“I scrolled through old photos the other day looking for pictures to print out, and I found this one. This was a photo my husband never told me he took, he just took it with my phone. I found it months later.
My husband used to sleep on the couch so he could get a ‘good nights sleep’ and every morning he would awake with us either feeding or absolutely exhausted and knocked out from being up all night. I vowed every night my new baby wouldn’t come to bed with me, but he always did… and the husband got out.
I remember looking at this photo and seeing such difficulty. Remembering how hard breastfeeding was, how hard reflux was, how I was in a permanent state of being a zombie. I remember how depressed I got. How exhausted I was… every ounce of me. Mentally, physically… remembering how we suffered, my husband and I sleeping apart.
I remember looking at this picture and I said, ‘Oh yuck… look at my puffy face,’ when I eventually saw it. But now I see what my husband sees.
Now when I look at this picture, I see something beautiful. I see a younger version of me. I see a mother who has entered into a really really tough journey, uncharted territories. I see a mother who is sacrificing all her being. Whose every day was filled with trying to make this world a comfortable place for her baby while navigating her own. It was filled with desperate attempts to shower, poo explosions, cold coffee, the same clothes worn to bed and during the day, with milk stains, sore nipples and cold food. It was the start of a journey with tears, tantrums, chicken nuggets and begging someone to ‘just try it.’
It shows motherhood. It’s not a perfectly posed photo on white sheets, or smiling sleepy faces. It shows motherhood as it is. Not glamorous, not perfect, not doing what you said you would do, (or doing what you said you’d never do), just doing what you can to survive.
And I miss it. As crazy as that sounds. I miss it… And it’s a good reminder to remember how far I’ve come. How far we have all come. How far we will come. How far you will come.
I won’t miss the reflux, the sore boobs, the relentless crying, and trying to work out how many times I can count to 100 before the baby gently closes his eyes, and how long I can hold my breath until I place him down without him waking. But I’ll miss knowing that I was the only one whose warmth he needed, the only one who he could fall asleep with, and I’ll miss watching him sleep with such contentment and falling asleep while doing it and not even realizing.
This is the time of motherhood that I remember as the hardest, but the one I never want to forget. Because no matter how hard it seemed, I survived it. You survived it. He survived it! We did it.
He eventually slept, the boobs eventually settled, the coffee got warmer and the husband come back into bed. Our marriage survived it, even though it seemed like hell to get back there, it shows that we do so much more than we will ever give ourselves credit for, and we can get through so much more than we ever thought we could. That even though on those dark days of having a newborn, there is so much beauty in us, in that moment, in knowing that we are all they ever needed.
Keep taking these photos husbands, partners, wives — they are so important for so many reasons. They remind us to remember that we are important too.”
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