As a former teacher, I am used to living my life according to increments of the school year. But now as a first-time parent, I no longer mark my days this way.
Life before parenthood (when my job more or less defined how I spent my time):
Three months of summer vacation. One quarter left of the school year. Three weeks between Thanksgiving Break and Winter Vacation. 50 minutes bell to bell for each class period.
Life after giving birth to my daughter (when my identity and priorities changed forever):
The traditional concept of time no longer exists for me.
Day and night blur together as newborns feed around the clock, from anywhere between every half hour to two hours. As a result, I recently discovered how it is possible for me to sleep while awake, as I’ve found myself not remembering with clarity what happened in past two-hour periods even if I was doing something active in a public place like eating at a restaurant or walking in a park.
As the mother of a newborn, I still find myself thinking a lot in terms of deadlines and numbers as I’m dutifully tracking everything on my phone app. Eight to ten diaper changes per day. Forty minutes to breastfeed or 80 to 150 ml of pumped breast milk per feeding. ½ kilo to 1 kilo of weight gain per month.
Between sleeping and awake periods – minus feeding/burping/diaper changing/rocking or swaying time – I am left with less than two hours to select from the following for myself: Sleep, eat, clean, shower, call a friend, maybe even go on Facebook?
And we have begun celebrating milestones at one week, two weeks, three weeks, one month and are looking forward to three months, six months, nine months, one year and so on!
With the passage of my little one’s first month of life, I am not only rejoicing in her continuing healthy development (especially after working hard to lower her high bilirubin count in those first couple weeks) but I am also recognizing the accomplishment of surviving the most difficult 30 days of my life.
To be honest, I focused a majority of my energy and time during my pregnancy on preparing for my labor/delivery, but it ended up being not as difficult or long as I imagined. (Admitted at 4 centimeters dilated at 5:30 p.m. and gave birth at 11:40 p.m. with a natural delivery – no medical interventions.) As cliche as it sounds, no amount of planning and research (even for a Type A personality as myself) could have prepared me for what was to come after the baby arrived.
In this past month, I have let a lot go, asked for a lot of help, and learned how to live life within a whole new timeline – neither decided by me nor my career –.but one that is dictated by my baby.
Happy one month to my sweet Sophia! Thank you for teaching me what is most important and for reminding me to continually live life according to Proverbs 16:9.