The State of Things: 4 Months Out

…or 4 months in. I suppose it’s all how you look at it.

Remember when I said I wanted to write a 3-month postpartum update, because it seemed like that was a pretty significant amount of time (the end of the 4th trimester and all)? Well I guess I missed that window. So I started typing up a 4-month post the other day, got maybe a quarter of the way through and realized I was boring even myself. Which is a pretty sure sign I shouldn’t publish it. So instead, here is a somewhat random collection of 4-month updates, thoughts, and confessions. I can’t promise it won’t bore you, but at least it’s easy to skim in this format.

The most common thing people want to know (I think) is if I’ve lost all the baby weight yet. I’m finding the answer to be a lot more complicated than it seems. I lost a good chunk of weight pretty quickly and then it sort of stalled out a couple of months ago (I’m sure the almost nightly treats I consume have nothing to do with it!). Technically, I have maybe 5-6 pounds to go before I reach my starting weight (i.e. my weight at my initial 6 week OB appointment a year ago). And honestly – I’m expecting those extra pounds to hang around until Amelia is weaned.

DSC 0831Totally unflattering shot to demonstrate the belly at 11 weeks pp. At least Amelia looks cute!

But – extra pounds or not, my body is shaped very differently. Although my hips aren’t quite as curvy as they were a couple of months ago and I no longer look pregnant when I remember to stand up straight and suck in my belly, I’m just soft.  So yes, my clothes fit again (yay!) but they don’t all look as good on me as I remember.

The only parts of my body that are somewhat toned are my biceps — from lugging around a car seat, 500 bags, and a baby on a regular basis – and my calves – from carrying around so much extra weight over this past year. As for the rest? Well…let’s just say I now have quite the collection of cellulite.

I swore many times during pregnancy that I would not miss a single thing about it. Turns out that wasn’t quite true. Over the past few months, I’ve realized that I miss two things: 1. Not having to suck in my stomach. It was so freeing to just let it all hang out! and 2. The thick luscious locks that never shed. I am in the middle of some massive postpartum hair loss. My drains are so full that it’s a wonder I have anything left on my head.

Maybe that’s because at this point, pregnancy sort of seems like it was one long dream. It’s funny to me that you spend the better part of a year pregnant and then once it’s done (and you’ve recovered physically), it’s almost like you never were. I mean, sure, I have lasting physical reminders – my cavernous belly button, the canyon down the middle of my abs (more on that in a second), and oh yeah, that lovely scar. But for the most part I just feel like myself. And I ALMOST forget what it was like to be pregnant. Almost.

IMG 4863Last weekend before baby. Coat not even close to zipping

Labor and delivery though? Nope. No way. I am not sure I will ever be able to forget that.

As I mentioned above, I still have a lovely gap between my abdominal muscles. I wish I had known more about diastasis recti before and during pregnancy. My midwives never talked to me about it, and I just assumed a large separation between your ab muscles was normal. I’m sure I did things during pregnancy that didn’t help the issue…things I would have avoided had I known. Fortunately in the almost 19 weeks since I’ve given birth the gap has decreased — from about 3+ fingers 6 weeks pp to about one finger width at its widest point (around my belly button). So it’s not healed, but at least it’s slowly moving in the right direction. After months of doing nothing for fear that any core exercise would make it worse, I finally talked to my friend Kathleen at Oh baby! fitness. She gave me some really helpful suggestions and I’ve been working hard to engage my transverse abdominals ever since. Still haven’t given in and bought a splint yet. (FYI: some really helpful information about diastasis recti here.)

Except – your transverse abdominals are hard to find! Or at least, they are after they’ve been dormant for almost a year. I’ve been working on scooping or “hollowing” my belly – basically pulling my belly button into my spine — periodically throughout the day. Since I spend so much time sitting in the car, I practice during my commute (about the only productive thing I do during those 2.5 hours). But I really have to focus. The second I stop thinking about my posture, I’m slumped down with my “beer belly” hanging out once again.

