I remember the long & short stretch of time after bringing Isla home from the hospital where Matt and I existed as half-humans for 6 weeks. We were the most sleep deprived we’d ever been. I don’t really remember it, but I remember it. I remember thinking for a good 30 seconds one morning that she was definitely a baby boy because her bib was blue and I hadn’t closed my eyes in 20 hours. I remember the coming out of that. I remember the fear of it being reinstated.
Humor. Family Feud gave me hope during that time in the form of humor. I will never be able to watch FF w/ Steve Harvey again without thinking back to those long nights with my sweet reflux baby.
I remember the first time we took her to the ER for croup, wondering if there existed anything more terrifying than the sound of our baby struggling to inhale oxygen.
Connection. Texting people close to me who’d been there done that gave me hope in the form of connection. I will always have the instinct to reach out to new moms I know because that is what helped prevent me from a complete spiral of worst case scenario what-ifs.
I remember when I went back to work, feeling part of “the world” (and not just my own) again, pumping my milk, drying up, making peace with formula, and feeling less depleted than I did before. I felt like I had something to give.
Vulnerability. Starting this blog as a way to support and come together with other moms gave me incredible hope in the form of vulnerability. We were/are making ourselves vulnerable and asking that of others at times by storytelling to put more hope into the world. To remind parents that if they’ve been blindsided by an aspect (or all of) parenthood, they’re in fact not alone.
I will remember when Isla was an almost two-year old and I feared the crumbling of our world because of what was going on politically in our country. I will remember it vividly. I will remember wrestling with the idea that I couldn’t possibly bring another child into this world, even though I had always wanted more than one. I will remember the fear of where we would be in one year, let alone four, when just days into a new presidential administration, what I (and many) felt as chaos was ensuing. I will remember taking Isla to our first march for women’s rights. I’ll remember Twitter losing all of its humor. I’ll remember being sincerely confused by those who seemed unbothered/untouched by what was happening. I’ll remember this time as being significant because it will turn out that this was the time during which I found my voice.
Regardless of where you fall on this sensitive subject, times are tense and unity is feeling really hopeless.
When thinking about what I’ll remember as the thing that gave me hope during this specific time, I can easily convince myself there isn’t a lot to pull from. What I’ve landed on is this:
I’m drawing hope from what Matt and I are committing to teaching Isla. What we can control. And always circling back to that commitment in every decision we make. Hoping that she will grow up feeling encouraged to use her voice to stand up for those less privileged than herself, we march. Hoping that she will know damn well that her body belongs to her and that she gets to decide who is allowed to touch it (even if its a hug), we talk. We talk about body parts and who is allowed to look at them and under what circumstances. We will be better about letting her decide on her own who she wants to hug and kiss. As she gets older, hoping that she will instinctively know compassion, inclusivity, and empathy, we model. We will inform her that love can look like a bunch of different scenarios. People can be whoever they feel they are. So can she. We will model that love, acceptance, and inclusivity. And when we screw it up, we’ll talk about it.
I love cooking for our family, so teaching her about cooking and nourishing people she loves in that way is something I look forward to focusing on. Isla loves art, so investing more in painting, stickering, coloring, drawing, and sculpting (playdoh) will yield good things, I just know it. Matt loves being outside, so I imagine taking Isla camping and fishing will be on his to-do. There’s so much. And we’ll fail time and time again in our executions, but we will find hope in those circumstances, too.
Whether hope is a game show, a text from a friend, embarking on a creative endeavor, identifying your family mission, visiting the mountains, cooking cheesy chicken spaghetti, couch-to-5K’ing off said cheesy chicken spaghetti, or watching your child squish playdoh between his/her fingers, I encourage you to make note of it. Don’t lose sight of it, because we’re going to need you out there. Spreading it to the people who have lost it.
Thank you, hope spreader. And godspeed.