Today, as we were eating brunch at one of our favorite spots, a new mom bumped me with her stroller as she was trying to squeeze between tables that were crammed together. She apologized, and I was obviously understanding, considering the fact that exactly a year ago, I was in the same position. Trying to maneuver an over-sized stroller with the wheels always seemingly turning in the wrong direction, apologizing to people for my inability to push the thing in the direction I wanted.
We continued with our meal, as my one-year-old sat in his high chair, eating his kid’s meal that I so meticulously cut into bite size pieces for him. Of course, I did this before I ate my food. But then I look over at the new mom, because her baby had just been crying – that sweet little newborn squeal – and she was feeding her child while her plate of warm food was sitting in front of her. Untouched.
I was instantly reminded of the months of sitting down to eat, and as soon as the food had arrived (or I was finished cooking) my baby boy would start crying, as if he knew I was about to eat and had to make sure that he drank his milk first. And of course, I wasn’t ever going to let him cry just so I could eat a warm meal. I just remember thinking, “I wonder if I will ever again be able to eat my food while it is still warm.”
After we finished eating, my toddler was walking around the restaurant. By walking, I mean wobbling, with his little legs stumbling beneath him, his arms flailing in every direction, like a tree’s branches being blown by the wind. He ended up at the table with the new mom, unafraid of being embarrassed by walking up to people he didn’t know. The family was polite, and laughed, and said that he was cute. It prompted the conversation I wanted to have. I told the mom with the 3-week-old that her boy was adorable. And I encouraged her that she would, eventually, eat warm meals again. She kind of smiled, half-heartedly, and nodded. I didn’t get to tell her that I felt her exhaustion. Her desire to just relax and actually eat her food in a normal manner. Her silent pleading for somebody else to take the baby first, so she could eat without balancing a baby in one arm and a fork in the other hand. But I hope that my single sentence encouraged her that life would seem normal again. One day. Even if it wasn’t the “normal” that she had before having a baby.
I guess, just for one moment, I wanted her to know that she wasn’t alone. That there are other women who have gone through that, are going through that, and will go through that (and many other countless things that only moms really ever experience.) And what’s funny is that we aren’t even alone in our feeling of loneliness because most moms do feel that way at some point in this crazy journey of parenthood, especially at the beginning.
The thing I needed was to get myself out of the house with my sweet boy and meet other moms and babies going through the exact same thing I was/am. Because when I realized that I wasn’t the only one experiencing exhaustion and feeling like motherhood wasn’t my favorite thing in the world, it made it a little bit easier. Now, I absolutely love being a mom and wouldn’t trade it for the world. Seeing my heart live outside of myself makes it all absolutely worth it.