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For a long time after Hannah was born, I didn’t write. Anything.
I didn’t want to write. I didn’t know what to write about even if I did want to write. I didn’t have time to write. I was too tired to write.
I didn’t read anything either. From the beginning of February to the beginning of June, I read maybe two books. Usually, I read a book a week. But I didn’t feel like it. I didn’t have time.
I didn’t know how to make time. Being a full-time mother was just so all-consuming. I didn’t really know how to deal with the identity change. I didn’t know how to deal with what felt like a severe loss of myself.
I don’t blame Hannah for this. I just couldn’t adjust. I didn’t know how to go from being “mother of a dead baby” to “mother of a living baby.” I didn’t know how I was going to survive worrying constantly about this tiny, precious, perfect creature that had come into our lives. I didn’t know anything at all.
And then I began to accept that even if I didn’t know how, I had to do it anyway.
I have never been a person who loves babies. I didn’t hate them, and I didn’t necessarily feel awkward around them – I just didn’t like them much. Especially young babies. The babies that do nothing but eat and poop and sleep. I didn’t get the big deal about them. And, of course, everyone said that would change when I had one of my own.
Well, yes and no.
I love my daughter immensely. She’s pretty awesome, and yes, even adorable at times. But . . . the older she gets, the happier I am. The more I like her. The easier it is to deal with her. Even when it isn’t actually easier to deal with her, if that makes any sense. She was okay as a one-month old infant. As a nine-month old baby, she’s a lot more okay. And while I sometimes think about how tiny and helpless and precious she was seven, eight, even nine months ago, I don’t want to go back to that. I don’t really want to do the newborn thing again.
I love my baby, but that doesn’t mean I love babies. It took a while for me to admit that, because I felt guilty about it. I mean, babies are great, and I’m happy for all the people I know this year who have had beautiful, healthy babies, because that’s awesome. But babies aren’t easy for me, and that’s just something I’ve come to accept.
About six weeks ago, I started reading in earnest again, and I started thinking about how much I missed writing. But this is still the first real writing I’ve done since then. I’m out of practice. But I was starting to miss it more than ever. It’s not something I want to let go of. I probably won’t have time to write every day – Hannah the nine-month old is still as much of a handful as Hannah the one-month old. But I know that if I don’t do something now, the longer it will take me to do something later.
And I’d like to get a little practice in before November and Nanowrimo come ’round again.
So it’s time to face the wall and work on getting to the other side. This is where I’m starting.
Time is very strange. The days go by fast, but the weeks go by slowly. And then all of the sudden, I look up at the calendar and realize that Hannah will be two months old tomorrow.
It seems like it has taken ages for her to be two months old. But at the same time, it seems like only yesterday she was just one month old. It’s very peculiar.
She’s smiling a lot now, but she never seems to do it when I’ve got a camera in hand. She smiles at me and Geordie and especially at the hot-air balloons that my best friend Heather crocheted (or knit? honestly, I can’t tell the difference; sorry, Heather!). She loves those balloons. But most of the time, she has a serious-baby look on her face, like she’s not sure what’s going on but she’s going to do her best to figure it out.
She tolerates tummy time but isn’t thrilled with it. She gets frustrated when she can’t move the way she wants to, but she can move her head back and forth, and she’s successfully held it up for several seconds. On her back, she’s started throwing herself around a bit in attempts to turn herself up on her side. She’s very nearly got the hang of that, and it’s likely only a matter of days before she can do it whenever she wants.
Yesterday, she seemed to discover that her hands actually belong to her. She spent several minutes staring at them last night. She’s been rubbing her eyes when she’s sleepy. She hasn’t reached out to grab anything yet, but today she voluntarily clutched at my hand while we settling down for a bottle.
Her next doctor’s appointment is on Tuesday. I’m looking forward to seeing how she’s grown and how well she’s doing. I’m not looking forward to the shots. She’s not a very fussy baby, and she seems to take little injuries in stride (like when she scratches herself with her fingernails or when she face-plants the floor while trying to move her head around), but they’re so minor compared to shots. I have no idea how she’s going to react.
She sleeps in four-to-five hour stretches at night. Sometimes, she goes down easy. Sometimes, she doesn’t. As babies do. Some days, she naps well. Others, not so much. She’s fairly easy to entertain during the day, but in the evening, she wants more attention. Again, as babies do. She seems a very normal child.
Is it that normality that makes her so exceptional to me? I look at her sometimes and think, I have a daughter. A living, breathing daughter. It’s amazing. She’s amazing. And yet, she’s so normal. How strange.
It’s hard to explain. I don’t quite understand it myself. She’s so normal, so part of the every-day. But her mere existence in our lives is nothing short of miraculous. There were times in these past two years that I thought I would never be sitting here at my computer and every so often turning my head to make sure that my daughter is still sleeping quietly in her cradle. How very odd.
And how very wonderful.
Hannah Jayne turns a month old today. And finally, she is back up to her birth weight! In fact, she’s a little bit beyond, by just an ounce or two. After all the worrying and all the feedings, it’s good to know that we’re going in the right direction. Her appetite is wonderful, and the soy formula seems to be working much better for her. She has a one month well-child appointment on the 26th, and then hopefully we won’t have to see the doctor again until her two month appointment! Best of all, we get to spend Christmas knowing that all is well with her.