Partly based on a recommendation from K and partially out of desperation from not being able to run, I signed up for Barre3 online classes. I will admit that I expected to be underwhelmed, and really didn’t see myself lasting beyond the 15-day free trial (I’m just against paying for online exercise classes). 10 minutes in to my first workout and my legs were toast!! Granted, there’s a lot more cellulite in there than muscle these days (see above) but still. I take back any negative thoughts I had about it…and will even admit that I’m sort of loving it. It’s a workout that I can easily do any time and since I’m still not running, it feels good to do something else active that doesn’t seem to bother my bum (I just modify/omit any core exercises that focus on the obliques for now). Plus, anything that works on toning said bum and those pesky transverse abdominals is good in my book.

I have become sort of obsessed with cloth diapers.

cloth diapers

Look, I know that the concept of using cloth to catch my baby’s poo, washing it in the same machine that cleans my clothes, and then reusing it is probably disgusting to many of you. Or at least probably doesn’t sound like your definition of fun. But I’m telling you…there’s something about those cute diapers that’s addicting. I can see now why people build up ridiculously large stashes. I’m one of those people who ordered a bunch of different kinds initially to try them out, and now I want more of my favorites (plus there’s so many more to try!). And yes, we are using them at daycare. This is more of a testament to the amazing teachers in the infant room than anything else, but it did take a little negotiating (side note: I’d be happy to write a post about using cloth diapers, particularly if you are working…if anyone is interested. But my main advice is if you want to use them in daycare: know your state’s regulations! They may be more helpful than you think).

I’ve bared my chest in more public places during the past 4 months than ever before in my entire life. Don’t get the wrong idea, I’m not walking around uncovered with the baby on my hip nursing at will, but you know, the baby gets hungry and she doesn’t really care where we are when that happens. I mean, in what other situation would I feel comfortable going partially topless at the office? (Answer: none). Luckily this whole nursing thing is becoming easier and feeling more natural all the time.

Really this whole being a mom thing is like that. Sometimes it is still strange to call myself a mom; to say that I have a daughter. But I’m amazed by how natural it feels. It’s not that I always know what to do, because I certainly don’t have most of the answers. But having a child of my own — it’s this huge life adjustment but also like nothing has changed, all at the same time.

Family photo_Easter

Related: I’m amazed by how much I have absolutely loved this baby stage. When Evan and I used to talk about the future, it was always about having kids…little people to do fun things with. I knew they’d be babies first, but the pictures in my head of our future family were always when they were older. And although I knew I liked babies, I was mostly excited about the kid stage. Except now that I have one I can’t even believe how much I love her at this age. It’s a lot of work, sure, but it’s way more fun than I ever imagined. I literally get to watch someone learn and grow right before my eyes. What’s more incredible than that?

Amelia_Gram_Easter bookLittle girl loves her books! Reading with Gram on Easter.

Speaking of babies, I’m sure you will all believe me when I say that Amelia is the most perfect, most wonderful baby ever (ha!). No but really, she’s pretty laid-back for the most part and I know we lucked out in that department. Which is why I sort of (kind of) hoped we’d breeze through the dreaded 4 month sleep regression. After all, she has always been a pretty good sleeper, and slept through the night at a fairly early age (don’t hate me). Shows how naive we are. I think (hope!) we are finally at the tail end of it, but I will tell you that it was worse than all those middle of the night, round the clock newborn feedings. At least then you expect to be up all night! I have never been closer to napping at my desk every afternoon than I was this past week.

Amelia 4 months

Good thing she’s so cute! It’s hard to stay grumpy when I see that little face.

And finally — it took me an entire week to write this post. But at least I got it done before the 5-month mark. Little victories.

Half Marathon Unplugged Race Recap

Like most of the running world, my thoughts (and heart) are focused on Boston this weekend. I’ve read articles, watched news stories, followed along with many runners who are preparing to run. While I don’t regret my ultimate decision to not register for this year’s race (in fact, looking back at pregnantLC I now wonder what I was even thinking), there is still a small part of me that wishes more than anything that I could be one of the thousands running the streets of Boston on Monday. Or at least be on the sidelines cheering (which is looking less and less likely as race day approaches). Best of luck to everyone running! I will be virtually cheering for all of you!

