consider this a "win" if the crying is not a result of Sam chucking her monitor at her head. It's all about perspective, people.) And I still face times where the hot-mess wave is just too strong, and I find myself in a washed-up heap on my kitchen floor, cradling a newborn with a hysterical 21-month-old on my lap. And that, my friends, is when all you can do is -- you guessed it -- pop another chicken nugget in your mouth and surrender to the crazy.

I guess what I'm getting at is that it's a bit easier this time around because I know I can do it. It's not going to be easy and it's definitely not going to be pretty (in fact, most days it's going to be downright ugly) but, no matter how messy, this too shall pass.

When Sam was about a month old, I received a message from my friend Lindsay's mother that I still go back and read often. She sent it to me after one of my "I think my baby hates me!" blog posts and in it she wrote:

"In perfect circumstances, the first couple of months are rough. In less than an ideal situation, they suck. You are stuck at home, all alone, with a pooping, peeing, crying, hungry machine. The tiny little thing is incapable of rewarding you with a smile, a giggle or even simple recognition....and it's hard to talk to anyone about because, after all, being a new mother has been romanticized through the ages. That lovely soft little thing that coos and smells so sweet is the thing movies talk about and it's complete fiction. But, it is also an experience that will completely disappear from your memory the first time your baby smiles at you, laughs at you and reaches his arms out for you. Hang in there, and know that there are some very rewarding and wonderful times ahead."

And she was so right. The beginning is, no doubt, crazy hard, but it won't last forever. In fact, it goes by much too fast. And when the storm blows over, we'll forget about the sleepless nights ... and the tears ... and the projectile vomiting ... and the small electronics-turned-airborn weapons. And we'll move on to the next season of life, which will undoubtedly turn me into a total train wreck all over again. Stay tuned, friends.


Newly Nalevanko said...

Audrey and Sam are so lucky to have you, Sar! And I am so lucky to have my mother.. tear.

JMMarden said...

Oh, girl. This post is just perfection. I could not agree more :)

kate said...

(sigh) i love you and your brilliant blog. it was soo great to see you and whole adorable brownie clan.

please write a book. that is all.