Before and After

When do you feel like yourself? Like the person you were before you grew this person under your heart and birthed them into this world? I feel the closest to “me” in those cool, quiet hours of the morning. Him sleeping in is the biggest gift to my mental health.

Before baby, right up until the day he was born, my routine was the same. Wake up, brush teeth, walk dog, eat breakfast and enjoy coffee while surfing the internet, shower, get dressed, be out the door for the day. Walking the dog has always been an essential part of this. For the brief period of time in between our first dog and our second dog, there was no dog to walk. I was unmoored, lost at sea. My grief was overwhelming, and I felt it most acutely when I woke up and had no dog to walk. The day simply made no sense if I went right to drinking coffee. I needed a dog, so we brought one home quite possibly a little too early. He saved me from drowning and I’ll always appreciate him for that.

Mornings are different now. My husband gets up way too early to walk the dog so I don’t need to drag the baby around in the morning frost. I am hopefully up early enough to drink my coffee and eat my breakfast before I hear him cooing on the baby monitor. I can write or check Facebook, and feel like I did in those mornings when it was just me and my dog. I have a dream that one day he will sleep consistently enough for me to get up way too early and walk the dog before my husband leaves for work. It’s silly, sometimes, how much I yearn for just that little semblance of schedule, of routine, of sameness.

Nothing is the same anymore, which isn’t always bad, but it’s sometimes jarring. I sometimes feel that sense of being unmoored, lost at sea, flailing like I did after losing Cole. It’s different this time, like being lost in a warm, calm, Caribbean Sea instead of the cold and stormy waters of grief. It’s not as scary, there’s a sense of peace around it, but it’s an unsettled, lost, wandering feeling. I’m often wondering if I’ve made a huge mistake being home with my baby, while at the same time feeling like these days and hours of snuggles and love could never be a mistake. I never knew my heart could hold so many contradictions. I’m enjoying discovering who I am with him, and trying like hell to not lose who I was before.

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