I wish I had done things differently. I wish I had made different choices. Not the tough choices in how to parent my son. Those were natural. We did what was best for us and don’t regret any of it. No, I wish I had done things differently when it came to taking care of myself. I wish that I had listened to some of the advice given to me. I wish I had listened to myself. I wish I had listened to what it was that my body needed.
SLEEP WHEN THE BABY SLEEPS. Oh, how I wish I had listened to this one. I got this nugget of wisdom often. I scoffed each time I received it. Honestly, how could anyone expect me to sleep when the baby sleeps? Didn’t they know I had laundry to do? A shower to take? Dinner to make? A dishwasher to load? Rugs to vaccuum? Mail to open? The list went on. It was endless. There was so much to do. I was exhausted but I couldn’t stop. The truth of the matter is that no matter how hard I tried to keep up, I couldn’t. The house was never clean enough. The laundry was never done. The mail was never opened and sorted. It was an impossible task list to accomplish by someone that was exhausted.
I wish I had listened to this nugget. I think we would have all been better off if I did. I have the luxury of taking a nap when my baby sleeps. Not everyone has that luxury. I failed to take advantage of it when he was a newborn but you can bet your last dollar that on days that I am tired, I curl right up and nap away while he sleeps. We are all better off on the days that naps happen.
HYDRATE. My doula told me to stay hydrated when I was in labor. I drank a bottle of water. I considered myself hydrated. I am pretty sure that my difficult labor was really just a result of being dehydrated. I kid you not. One might surmise that I am bright enough to stay hydrated. I had just given birth and was nursing a baby. I needed rest (see above) and nutrition. I needed my strength to take care of my baby. I knew all of these things and yet did none of these things. For an entire year, I was lucky if water passed my lips more than a dozen times. This is coming from the woman that was pretty sure if it was possible to drown from water consumption, she was constantly drowning. I drank water like we were about to face a lifelong drought and may never see it again. That is until I gave birth. Then, I drank no water.
Lack of water reeked havoc on my body. I am not sure how I managed to survive the first year postpartum actually. The body is comprised mostly of water. It is essential for our body and mind to function. I wish I had listened to my body. I wish I had done what I had always done. I wish I had consumed water. I wish I had stayed hydrated.
MOISTURIZE. Lack of sleep and hydration reeked havoc on my skin. It is a cosmetic surgeon’s dream. A canvas of chaos just waiting to be graced by a physician’s gentle touch. Seriously, a little botox and collagen wouldn’t hurt at this point. My skin is in need of some TLC to combat the signs of aging and stress.
I wish I had been kinder to my skin. I wish I had taken the few minutes each morning and evening to properly moisturize it. To nourish, love and protect it. I am doing it now and hope that I can mend my broken relationship with my skin before mediation needs to be sought in the form of needles and injectables.
ENJOY. Another nugget of wisdom that slipped past me far too often than I care to admit. I did not enjoy the first year as much as I could have. There are far too many things to list that kept me distracted and not able to enjoy my baby as he blossomed. I look at him now in the stark light of day and realize that he is a toddler. The newborn days have long since passed. The days of infancy are only mere fleeting memories. We are in a different phase now. One where he is developing autonomy, exploring, growing and creating. This is an exciting stage. So exciting actually. I do love it but I would be lying if I didn’t say that I long for just a day or two to hold him as a newborn. To soothe and rock him. To spend one more night awake every hour and enjoy it this time. I missed those days. They were a blur. I wish I had only savored the moments a little longer and not wished for him to grow up so fast so that I may sleep an extra hour. For now, I wish I could slow the clock down and keep him little for just a bit longer.