Our baby girl is already six months old and I’m over here frantically collecting memories in my head. Time is passing so quickly! These slow days/fast weeks feel wonderful yet mundane in their sameness. Naps, diapers, breastfeeding, bottles, laundry. Rinse and repeat. Every day looks much like the one before. And yet I know that eventually, I will ache for this first year of our daughter’s life, wishing I could sink right back into the familiar comfort of it all.
These first six months have been the ultimate sacrifice of self, with zero motivation to be anyone other than ‘mama.’ I’ve wholeheartedly given all of myself to our tiny human, and so my own creative pursuits have fallen by the wayside. I stopped reading books, stopped sketching, stopped even thinking about creative things. My brainpower is used for everything else. The invisible load of motherhood is real. I can tell you generally how many packs of diaper wipes we have left, if a specific outfit is in the laundry, how many clean bottles are left, and Penny’s next appointment (vaccinations!). I’m usually in bed with Penny by 8pm. It’s all consuming.
Slowly, small bits of creativity are creeping back into the periphery. I’m reading books on my iPhone during naps. I’m writing again. My brain is stuck on the idea of translating some of our mundane motherhood moments into illustrations. There is so much beauty to be found! These memories that I’m collecting are turning into a series of sorts, framed as a ‘view from above’ and looking down on us as we nap, feed, rinse, repeat.
So, here is the first illustration. Our fourth trimester postpartum nest consisting of our bed, snacks, water, RuPaul on repeat, figuring out breastfeeding, and healing. Dirty laundry, dirty bathrooms. The lack of sleep daze.
I followed the 5-5-5 rule—a 15 day postpartum tradition inspired by the 40 day lie in period from many Indian and Chinese cultures. The first 5 days were spent lying down in bed. No visitors, and no getting up aside from using the washroom. This allowed my body to heal and my organs to slowly move back down into place. When your placenta detaches from the uterine wall, it leaves an open wound! Your perineum just went through hell! Laying down helps reduce the length of postpartum bleeding. This also allowed for maximum skin to skin time with baby, and intense bonding. And naps! And also, the experience of the hormonal plummet and my breastmilk coming in. Day 4 to 5 baby blues were so intense. I was raw and weepy and bleeding and sore and my boobs were always out. I sat on a puppy pee pad in case of leaking. I wore pink diapers haha!
The second 5 days were spent on bed. This meant sitting up, lots of skin to skin time and cuddles, but with slightly more slow movement. I did slow walks to sit in the rocking chair in the nursery for a change of scenery. I cried a lot with feelings of inadequacy and overwhelm. I craved normalcy and wondered when my body would feel like my own again. My nipples were shredded wheat and we discovered that Penny had a tongue and lip tie, and we went to get a frenectomy for her. My body was so unhappy.
The third 5 days were spent around the bed. This allowed for some light movement for 30 minutes at a time, standing, slowly walking, and feeling out my new postpartum body. At this point both our mamas came to visit, which was about as early as we wanted to welcome visitors. Knowing Penny will be our only child, we felt so strongly about reveling in the first few weeks, and adjusting to our new family! I’m so grateful that we honored the time needed to do so. It was exactly what we needed.
This mix of motherhood and creativity feels just right for where I’m at. I can’t wait to dive in and illustrate more of our mundane motherhood moments!