Last week I felt like a real, living, breathing human being.
It took 15 weeks, but it finally happened. Shit, actually, it's taken months. I can't pretend I ever felt human in the later months of my pregnancy.
Needless to say, last week was amazing.
Last week I went for a run outside during my lunch break. Twice. I felt the sunshine, I ran along the lakefront, I felt good. I felt like me.
Last week my dearest, best partner-in-running-and-life crime came to visit, and we ran. We hadn't gone for a run together -- something that, in another life, was a regular occurrence -- in nearly a year. It felt so normal. We drank coffee on the couch afterward and gossiped. I felt like me.
Last week Todd and I went for a run together. It felt like us.
Last week Owen continued to sleep through the night and be uncontrollably precious. This isn't anything new, but it remains one of life's perks. I felt like superwoman.
LAST WEEK I BOUGHT NEW UNDERWEAR. I feel like this, right here, was the final door closing on the messy postpartum chapter. I spent months in maternity underwear and panty liners. I won't pretend that maternity underwear stops after pregnancy. It doesn't.
I'm also still wearing maternity tops regularly. But underwear, you guys. The underwear situation is a thing.
Ladies, raise your hand if you have "period underwear." You know the ones. Shoved to the side of your drawer, specifically designated for when you just don't care, and maybe you should toss them, but probably you can squeak by because no one sees your underwear that week anyway.
And even if they do, [shrug].
Okay so get this: pregnancy and postpartum means period underwear every single day. Either your ass is growing or your bladder is leaking or hormones are wreaking havoc or you just had a baby and your body's decided to expel all remaining fluid out of your uterus for another six weeks.
It's fucking disgusting. It's months of disgusting.
And then one day it's just... done. And you can go buy seven pair of underwear for $29 at Aerie, even though it's totally a store for teenagers and 21-year-olds, but you just don't care because your ass can fit comfortably into brand new, colorful underwear and nothing will ruin them and it doesn't matter that they aren't conducive to panty liners because you don't need panty liners anymore and everything that ever happened in the 35 years leading to this moment is awesome. Finally you feel like a woman who has a body that serves a purpose beyond nourishment for a baby. And that purpose is on sale in a bin at a store in the mall.
Last week was good, you guys. I felt good.
But now it's Wednesday of a new week, and even though I've got fresh underwear and a painfully perfect and adorable baby, I just hate everything between Monday and Friday. I do. I'm hungry all the time. There is never enough food in my vicinity. The food I have is never delicious enough. I have to pump every three hours. I'd rather just be nursing my baby. Pumping makes me feel like a robot. I'm tired. I wake up at 5 a.m. to get myself and Owen ready to leave the house by 6:45 a.m. so I can get to work by 7:30 a.m. so I can cram in a full work day in between pump sessions so I can run out the door at 4:30 p.m. so I can get stuck in traffic so I can pick up my baby so I can spend the evening preparing for the next day and doting on the baby I missed all day so I can lull him to sleep in time for me to get to sleep so I can wake up six hours later and do it all again.
I'm crabby. I blame hunger. Breastfeeding is no joke. Breastfeeding and returning to running is even less of a joke. THERE IS NOT ENOUGH FOOD. My hunger is insatiable.
This is probably why I'll never lose the last 10 pregnancy pounds.
The pattern of life right now is daunting, which is odd because I'm a creature of habit. I like routine. I like things perfectly organized in a box and put away on the appropriate shelf in the right closet and kept there until necessary and put away when I'm done. But this routine is not enjoyable. I spend 10 hours away from Owen while I pump his food from my boobs so someone else can feed it to him the next day, lather, rinse, repeat.
Maybe I'm in that honeymoon phase where I want to be with him all the time, but, I just want to be with him all the time. Is that a thing?
Or I want to be alone because I'm tired. But I don't want to be alone because then I'm not with him. Repeat forever. This is the conundrum. And then I realize that I will probably never have alone time ever again, and suddenly I understand what other moms are talking about when they say they're "touched out." There is always someone with you. There is always someone touching you.
I get it. But right now, I still like having Owen close. And when he's not close, I just want to sleep. Or eat.
Is this just life with an infant? This is normal, right? There are so many things about being a mom that I just get now. I understand how you give your entire self to your child and you're not even mad about it. You want to. That child came from your body. You give willingly and then wonder where there is more to give.
The struggle in the early months is finding you have nothing left to give to anything else. Except buying seven pair of underwear for $29.
So I'm aware that I need to find balance. The first thing I'm going to do when I find balance, though, is sleep for 12 hours. In the meantime, at least I'm not wearing maternity underwear anymore.
Baby steps. But not real baby steps yet because I'm not ready for that.