Last Saturday I ran my first race postpartum…which also happened to be my longest run in over a year. The result? It went way better than expected. Official time: 1:48:28 (8:17/mile). Besides a few small aches in my knees and pelvis/groin by the end, I felt surprisingly good. Not really like my “old” self, but it’s amazing how quickly the muscle memory comes back. Almost like I never took any time off at all.

The downside to all this is that I seem to have irritated my SI joint without realizing it. Despite the fact that it did not hurt at all during the race, I woke up the next morning with what I initially thought was sciatica. Long story short, a week of pain and a little research later, I’m pretty sure I have SI Joint Dysfunction, a problem that is common during pregnancy and after childbirth. More about that later. For now, let’s focus on the fun part, shall we?

The end result was better than I could have asked for, but the entire event didn’t go quite as seamlessly as that. Here’s how it all went down.

Half Marathon Unplugged Recap

Night before, sometime around 9:00pm

I walk aimlessly around the house, trying to gather up everything I’ll need for race day but not quite remembering how this part of the routine goes. I get out a top and running shorts but beyond that I’m sort of lost. Suddenly remember that I have no fuel for the race. And although I never used to take anything besides water/Nuun during the half marathon distance, circumstances are a little different now. I briefly entertain the idea of running out to the store to find something (anything!) with calories…before remembering that this is Vermont and everything closes around 8:00pm. Decide not to worry and go to bed instead.

Sometime in the middle of the night

Darling child, who otherwise sleeps through the night (yes, I realize how lucky we are) has brought another cold home from daycare and wakes up in the middle of the night because she can’t breathe (poor baby). Stumble into the room and try to quickly suck her nose out, which succeeds only in making her mad. Abandon that idea and try to coax her back to sleep. After what seems like only a few minutes later, she wakes up again. This time I “accidentally” kick Evan awake and he goes in to wrap her back up and give her the pacifier.

6:00AM race morning

Alarm goes off. Baby, of course, is now sleeping soundly. Stumble around the house trying to gather up my things and prepare breakfast. Realize we have absolutely no food in the house besides one old, stale bagel (yum). Laugh at how completely unprepared for this whole thing I am. Make the last minute decision to stop at a local cafe on the way to the race for food and coffee.

Gently wake up baby. Feed her and then rush around the house trying to gather up everything she’ll need for the day. Kick myself for forgetting to get Amelia’s stuff ready last night while I was gathering up my own. On a whim, grab a couple handfuls of jelly beans and stuff them in a baggy for the race. Hey, sugar is sugar, right? Somehow make it out of the house relatively on time.

9:45 – 11:00 AM

Make it to packet pick up and then drive over to the start. Find a parking spot right behind the porta-potties and nurse the baby in the backseat of the car while other runners stretch outside. Pump out a few extra ounces to ensure I’m slightly more…comfortable. Nothing like a good nursing/pumping session to really “pump” you up for a race! Manage to make it to the start with a few minutes to spare.

team watermelon preraceTeam Watermelon – cutest cheerleader on the course!

Miles 1 – 4

With very little fanfare, the announcer yells go and the crowd surges. I surge with them, falling in step with the lead women. I look at the small lean runners around me and size them up, assessing the competition. I am light…I am floating…I am fast…for about 30 seconds, anyway. Then I look at my watch, remember I have no business keeping that pace for 1 mile, let alone 13, and crash right back to reality.

For the rest of that first mile, it’s hard to get in the zone. I can’t find my groove. I’m thinking about how out of shape I am, how running doesn’t feel as smooth and effortless as it used to. I find myself wishing I was fit and strong, annoyed that I can’t run the race like my old self. Hating the clunky, awkward feeling of my stride.

And then Avicii comes on my playlist singing, “I can’t tell where the journey will end, but I know where to start.” It’s exactly what I need to hear to snap me out of my weird funk. This race wasn’t the result of weeks of hard training — it’s the beginning of a new journey. I don’t know how long it’ll take to get back to my pre-pregnancy racing self, or if I ever will be that runner again. But I’ve got to start somewhere.

