I’m finding it really hard to find the line between being realistic about life lately and sounding like I’m complaining during a time when, inarguably, everyone is struggling. On one hand, I don’t want anyone to ever think that I don’t love my babies or that I’m not grateful that I could get pregnant the first time I tried, three times in a row. I am privileged to not know loss, I am privileged that my family has a safe space in which to make messes and cry and whine incessantly, I am privileged that the genetic syndrome that our oldest child was born with has so far been mild enough that we get to raise her like a typical child. Despite what a lot of people have been assuming, we did choose to have all three of our kids this close together. None of them were a mistake and we don’t regret our choice to get these tough years over with all at once.
But on the other hand, shit’s hard right now, and I started this space to talk about hard shit. Back when Hennie was a purple-crying Colic Baby I searched the internet in the midnight hours for someone who would admit that there are some real rock bottom moments (or days, or weeks) in the long journey of parenthood. Instead all I found were thousands of accounts of peacefully sleeping babies and postpartum moms with fresh blowouts and a face full of makeup. To say I couldn’t relate would be an understatement and I vowed to never post just a highlight reel. I want parents to know that alongside the inevitable joys are times when we all struggle, and most importantly, that our struggles are NOT the exception, they are the norm. Parenting is tough! You WILL struggle. And you’ll probably be tempted to compare your situation to all of the perfect-looking parents on the internet but I hope you know you can come here when you need some encouragement or just a healthy dose of real talk.
So here’s my truth right now. I’m tired. Like, so tired. I haven’t woken up with that “well rested” feeling in weeks and the moment I get out of bed I’m already thinking about when I can get back in. At my last blood test I had a Ferritin level of…1. My midwife assures me this does not mean that I win 1st place, but it should be noted that it IS the lowest she’s ever seen… #winning.
Unfortunately the result of having no iron stores and no energy from being in late pregnancy is that right now I’m just not the mother I want to be. I seem to be oscillating between the rage that comes from having subzero patience and the indifference that comes from not having the energy to give a shit about anything. I’m wishing the days away, wishing the terrible two’s away, and wishing this pregnancy away even though I’m not sure I believe the future is going to be any easier. I’ve always worked hard to try not to wish my life away because it steals so much joy from the present but my present doesn’t feel very joyful right now and that’s just where we’re at. I’m sure that pregnancy hormones are somewhat at play here but I am fully convinced that I am not going to be able to handle the care of three kids AND my own self, and that scares me because I already feel that I’m neglecting myself deeply during a time when I know I should be taking better care.
But we’re all just doing our best, right? It’s all we can do and we will do it and get through it. This has been a really, really tough year for so many of us and there are likely still hard times ahead in our new post-civid world. All we can do is survive the best we can, hopefully learn a little bit, and all become kinder and more empathetic people when this phase inevitably ends and a new, easier one begins. If there is one thing I’ve learned through my four years with three pregnancies and two kids, it’s that every phase ends. The good times give way to tougher ones but the tough ones are never permanent either. Life is always good and bad in different ways but we can always do it. It takes a village and right now during this ongoing pandemic all we’ve got is our emotional (and on-line) villages. If you need support or encouragement, I’m here for you!