It’s been six months since Riley was born. What a ride it has been! Labor, delivery, a NICU stay, healing, postpartum anxiety, becoming a mom, breastfeeding, first smiles, first laughs, rolling over, sitting up, the early stages of crawling, introducing solids, at least 6 different diaper brand attempts, and more gear than we ever thought we would possibly need or use. Six. Months. This is as big of a celebration for Riley as it is for Russell and me; so, may I invite you to raise your glass of water, coffee, juice, wine, or beer, (hell, raise a sippy cup if that’s what you’ve got). Cheers to six months!!
Recently, I’ve noticed that I have more “OK. I’ve got this!” moments than “ohmygod….what?” moments, which is pretty fantastic ifidosaysomyself. I’ve gotten more comfortable in the clumsiness and messiness that is parenting. I’ve also noticed that I cry less and laugh more, and so does Riley!! My confidence is growing as a mom and frankly, as a person, and that feels amazing. Those first 100 days are no fucking joke.
A few weeks ago, we found out that Riley has a cow’s milk protein allergy. Since I’m nursing, this means no milk products for Mom either. Oddly, I felt a sense of relief. Eliminating dairy from her diet is something I could help with - which is such a different feeling from the helplessness that took over when she went septic. Honestly, giving up milk products has been easier than I’d thought. Maybe it’s because I’m seeing direct results in Riley’s health, or maybe it’s because there are so many alternatives now available that going milk-free isn’t a big deal. Maybe it’s because they think she’ll outgrow it by the time she turns one so it feels temporary. Or, maybe it was just easier to “fix” than anything else health-wise she has struggled with. All I can say is that I’ve never had stronger will-power than I do now. I’m loving my almond/cashew/coconut milk substitutes. Cashew milk ice cream is amazing. Just try it. You can thank me later. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find a delicious dairy free pizza, but…I’m finessing the art of going without. I’ve also tried many new and different things that I’m so glad I ended up trying. Things that I’ll keep in my diet forever, so I can’t complain too much.
I feel like this mentality is a microcosm of what I’ve learned over the past 6 months. I’ve missed out on a lot. Sleep, namely, but I also don’t remember the last movie I watched, and I’m desperately trying to finish a book I started 3 months ago. However, I’ve gained SO MUCH. I’m not saying that having children is the only way to find this perspective - absolutely not. Rather, I am suggesting that whatever it is in your life that you are doing, I hope you love it because every choice we make in life comes with compromises and sacrifices. At the end of the day, it’s nice to rest your head on your pillow and think more about the wonderful things you are doing than to ruminate on the things you are missing out on (Let’s be honest, it’s nicer to rest your head on a pillow and PTFO, but I digress).
For the most part, this is the life I’ve chosen. I’ve fought hard for it. It’s exhausting and rewarding and emotional. Tired is the new normal, but thank the universe for coffee, and three cheers for six months!