I finally relax, focus on having fun and enjoying the day. The sun is shining and spring is in the air. And I’m running! Life is good.

Half unplugged miles 1_4

Miles 5 – 8

The first four miles of the race wind through neighborhoods before entering the bike path. It’s flat and beautiful. For the first 5 miles, I didn’t allow myself to look at my watch (besides that moment immediately after the start) for fear that a) I would realize I was going too fast and panic or b) I would see how slow I was running and become frustrated. Instead I’ve tried to run completely by feel. Gauging my effort and keeping things relaxed. So when I look down at 5 miles in and notice that I’m averaging an 8:0X pace, I’m pleasantly surprised. A little panicked, since my only real goal had been to keep it under 10:00–okay, fine, 9:00–minute miles. But I feel completely in control of the pace. I figure my body will slow down when it needs to.

After that, my focus is on making it to Evan and Amelia. I know they’re somewhere around Mile 6 with Nuun and jelly beans. I see so many moms and dads on the sidelines with their babies — waiting while their partner runs. I can’t even believe how happy that makes me…how excited I feel to be a part of that group now (cheesy, I know. But true!).

Suddenly I see them on the side of the bike path and I feel a surge of energy. I say hello, quickly take a couple sips of Nuun, grab the jelly beans and continue running. The moment goes by way too fast. As soon as I’ve left them behind I wonder why I didn’t linger longer…there was still a long way to go before I would see them again.

postpartum half 1

I start to get a little hungry so I suck on a few jelly beans. Not quite the race fuel of champions, but desperate times… Unfortunately all the candy does is make me thirstier. After this endless, frigid winter, 60 degrees feels so much warmer than I’m used to and all I can think about is getting to that next water station sometime after the 7 mile marker. I finally make it there, gulp down water and hope I have enough energy to get through the next 6 miles.

Splits: Miles 5 – 8

Half Unplugged miles 5_8Ignore the third column – that’s something Strava calculates.

Miles 8-11

Unfortunately, just one mile later things start catching up to me. I’m starting to feel a little achey…the miles taking their toll. I don’t feel out of energy, but I don’t feel super pumped about running 5 more miles either. And I’m thirsty. So incredibly thirsty. I curse myself for not carrying water with me…or at least taking the Nuun from Evan a couple miles ago. I should have known – I drink a lot of water normally. Add breastfeeding to the mix and my thirst is out of control. I start fantasizing about the next water stop – 3 miles away. I tell myself I just need to make it there. The miles keep ticking by. I try not to look at my watch too much but can tell I’m slowing down a little. At mile 10 I eat a few more jelly beans  to celebrate making it to double digits…and almost immediately regret it (so much sugar, so little water). Just 3 more miles to go, I tell myself. That’s nothing.

Finally make it to the water stop and grab two cups, sucking them down like I haven’t had a drink in days.

Splits: Miles 8 – 11

Half Unplugged Miles 8_11

 

Miles 12 – Finish

The last two miles are the worst. We turn off the bike path and into the park. I notice fast runners coming back toward me in the other direction, and I start to wonder just how far they had to run before turning around. We weave into a neighborhood and up hills that feel a lot steeper than they should. I see the 12 mile marker but we still aren’t turning around. I curse the course designers for putting this stupid little loop at the end. Just make it back to the park, I tell myself.

We finally get back to the park and I check my watch – 12.66 miles. The finish is closer than I thought! I cruise down the hill, round a corner and there it is. I see the clock, still under 1:50, give a final surge and “sprint” to the finish line, smiling at Evan and Amelia as I speed by. For a second I feel like my old self again – running fast and light and free.

I cross the finish line and immediately everything hurts. My quads, my groin…I feel like I’ve run a full marathon, not a half. But I made it!

