There’s a lot of information out there about postpartum blues. Doctors tell us that for the first six or so weeks after birth, a certain level of sadness and overall wonky emotions are absolutely to be expected for mom. I was definitely feeling pretty cuckoo in those early weeks but, thankfully, I was lucky enough to have my wild emotions get back in check right around when they say they should.
Cut to almost a year later and the month of my boy’s first birthday. Nobody told me a thing about how wacky my emotions would be now!
Des turns one this month and I find myself crying at the drop of a hat. I think I might stare at him a little longer than I did a few months ago, trying to make sure the most permanent of permanent memories of this infant version of my boy, who’s about to be replaced by the toddler version, are branded into my brain.
I try harder than ever to breathe in the things that just can’t be captured with photos (and god knows we will have plenty of these to look back on): the smell and feel of his thin baby hair, the softness of those dimply hands, his tendency to poke my belly button and laugh as we nurse, and the twinkle in his eyes that just doesn’t show properly in my amateur pictures. I know these things won’t go away when the clock strikes midnight on his first birthday, but my heart aches when I acknowledge that the little baby in him slipping away to make room for the toddler.
Still, there’s of course more happiness than sadness. I love that he’s growing and communicating more with us. I’m ready for those first steps and that first sentence. I encourage this daily development and his growing independence that I’m watching with pure awe. This is definitely my favorite age yet. But why is it so hard on my heart now as he approaches one?
And then I realize, this isn’t going to be a temporary feeling. Sure, maybe this upcoming birthday milestone is turning things up a notch, but looking back over the last year I realize I’ve been pretty emotional throughout. Since the moment he was born, I’ve simply felt my feelings more deeply. And I know now that it’ll be a lifetime of this intense emotion that started way before he could say “mummm” like he does now. It switched on the second I became one.