Back Home Again in Indiana
Boogs will be 2 in 1 month and not enough days, and I’m pretty sure I’ve told myself, “This is amazing – I’m finally starting to feel like myself again” exactly 6237 times since I popped him out. What no one tells you about postpartum recovery is that it comes in stages and (I’m suspicious) never actually ends. Part of this is growing/evolving as a human, but part of it is everything is so different after popping out a kid that you never fully adjust. As soon as you figure out your new normal, something changes and it’s all shot to hell again. Let’s start at the beginning.
The first stage of postpartum recovery is the downstairs recovery and baby weight loss. I maintain nothing feels better than replacing the Tore Up From The Floor Up Shuffle with normal steps. . .although fitting back into your pre-preggers clothes is a pretty close second. These two momentous events combine to make you think that maybe someday you’ll be a whole real person again. And then the exhaustion sets in.
The exhaustion brings with it a constant roller coaster of life is terrible and life is great. Did your child sleep for 3 hours straight last night? Then life is great and you could totally get used to this whole kid thing. Did your child sleep for 20 minutes and scream for 3 hours straight last night? Then life is terrible and how late is too late to leave this kid at a fire station? The exhaustion also brings something no one warns you about – a weak ass immune system. A simple cold (that would have maybe been a sneeze had you not popped out a kid in the first place) will take you down for 2 months, and you’ll end up on an antibiotic that gives you the runs something fierce and leaves you wondering if maybe the sweet release of death would be preferable at this point.
Once your child starts sleeping, that’s when the real “excuse me while I get my life back together” starts. You suddenly have the energy to do all the things! You’re back to working out, making dinner, vacuuming at least once a week, cleaning the bathroom more than once every 3 months. Look at you go! But just as you start thinking you’ve got this handled, something comes along to derail it. For me, it was the toddler room at daycare. That transition did not go well. As in this child didn’t sleep for 2 weeks did not go well. This was immediately followed by the appearance of molars and a cold which meant all my life back togethering was blown out in the span of a month, and I was back to being a pizza ordering, non bathing, hot mess garbage person living in a dumpster of a house.
Now obviously this stage (like all terrible stages) passed, I “caught up” on the month of sleep deprivation (spoiler alert: you never really catch up), and started the whole “excuse me while I get my life back together” phase again. This was in March. It’s now basically October, and I’m just now having that “I finally feel like myself again” moment. But unlike last time when I naively believed this feeling would last forever, this time I realize no good can come from this revelation; it only means derailment is right around the corner because parenting is nothing if not a vicious cycle.