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a summer's silence (& a baby, for real)

Megan Betz

I meant to return to blogging this summer, but a research assistantship, second part-time job, & pregnancy drained all of my energy in their over 40 hours per week of demands. Granted, the greatest demand of pregnancy was to eat ice cream and then sleep. But if I didn't listen, my body let me know about it...

Now, the fall semester has begun & I am entering week 3 of my six weeks away from school to be with my new daughter. This is supposed to be down time--time to recover, get used to her sleeping habits, figure out a breastfeeding schedule, sort out child care, develop a new budget, & stare at this incredibly beautiful new human. Everyone has told me to take it easy.

I'm not good at taking it easy. Three days after coming home from the hospital, I thought I was feeling good. I fed our baby & told my husband I was running to Target--my first time away from Baby--to pick up a few items for this weird post-partum body. By the time I walked into the store, I was regretting my decision. I ended up waddling around the store in pain, holding back tears. I'd strained my body already. By the time I got home, all I could do was stand in the kitchen & cry while my husband took my shoes off. He helped me into bed, & I vowed to take my time with the rest of my recovery. 

That said, my Comps Calendar is screaming at me. Near the end of my pregnancy, I got a July-to-July desk calendar on which to map out every page I need to read & every write-up that needs accomplished. I tried not to schedule reading in September, but it didn't work. Each day, I wake up with a goal in mind--ease myself back into reading, get comfortable with it, then find a way to begin catching up. Each day poses new challenges--figuring out how to wash our cloth diapers, having a baby who cluster-feeds for hours at a time, then a sudden change in sleeping patterns as a growth spurt attacks our household.

I'm not good at "easy." I'm not good at self-care. I'm not good at taking things in stride. But I'm learning, as this tiny human demands to be put first--and as I realize nothing else in the world comes close to how much I love her. So, each day I'm learning to adjust my own expectations & learning how to live with myself as a scholar who may need to adjust deadlines. I'm learning to be honest about how much help I need, & I'm learning that I don't disappoint others nearly as much as I disappoint myself when I reschedule or fail to meet an arbitrary deadline.

So, it'll all happen. And along the way, I'll figure out what is non-essential & will drop it from the plate. And I'll be increasingly honest about what's possible. And I'll spend an inordinate amount of time just snuggling this crazy lil' babe.