Splits Miles 12 – 13.1

Half Unplugged miles 11_finish

Post-race

Evan and Millie_postrace pizza

Hobble around for a few minutes to “loosen” up my legs. Hop in the car, nurse the baby (sorry about the sweat, Little One) and make our way to our new post-race tradition: American Flatbread. Eat my weight in pizza and for the first time ever (since I was pregnant the other two times we’ve been there) enjoy a nice refreshing beer.

postrace beerAmelia gave the pizza and beer two thumbs up!

And my cute little cheerleader? She was amazing. So good and happy the whole day. And the best race day motivation I could’ve asked for.

 

How Not to Train for a Half Marathon

*Especially if it’s your first one in a very long time.

I’m running a half marathon tomorrow. Not only will this be my first (non-pregnant) race since November 2012 (yikes!), but it will also be the longest distance I’ve run in a year. Considering the previous statement, you would think that I’d have spent a long time diligently training; slowly building up my base to ensure that I am completely prepared for this exciting reentry into the world of racing.

I had every intention of doing this. Or rather, I intended to build up as slowly as a person can over the course of 10 weeks after 6 weeks of limited activity while recovering from a c-section. In hindsight, my April half marathon goal may have been a tad ambitious – not because 10 weeks isn’t enough time to train for a half but…when you’re starting from zero and find yourself with significantly less free time and slightly different priorities well… let’s just say my intentions never actually made their way into the action stage.

Remember when I posted this plan and said that I would use it as a guide for my training? Well, I took the “guide” part pretty literally. I did okay for a little while and then a cold, a heel injury, the return to work and a stomach flu all sort of derailed my plans. So you know, I may have skipped a run (or 10) and just sort of hobbled my way through training as best as I could.

In the spirit of full disclosure and transparency, I present to you my actual Postpartum Half Marathon Training Plan.

Don’t try this at home, kids. Results not guaranteed.

postpartum half marathon plan

There were a bunch of walks and some limited strength training in here too, but you get the idea. In sum: this is not the way you should train for a half (clearly). And you can see where I realized I better get myself in gear and step it up. Would I recommend cramming your long runs into the last two weeks of training before a big race? Nope. But hey, I’m still standing. And since I didn’t die on my 11 mile run last weekend and was actually able to maintain a fairly steady pace the entire time, I’m obviously super prepared for the race tomorrow. Let’s just hope a little race day adrenaline and the addition of a cute little cheerleader on the sidelines is enough to get me through those final miles.

Amelia standing

Assuming I survive*, I promise to be back soon to update you with all the gory details.

*Despite how the above post might sound, I’m actually really excited about the race tomorrow. Okay, so I’m also incredibly stressed. What was I thinking, signing up for a Saturday race 2 hours away from my house after only my second full week back in the office (a week that has been incredibly draining, I might add)?! But mostly excited. I can’t say I have no goals for the race, because obviously I would like to finish, and I’d love if I could somehow do it between 2:00 and 2:10. But I’m not stressing about the pace at all. The plan is to go out there, take it easy, and rediscover the joy (and pain!) of racing again. In some ways I feel like I am starting from scratch – I knew how to race before I got pregnant, knew to dial it back a bit in races during pregnancy, but I’m not so sure how to race now…in this awkward, out of shape postpartum state. If nothing else, it should be an interesting experience. And a good baseline to see where all that time off and a few weeks of minimal training has gotten me.

Life Lately: Overwhelmed

I’ve started and re-started this post about a half a dozen times. It’s pretty obvious that I haven’t been blogging as much lately, and whenever I get out of the routine it’s hard to find the words to start. I wonder if I even have anything interesting or useful to say these days.

But I suppose not every post needs to be earth-shattering…or even have a real point. So let’s just jump right in.

If there’s one word to describe how I’ve been lately, it’s: OVERWHELMED. Humbled by this transition, feeling like I’m treading water without really moving forward. Don’t get me wrong — things aren’t bad and I’m not unhappy. In fact, in many ways my life is fuller than ever. But I still find myself struggling to adapt to this new normal, to figure out a routine and find myself again somewhere in the midst of all this change.

People have told me many times that they appreciate the “real-ness” of my blog. I sort of wonder if that’s just a nice way of saying that I sound negative a lot of the time. I really hope that’s not the case, but this past year has been a crazy one. And pregnant + new mom life isn’t always rainbows and butterflies. There’s a lot of really wonderful, really amazing parts too. But most of the time I feel like I’m just making things up as I go.

