She hit her head really hard the other day and I was reminded of those intrusive postpartum thoughts that were oh so very present in the fresh weeks/months after birth.
The thoughts that reminded me of how fragile life is and how little I trust myself to keep her alive.
When she was an infant, my mind constantly shifted to these thoughts of dropping her or rolling on her or doing something that was going to severely hurt her and as her primary caretaker, it felt like a lot of pressure.
But now she’s searching for independence and trying to understand her limits, boundaries, and spacial awareness.
So when she fell, I had no part in it except watching it from a distance and still I blamed myself. I should have been there. I should have been spotting her while she was climbing.
I should have blah blah blah blah.
That night, as I was putting her to bed, my mind was trying to convince me that she wasn’t going to wake up the next morning.
I took pictures and videos to hear her voice and catch her innocence.
I was giving in to those intrusive thoughts.
She went to bed and I cried until I decided I needed her next to me.
I scooped her up and brought her into my bedroom for my own selfish comfort.
The next morning she woke up and said “mama, can you please put me back in my bed? I’m not comfy.” And my heart exploded in every direction. She was okay and she was still confident in her search for independence. She is my baby, but first and foremost she is her own person and she is constantly blooming into her surroundings.
I was harshly reminded of my own fragility.
How, as a society, we claim postpartum to be those early months after birth but in reality postpartum never truly ends.
After birth, we navigate postpartum for the rest of our lives.
With an empty womb and a growing child, we are still reminded of how small, fragile, and dependent they once were.
We still feel that anxiety and fear around keeping them safe and alive. Sometimes we still battle with intrusive thoughts and emotional reactions and self-deprecating habits that we once used as survival tactics.
Raising little humans while raising yourself too is really damn hard. But I’ve never felt more alive.
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