Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Beyond 100 days

Earlier today I was reading this article after it was posted by a blogger I follow on Facebook, and as I sat there reading it and feeling like none of it really applied to me too much, I got to a couple of sentences, or part of a couple of sentences, that hit me right between the eyes:

"The loneliness that hits at random times..."
" have to figure out how you fit in this world again."

Whoa.  Like a punch to the gut.  What followed or preceded either of those snippets didn't feel like it applied to me, necessarily.  I don't feel like my life went through 100 days of darkness after my daughter was born.  There were rough patches, to be sure, but I know for sure that I was never stumbling through the grocery store like a zombie who hadn't even looked at herself in the mirror before leaving the house.  I didn't have days where I couldn't eat, sleep, or shower.  Often I didn't feel like I was able to get enough sleep, but I was always able to get enough to be able to function and take care of myself and my daughter just fine.  I wasn't anxiously waiting at the door for my husband to come home so I could hand her off just to regain some sanity.  At least not most days.  My marriage didn't take a hit from trying to balance baby care and our relationship.  We actually weathered that storm just fine.  We hardly fought.  I had one night where I cried because I felt like we hadn't gone to bed at the same time in weeks and I just missed being able to cuddle up to each other as we fell asleep, but that was the worst of it.

Those two sentence snippets, though.  Those I know all too well.  And they don't end after that 100 days of darkness the article references.  Those keep going, all the time.  Those evenings when you just feel terribly lonely and miss friends.  The moments when you want to send a text message to someone just to have some interaction, but you don't have anything to talk about because you don't DO anything anymore and you don't want to just resort to talking about your kid, so instead you do nothing.  Those times when your kid does something you're really excited about, but you realize as you scroll your phone that there isn't one person you can tell who would really care.  That loneliness goes bone deep, and it hits you hard when it happens.  You usually don't see it coming either, but it's a reminder of how isolated you can feel.

I think that couples with figuring out how you fit into this world again, too.  It's a constant battle of trying to figure out how you can be you and still be mom.  How you can balance your career with being a good parent who is present and able to be present and give your kids the time they need and deserve.  Constantly having to choose between your needs and theirs (spoiler alert: yours always lose that battle) and having to figure out where you fit in your group of peers when all is said and done.  If you even fit at all.  Which, I think most often, you don't.  I feel like trying to stay true to who you are while also having this other piece of your life that takes your time and attention is a huge struggle that everyone faces.  I've tried to fight against expectations and keep things as normal as I can, to remain as true to myself as I can, and yet I still feel like I have no idea where I fit in this world anymore.  All of the things I once thought were solid simply aren't.  That's hard.  That's the piece I'm afraid I'll never figure out.  I don't fit with the mommies, but I don't seem to fit with my friends anymore either.  So that contributes to the loneliness.  But what if I never find that space that I fit into now with this new version of me?  That's terrifying.

I think a piece of me wishes those things had ended after those dark days the article was referencing.  But, I think those ones might linger.  Possibly forever.


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