It’s been exactly 100 days since Grace was born.
There are moments when it feels like she has just arrived, and others when I can’t believe she hasn’t been with us all along. Maybe it’s the sleep deprivation, but there are times when I cannot imagine life before that instant when she was placed on my chest in the delivery room and everything changed.
We started going to a new moms’ group when Grace was almost three weeks old. I am so grateful for that community. And I want all eight of our babies to grow up and be college roommates. Or live on an organic farm together. Or something.
At our last formal meeting, the group’s facilitator asked us to share something that is going well, something that is challenging, and something that has changed. What stood out to me was the confidence I had gained over those first weeks. And how much we’ve grown and developed and changed together. And how I love her more than I could ever adequately express.
In honor of Grace’s first 100 days, 50 thoughts and reflections on life with our beautiful baby… I would have given you 100, but let’s be serious:
- I think the first thing I noticed about Grace was her nose. It is so tiny and sweet, I kiss it all the time.
- I’ve found so much love and support in both expected and unexpected places.
- More so than ever, I need other people. I need help. I need support. I need to be told that my crazy hair and (unintentionally) tight pants look good.
- It’s all very humbling, especially for someone who has always preferred to just do it myself.
- I am more grateful than ever for Nick, for our families and friends, and everyone who has been so kind and gentle and supportive to us.
- Having a community of new moms, sharing similar experiences, has been invaluable. (If you live in the Boston area and are expecting or have children, I highly recommend Mama and Me in JP.)
- We were discharged from the hospital on a Friday evening, but had to see our pediatrician early the next morning (I love that they’re open on weekends) for a weight check and some testing. The only thing more overwhelming than being sent home with a very new, very small, very needy baby… is packing her up and taking her back out in the world less than a day later.
- … but because we needed to, we figured it out. There wasn’t much time for panic or worry, and eventually necessity lead to competence (sort of… once I had the child locks on, got in the back seat to move Grace from her car seat to the Ergo… and then got trapped inside my own car).
- After I made a few solo trips to the doctor without, like, losing our child, Grace and I started going to more fun places, too.
- I made it my goal to get out of the condo at least once a day while on maternity leave.
- We spent Thursdays at my parents’ house, walked to Castle Island when it was warm enough, spent a shameful amount of both time and money in the stationary aisle at Target, and even got our first library card. Start ‘em young.
- I am so grateful to have good health care.
- Same goes for a wonderful pediatrician and group practice. They have been so helpful and supportive. And they don’t make me feel like a nutty first time parent. Even though I am a nutty first time parent.
- Breastfeeding is hard. Pumping at work isn’t exactly a walk in the park, either. But, for me, it’s worth it.
- I say, “Let’s take this one day at a time” to myself a lot lately.
- I am convinced the face babies make after they eat is the secret to world peace.
- I can’t remember the last time I’ve slept for more than 2-3 hours at once. I do remember the first time I slept long enough to have a dream after Grace was born though. I dreamt that President Obama was making a very important speech about Olympic figure skating.
- I don’t know why I thought this, but I was certain both Grace and I would be sleeping through the night before I returned to work. She wakes to be fed 2-3 times each night, meanwhile I have friends whose babies were sleeping through the night after a couple of weeks. It’s all very mysterious.
- I ‘m embracing our middle-of-the-night wakings as our time.
- Grace’s smile can stop me in my tracks. Even (or especially) at 3 AM.
- It’s the best gift.
- When I was pregnant, it was obvious (except at the beginning, when it was a little more like… maybe she’s pregnant, maybe she ate six pizzas). Especially towards the end, even complete strangers were nicer to me. People wanted to know when I was due, if I was having a girl or boy, how I was feeling. I appreciate that more now than I did a the time.
- I attract similarly well-intentioned attention when I am out with Grace, but when I’m by myself, I sort of feel a bit adrift. Like that I want to tell the mailman I have a baby, or I nearly tell the lady in line ahead of me that I am a mom, too.
- I guess I hadn’t given much thought to what navigating a new identity would be like, and in that way, I sort of miss being pregnant. Sort of.
- I like that we are creating new rituals and traditions with our sweet girl and our family.
- Children’s books either totally awesome, or totally weird. I’ve yet to find anything in between.
- Aaaaand I have yet to make it through Wherever You Are: My Love Will Find You without crying.
- It feels like I’m softer (and I’m not just talking about my mid-section) than before.
- And at the same time, becoming a mother has definitely made me tougher. I feel a stronger instinct to protect and defend. I guess that’s what happens when you’ve got more to lose.
- I sing to Grace all the time, but the only songs I seem to actually know the words to are Christmas songs.
- Clark has been so good. We’re really lucky.
- He has started trying to play with Grace, bringing toys and dropping them beside her, or gently nudging her when she’s on her activity mat.
- There is no sense in getting dressed until Grace is safely strapped into her car seat and we’re just about to head out the door. Any sooner is just asking to be, welp, puked on.
- I do not miss my maternity clothes.
- I consigned them all the first chance I had.
- Uh… except for my maternity jeans. I am saving those for Thanksgiving (or any other day when eating my body weight in potatoes seems like a real possibility).
- I wish I had Grace’s wardrobe. Cotton everything. Stretchy pants. Cuffins and built-in socks. Kimono tops. Please.
- The underwear you get at the hospital is, like, the best underwear ever.
- My favorite
thingto wear, though: my baby. Babywearing is the best.
- Same goes for skin-to-skin contact.
- I could stare at Grace all day long.
- Being away from her during the day has been challenging (but not nearly as challenging as I imagined), and I find myself wanting to hold her all night, even if it means I risk waking her up.
- I am thankful that I have both a family and a career.
- But I struggle a bit, wondering if I am doing enough as a wife, a mother and a worker.
- I’ve always been in awe of my parents, but even more so now that I am one.
- Nick is an incredible father. It’s like he’s known what to do right from the start.
- Labor and delivery was amazing. I’ve heard people compare the experience to all sorts of things (marathons and WODs and whitewater rafting, for example) and I can firmly say this: nothing compares.
- It was painful and long and, at times, a bit scary (and I am pretty sure I had it relatively easy after hearing others’ birth stories), but all of that fell away the second Grace was born.
- Some day I’ll tell you what it was like to ride an elevator with a bunch of dudes in suits on their way to work while my water was breaking. Maybe.
- After three months, I love that we’re starting to see and know Grace’s personality. She’s curious and busy, and definitely a morning person.
I wouldn’t trade a minute of any of these past 100 days for anything in the world.
Life with Grace just keeps getting better.
Also On Tap for Today:
- This ad hits the nail on the head: We made Grace, but she made us parents.
- Happy Friday!
- How to pick the perfect flowers for Mom
What are you celebrating today?