I sat on the footstool in the middle of the dark garage bawling my eyes out. Exhausted, obviously emotional and the proud new mother of a four year old. I had dreamed of this season of life for years and after months of paperwork I should have been over the moon.
I was….but so much more.
I had a good silent cry and was considering the half gallon of cookie dough ice cream in our freezer. On the way to the freezer my dear hubby said a few words that jolted me.
“You felt just like this when the other two were infants. It is just like having a newborn.”
Those two simple sentences helped me so much. I just needed to label it. I was exhausted from being up in the night with a child who was trying to adjust to a new home and a new family. It was like fighting a world war to get the sweet girl to sleep and then we threatened everyone within miles who might make noise. We were trying to figure out how much she ate, what she wanted to eat and when. I never knew when she would cry and I was learning how to soothe her. Just like having an infant.
Like my dad used to joke….just like it but different.
(Besides no diapers!) The major difference was the lack of grace extended.
When you have a newborn everyone bends over backwards to help. They peek at your screaming bundle, smile, and call him cute. You are expected to get up in the middle of church. You are called a good mom when you stand at the nursery door to “check one more time that he is okay.” Even the dark circles under my eyes and the few extra pounds from late night ice cream snacks were accepted.
Somehow when the same things were happening with my new daughter….the grace wasn’t extended. No smiles when our new daughter was having a meltdown at the library and I had no idea what to do. And I certainly wasn’t showing myself grace as I wept in the garage. “What was wrong with me? How could I be so tired, and so emotional?” I moaned as I went for my comfort snack.
Heading into our second adoption I joked that it was like a paper pregnancy. Here is the other side of the story. It takes your body some time to bounce back after that paper-pregnancy. Okay, okay this might be extending the metaphor a bit to far, but hang in there with me! I am in the midst of an emotional adjustment.
Kinda cool actually.
I love that I am going through this adjustment right along side of them. They are not alone. I am in this messy transition too.
What helps when my two year old is pitching the tantrum of the century in the grocery store parking lot because he doesn’t like the car seat? As I am getting the stink eye from the whole town who seem to be at the store at that blessed moment – I remember that he is only 6 weeks old. He has the family age of 6 weeks….he is learning that I will meet his needs just like I am learning that shopping right after nap times doesn’t seem to work well. We are learning together.
Give us a few more weeks. The bags under my eyes should be gone and we will shop with more confidence. Until then – I need to go sleep when the toddler sleeps.