So with that said, here’s how things stand around these parts:

Work

As you know, I returned to work last week (thank you all so much for your advice and words of encouragement!). To say it kicked my butt would be an understatement. The long commute (70+ minutes each way), the transition to daycare, figuring out how to use my brain again, learning which outfits are easy to pump/nurse in and which are a big, fat fail (like the dress I wore yesterday…lesson learned)…it’s all a bit overwhelming. And I only had to go into the office 3 days last week. Plus I got to visit Amelia during the day. In terms of a transition, I think I probably had it pretty easy.

work selfieDoes this angle make me look fat?

And yet I still find myself struggling. I knew how to be “working Lauren” and I finally felt like I was starting to figure out “mom Lauren,” but this “working mom” thing is a whole different animal. It’s thrown me for a loop and I’m not quite sure how to balance it all…let alone continue to cook healthy meals, take care of the dog (poor pup has not been walked nearly enough), and RUN (more on that later).

It’s not even that I need more hours in my day. It’s just somehow learning to be more efficient with the hours I do have. I’m trying to give myself some grace, but the perfectionist in me wants to have it all figured out already. Doesn’t matter that this is completely unrealistic. It’s only been a week…obviously there’s going to be some growing pains along the way. But I find myself missing some aspects of my old life. Not necessarily that life itself, but just the ease with which I used to be able to balance things. Why did I always think I was so busy? What did I used to do with my time? And how the heck do people do this with multiple children?? I’m struggling to manage with just one.

On the positive side, Amelia is adjusting (sort of…she cries whenever I leave but at least she’s able to settle down quickly), the daycare has been great about using cloth diapers (win) and I’m still able to pump/nurse during the day (major win!), so I’m focusing on those little victories for now and hoping everything else will fall into place eventually.

Running

Has taken a backseat. You don’t need to hear my excuses, since that’s pretty much all they are. But for someone who was so excited to get back into training again, I’m a bit ashamed to admit that there hasn’t been much of it lately.

I had some pretty awesome runs while we were in Florida a couple of weeks ago. Nothing like warm weather and flat terrain to help you find extra motivation to get out the door. I even managed a short, speedy run where I got my pace down to numbers I haven’t seen in forever. I finally felt like myself again. I was back!

IMG 5635First stroller run. An easy, flat 2-mile jog

And then I hurt my heel and took two big steps backwards. To be fair, I felt some pain coming on during that last run in Florida, but it loosened up as I was running and, you know, it was my LAST CHANCE for a warm run so I kept going. When it comes to running injuries, I’m pretty skilled at self-delusion. Unfortunately after that run it hurt to put any pressure on my heel. And since I couldn’t really rest and stay off it for the remainder of the day, it only got worse.

So I took a week completely off running and even scaled back with the walks, since that seemed to irritate it as well. The few times I have run since have just been okay. Maybe it’s the never-ending cold, maybe it’s the exhaustion from being back at work, or you know — the fact that my body has been to hell and back in the past year (okay, maybe a bit dramatic but you get the point), but my motivation is just lagging lately.

It wouldn’t matter so much if I didn’t have a little race on my calendar in a few weeks. I am completely undertrained for this thing, but I’m going for it anyway. Call me stupid if you like, but I’ve already been planning on running a PW and if I have to walk a bunch, so be it. At this point, adding another DNS to the list feels worse than DNRTWR (oh you don’t know that acronym? It stands for “did not run the whole race”…obviously).

Baby

Is growing like a weed. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen the baby spam. And yeah, I know it’s a lot. But I just can’t help myself. I find it so amazing that this little girl seems to be changing before my eyes. I know not everyone cares about babies or parenthood. And I also realize that most people don’t need to know how many hours Amelia slept last night, how often she eats, how much she weighs now, or even the fact that she laughed for the first time last weekend(!!). But it’s a huge part of my life now and I’m trying to figure out how to fit all that in with the girl who used to be all about running and would only spam people with pictures of her dog. The blog will never go back to the way that it was, but I do hope there’s a little more running and a few less excuses in the future.

