I remember with our first child, looking at the woman in the mirror and not recognizing the eyes looking back at me. To be sure that was because he came into the world through an emergency c-section after a long labor. I didn’t realize the trauma I had been through until my partner showed me the pictures I hadn’t seen before. The pictures right after his birth, the pictures I don’t remember taking. He held us both steady throughout that first night until we both were labeled stable.
This time it’s been a bit easier to find myself again. Maybe it’s because our daughter’s arrival was less traumatic. Maybe it’s because there was some idea of how this whole mom life goes. Maybe it’s because we lost one in between our two that solidified the true miracle that is life coming into this world.
Whatever it is, I find myself more readily and more eagerly saying no to things and relationships that take away my energy, our energy. I find myself excited for the days that we have at home to ourselves to grow into family. I find myself not wanting to wish this time away or plan this time away, but just to be in the moments of our three-year-old holding our four-month-old’s hand, hearing them talk to each other, seeing them learn to love each other.
I marvel at how they can look so similar, but already be so unique and different. I marvel at how I can be the same person I was when he was four months old and be a completely different person for her now. With him I was always worried I was losing myself: my body and my schedule were dependent on the food he needed and when he needed it. What was threatening then, is reassuring now. There is so much of me in both of them: so much struggle, so much wrestling, so much accepting, so much forgiving and now so much being that they are both here together forming and informing each other.
And here we are together growing into family. Challenging and forgiving. Holding each other steady when one of us can’t find themselves until we each find ourselves again.