My 2015 was tough.
I feel like I’ve been saying that about every year for a while now. 2012 was probably my most recent “comfortable” year, even though that was the year I studied my butt off for the two hardest exams I’ll ever take in my entire life and became a licensed therapist as a result. I say “comfortable” because I was still in my comfort zone, both professionally and personally.
In 2012 I was cohabitating with my long-term partner. At that time we’d both been in the same location, same apartment, same jobs for the previous 4 years. We were growing, just slowly, and it was nice. We were growing towards making the commitment to get married. We were both approaching a point at our jobs where we felt competent, yes, but we also increasingly felt like we had outgrown them.
I didn’t know it at the time, but 2012 catapulted me into a whirlwind of change where I’m still feeling the effects.
I got licensed and promoted at work. Brian and I got engaged, then married, then pregnant. We quit our jobs and moved out of state for Brian’s dream job (!), bought our first house, had a baby (which was my dream job) and I ended up being a stay at home mom. Whew.
Scaling back to just the last year: my kid grew from 4 months old to 16 months old and changed every day. He started sleeping through the night. Like, 10-12 hours at a time sleeping through the night. It was glorious! He started solids, we made the difficult decision to stop breastfeeding. He sat up, he crawled, he walked. He fell down. A lot. He’s signed over 15 signs to us, and he’s said 3 words. He’s shown us delicious bits of his glowing, giddy personality and I can’t wait to see more.
As for me, in 2015 I started to feel like a mom. I started to feel competent, which goes a long way in preserving my day-to-day sanity. I was able to meet my kid’s needs. We developed a schedule, and I learned to be flexible with it. I got us out of the house, even forced us out, when I knew we/I needed it. We stayed in when I didn’t feel like forcing it. I fought my mom guilt. I did projects around the house. I actually kept an exercise schedule! I made an effort to make friends – this was huge for me.
In many ways, I feel like 2015 was a rebirth year for me. Sure, I gave birth to a human the previous year, but this year I was getting to know a new me as well as my newborn son. Everything about me felt different, and it was incredibly disorienting. At the beginning of the year, I was still struggling to find my way out of the fog that is new motherhood. And make no mistake- that fog is all-encompassing. Physically, mentally, spiritually. I didn’t recognize my body. None of my clothes fit right. I physically didn’t feel like myself. The emotional highs were very high and the lows were scary low. I was moody, frustrated, irritable. I often felt lost and alone. I isolated, because that’s easy to do. And spiritually, I questioned if being a mother was going to feel fulfilling for me and my life. Everything had changed, my world was rocked, and I was wading through all the shit (literally) as best I could.
So, slowly, slowly I found my way out of this. And of course I had to mourn the fact that there was no turning back the way I came to reclaim the person I once was and the life I once had. I had to make a new way. I had to reinvent myself. I basically went through a puberty and coming-of-age stage all over again, and I am still getting to know the new me.
I remember, soon after Dylan was born, a neighbor commented to me in passing about how he couldn’t imagine his life without his kids, who were something like 2 and 4. At that time, I could totally imagine my life without a screaming poop machine. I wished for that life back on a daily basis! I rolled my eyes at his cliche and moved on with my day.
So the big deal is that at one point later on this year I remember indulging in my daily wish of going back to our old apartment in California, to our old jobs and our old town where we felt happy and competent and young and free. And then I realized – we couldn’t do that. Because I would miss him. I would miss Dylan! Everyone talks crap about love at first sight with their babies, and while that may be true for some, I had to get there in my own good time, and this was one moment for me. I would miss my son too much. My gooey, giggly, blue-eyed little boyman.
There you have it, my meandering year in review. It was a tough one, but transformation is rarely easy.