One of my best friends just gave birth a few days ago, and in witnessing her I’m reminded of how heroic and excruciatingly fragile new mothers are. Living through those early days of recovering from birth is incredibly intense.
The ways our bodies morph to accommodate and bring forth a new being always leaves injuries. Those injuries are painful. They require time and care to heal. In the case of my sweet friend, it sounds like the birth brought some physical traumas that will need to be processed later when her body has recovered and she has more internal resources to direct inward. For now, her focus is on sleep and nourishment and learning how to mother this new little life.
But inside, I know she is swirling. The early days and weeks of motherhood are just plain surreal. Who she knew herself to be has dissolved and someone different is beginning to emerge, bit by bit, between naps and meals and tears and feeding sessions. This new identity is foreign and unsteady, and can flip hourly between feeling fraudulent to feeling burdened and then to feeling victorious and sometimes even confident. My friend is not a first time mom, so I’m glad she knows that this huge transitional time is finite, and that she will come out the other side.
Postpartum time feels wonky and kind of endless. I know dusk is often the most difficult time of day for new moms, when another long night is looming ahead. Darkness can feel like a giant tomb of loneliness pulling you in and under. When the sun goes down each night, I’m thinking about my friend and hoping all the postpartum support she arranged in advance is helping her find some ease and get some real sleep. I’m hoping the long days of summer, with all that extra sunlight, helps her stay out of the dark abyss that many of us mamas have had to struggle through.
May all new mothers receive sunlight and care and supportive hands and hearts around them as they make their way through the early days.