It takes a village

I wrote the following on Tuesday. It’s now Thursday. C’est la vie at the moment…

This time last week I was still two hours and 15 minutes from giving birth. Last night as I was up between midnight and 2, and again from 5AM, I was somewhat comforted by the thought that as hard as the night was feeling, it wasn’t a patch on how difficult that night of labouring had been the previous week.

Mike and I have been flooded with cyber love in the past week – receiving hundreds of notes and comments congratulating us and wishing us well as we embark upon parenthood. One of those emails said, “I’m sure Dominic will give you a whole new way of thinking, living… and writing!”

I can already see the truth in that statement. Dominic has definitely given me a whole new way of living – I have done very little but feed, sleep, and eat what has been put in front of me since we came home from the hospital on Friday. And not having had more than three hours sleep in a row for a week now is certainly doing some funny things to my thinking.

As for writing… yes, that’s going to have to take a backseat for a while. And what writing I can do, I suspect, will be along the lines of vignettes that I jot down when the odd free moment pops up. And most of those vignettes in the next little while will probably be baby-related because, well, there isn’t really much life outside of baby for me at the moment. I trust that that will change again at some point in the future (possibly when my body is not being used as an all you can eat buffet for eight hours a day). In the meantime, however, I’ll try to continue posting the odd story or random thought of the day now and again.

There are a lot of things I could write about at this point – labour and delivery, post-birth surprises (both good and bad), and the emotional roller-coaster of this last week, to name just a few. And perhaps I’ll get there eventually on those topics. But today’s thought – and the thought I’ve had pretty much every hour since arriving home – is that I really do not know how single parents manage this.

They say it takes a village to raise a child, and now I have a new appreciation for why. When you’re trying to feed a baby every three hours, it seems more than one person can manage well to feed, burb, and change the little being, as well as get enough sleep yourself to stay sane. And that “caseload” doesn’t leave any room for eating, drinking, and showering, much less grocery shopping, cooking, laundry, filing the paperwork for the baby’s birth certificate, and learning how to assemble a breast pump. I have never been more grateful for a proactively supportive spouse and parents as I have been this week, or for hot running water and a warm bed. I get completely overwhelmed thinking about the challenges faced by new mothers in refugee camps and rural villages. And I have no idea how single parents do it, either.

That’s it for now from the McKay newborn nursery (where we saw a wallaby eating in the garden this morning when we were nursing). It’s now 11AM and I hear a baby starting to stir and make the “I’m a hungry guinea pig” sounds.

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13 responses to “It takes a village

  1. Danged happy to be a villager… li’l tyke’s absolutely gorgeous! 🙂

  2. Ok, that picture really makes me smile. For so many reasons! 🙂

  3. Take care Lisa….it gets better. I promise!

  4. He is soooo very adorable. So so! And yes, dang right, I have NO idea how single parents do it. None! Xoxoxoxoxxo.

  5. Beautiful post, Lisa. These are such raw days in every way. Dominic is gorgeous. Thank you for the important reminder to be a village to those who need one most. God’s grace to you in these beginning days and weeks. Congratulations!

    • Thanks, Leeana, thinking of you during this time of massive transition. Hoping for patience and strength as you set new routines and adjust to a new life all over again.

  6. Keep up the good work on baby side of life, Lisa. Writing is a bonus. Thanks for being you. He’s a beauty. Congrats to all.

  7. Dominic is beautiful! And if he’s anything like you and Mike, well… you’ve got your hands full! But here’s hoping he is ’cause that means he will be a “world-changer” too and we could sure use more of those! Grace, mercy and sleep to you.

  8. Many good wishes to you and your husband on the birth of your beautiful baby boy! Your photos are delightful, and they take me back to my new days with my own ‘bundle of joy.’

    I’m glad you have a village of sorts around you, and that it’s a helpful village. As one who was a single mom, I always wondered how women made it through when forced to go back to difficult jobs before they were ready. There’s always someone with a less ideal experience to get through. I’m glad you’ve given them a nod, while you acknowledge your blessings. My best to you all! 🙂

  9. The picture of Mike and Dominic is a classic, and reminds me of what Kate (age 2) said when she first saw her brother a couple of hours after his birth: “He’s so TINY!” (Not what we think when giving birth — but I know what she means.) Enjoy this time of cuddling your exquisitely tiny bundle!

  10. Thanks all – yes, I remain incredibly grateful for the many blessings of my supportive and caring village during this time. And, yes, these are raw, up and down, confronting days.

  11. Add
    – feed/dress/entertain an older child (or several) and get them to preschool/school on time
    to the list of things to do and you’ve got a real challenge 😉
    I am so glad right now that my husband is taking a two-months parental leave to take care of our 3-year-old.

    • Yeah… this one I have trouble imagining. As tired as I am now the mind simply fails to comprehend how one does this with other kiddos to care for. Hang in there.

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