Amelia_3 months

Anyway, since I’m now three months out, I really want to pull together another recovery update. Not necessarily because I’m back to my old self and running at my old speeds (far from it!), but because 3 months seems like a pretty significant milestone in both babyhood and recovery. As long as I’m able to get to it sometime within the next month…

 

Thoughts on Returning to Work

We’re back from warm and sunny Florida. While the break from this endless winter was restorative, I was a little sad to see that my dreams of all the snow melting in my absence did not come true. In fact, we have another storm in the forecast for tomorrow. 10 – 12 new inches of the white stuff — this has got be a bad joke.

Evan & A_sanibelDreaming of sun and sand

Anyway, I’m sure you don’t need a detailed recap of my vacation. Although I did want to talk about the plane ride (we survived!), vacationing with a 2-month old (is not really a vacation, but you know…), and some amazing WARM runs, that’s not what’s on my mind today. Instead I can’t stop thinking about the huge change in routine that is going to happen next week. My return to work.

At the moment, I’m going on almost 30 hours solo with a sick baby. By the time Evan gets home tonight, I’ll have “worked” an almost 40-hour shift without relief. I’m exhausted from waking up multiple times with a congested baby, and she’s (understandably) a little grumpy about not being able to breathe. This parenting thing is, by far, the hardest “job” I’ve ever had.

And yet, all I can think about right now is the fact that next week at this time, I won’t be able to sit here and snuggle with her all day. I won’t get to be there when she wakes up from a nap with some of her biggest smiles. I won’t be the one comforting her when she’s upset or over-tired. Or the one who gets to tell Evan about all the things she did that day — things that are really only exciting to new parents. Someone else will get to take her through her daily routine while I sit in my office, missing her.

Red Sox babyAmelia “caught” her first baseball (okay so the awesome guy we sat next to caught it and gave it to her, but she was clearly super excited about it.

I don’t want to comment on what is better — being a working mom or staying at home with your kids. I know both options have value, and every family needs to decide what is right for them. Right now, it makes the most sense for our little family if I work. And really — I worked hard for my job. Putting time and money into a graduate degree, helping create a project that I believe in and work that I’m excited about. I’m finally at a really good spot in my career, something I’ve worked toward for a long time. When I was pregnant, it was so easy to think about coming back. I had no doubts that I’d return to work after Amelia was born. I could balance it all, I was sure. Plus, March seemed so far away.

But now that she’s here, things are a lot more complicated. And I have feelings. So many feelings. I always knew it would be an adjustment, but I didn’t realize how hard it would be. Even though I know  that in terms of a daycare situation, I have it pretty good. I work at a small hospital with an on-site daycare. Even though I have a horribly long commute (something we’re working on), I get to bring her to work with me and visit her during the day. I’m in an office with other women who are so excited about the baby and want to hang out with her at lunch. I realize that’s a luxury most working moms don’t have. And I should consider myself lucky because of it.

Still – the feelings at this point are almost overwhelming. Guilt, worry, sadness. Stress about how I’m going to manage it all. Regret that I can’t stay home.

I don’t have any real point to this post. Except to complain about my first world problems, I suppose. I know that either choice involves sacrifice — and sacrifice is just something you need to get used to when you choose to have children. I’m lucky that I get to make that choice.

And who knows…maybe I’ll come back in a few months and tell you how much I love working. How incredibly thankful I am for the opportunity to use my brain in a field I’m passionate about while also being a mom to the cutest little human I’ve ever seen.

Amelia readingWe take our reading very seriously

But for now, the anticipation is awful. I’ve heard that’s actually the worst part. Please tell me that’s true. And that I don’t sound like a completely entitled idiot for complaining about all these things (though maybe I do, a little. It’s okay if you rolled your eyes at me while reading this…I can only imagine how I must sound).

Meanwhile, I plan to accomplish nothing this week besides enjoy my last few days of around-the-clock baby-time.

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