This past year of becoming a mom has been an incredible & transformative one FULL of transitions. As I watch my son Rowan navigate through transitions & see that he can struggle with them deeply it made me realize that I too struggle with transitions. And this totally normalized it for me because no one ever talks about this enough!
The human spirit is resilient & we can (eventually) condition & adapt ourselves to the most extreme situations despite the discomfort along the way. The unfamiliar can become familiar once we start to lean into it.
Like many, I am a creature of habit. I function best in routine & order, having a plan for the day or time. Having a child at the tail end of a global pandemic was a very strange, discombobulated experience that left me full of chronic anxiety, insomnia, fear and sadness. I longed for some sort of knowledge that things would be ok and that I would, well, adapt to my new role & life. These feelings grew stronger as I navigated a brand new birth plan (C section vs vaginal delivery) that was orchestrated beyond my wishes.
When you have a child, the goalpost is constantly moving. Just when things seem to get under control (Or at least somewhat) they change again. We are forced to adapt because, well, we have to. Some transitions pull on the heart strings more (at least for me!). Watching the baby outgrow beloved onesies & diaper sizes, abandoning the basinette (cue tears), giving away toys that no longer keep them entertained. Each of these are little knives in our tender hearts watching these items leave ourlives and removing these little remnants of memory with them. Ouch.
The attachments to the remnants of babyhood are real and very much discussed online. I have found comfort in reading forums & online discussions with others as I learn that this is very much par for the course & the bittersweet experience of parenthood.
As Rowan turned 1 year on December 24 my next big transition started – the winding down of my maternity leave & the adventure into childcare.
Another big ouch.
We started our first day yesterday January 5 and even though it was only for 2 hours, it was an incredibly long 2 hours. I went for a lazy breakfast that only killed 70 minutes. Went to 2 different banks to get change and then a small walk on the seawall here in Vancouver. This still left me with 15 minutes left to kill so I took a chance & made my way to the pickup point where I intercepted my son coming. Two of the longest hours of my life until I saw his face.
The tears I cried before leaving the house, once that door closed and as I walked down the hall were heavy with grief & sadness- my sweet year of us becoming a little family and growing together was officially over. My baby is a toddler now, awkwardly marching toward independence and leaving his babyhood behind, those wild & exhausting days of trying to figure out to survive & keep him alive and happy in the process. And I am staring down a return to work which means that for 9 hours of the day I am in a different world than my son. And this breaks my heart.
As we iron out our new normal, I am accepting that it is OK to have all the big feelings about this & that other people have these feelings too. I am telling myself that the discomfort and grief over this loss is normal & temporary and that it will get better. That we will adapt & find our new normal over these next months and will likely enjoy it until the next big transition happens. Transitions are tough until we find ourselves in our new normal not remembering fully what the last period was really like.
Tell me about your feelings about transitions – how do you navigate them? What helps get you through? Tell me here – I would like to learn from you!
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