40 Days

BelongsHereA

BelongsHereC

The last six weeks have felt a little dark. Probably because I literally spend a lot of time awake in the dark, sitting in the middle of my bed, in the middle of the night, nursing and rocking Fox. Plus, this winter has been especially cold… and dark. Then there was the witching hour business which sent me to an emotionally dark place that I wanted to curl up and hibernate in. But I’m beginning to see the light. Unfortunately, it’s not a flood light coming to the rescue (we still have our days… and nights). No… it’s more like a slow dawn, before the sun makes its debut, where the sky transitions from black to dark navy to a desaturated royal blue and then to a lighter cool blue that perfectly matches my baby’s eyes.

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My friend and Braid Method client Betina Wills of This Land Yoga just launched 40 Days of Intention at her studio (perfect timing for me to pick up my post-baby practice again). In her blog post she shared this Arabic proverb:

 To understand a people you must live among them for 40 days.

When I read this it dawned on me that it took right at 40 days, just under 6 weeks, to start to settle in with Fox. To not only feel like I am just beginning to understand this little baby, but also myself as “mom”. It took 40 dark nights to begin to see the emerging light of day. I don’t necessarily believe I was put on earth to be a mom – but every day since Fox was born it becomes more and more clear that no one belongs here with me more than him.

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I want to thank all of you for all your support on my witching hour post (I’m happy to report that things are much much better). Everyone likes to talk about mommy wars and being criticized for parenting choices but I’m feeling like I have quite the supportive tribe of moms and non-moms alike (here and over on Instagram). I never intended on becoming a “mommy blogger” but because of the tremendous amount of feedback and conversation happening here I’m going to continue to post weekly about becoming a new mom. And honestly, it’s where I’m at right now. I am very much a mom. Next week, my last week of maternity leave, I’ll be posting about childcare choices. I can’t wait to hear what you all have to say.

P.S. The muslin swaddle blanket (that I’m thinking about turning into a wall hanging) by Coveted Things was gifted to me by midwife-turned-coach Rebecca Egbert. Rebecca, a former Braid ECourse student, has been an invaluable resource – if you’re a new mom (or dad) I recommend you sign up for her free newsletter. 

  1. FM

    I’ve often thought there should be an “it gets better” project for new parents. It does. I thought I was so prepared, armed with information and a strong desire to be parent, and then I was blindsided by the shock of the actual experience, and it was rough for me. The first smiles make a big difference, and the more that little person grows to be able to reciprocate in your relationship with them, and show you who they are, the more rewarding it gets. Mine is almost 2 now, and I think every new week, new month is better and better. I don’t think I really felt like a mom until my girl was several months old, and even then, it wasn’t the settled, comfortable feeling I have now. I am excited for my relationship with my daughter to continue to evolve and deepen.

    • Megan

      Kathleen, I love this post, and FM, I love this comment. I have thought on many days that none of the books prepared me for how tough it could be (especially in the beginning). But then I realized, how could anyone prepare me? I had no context for the experience — and all the complex facets of it.

      Baby is 9 months now, and I am reveling in this magical time. Everyone told me it would get better, and boy am I relieved to say it does. Enjoy little Fox, and give extra love to yourself on those trying days.

  2. Rory

    Love your analogy to dawn. Aurora musis amica est.

  3. Jenny

    So glad you are coming to the other side of that darkness. And that blanket is spectacular. My sister in law is expecting her second baby boy this summer and, after the difficult time she had adjusting to the arrival of her first, I know she is a bit anxious about how things are going to be this time around. I think I am going to order her that blanket, like a little reminder during every late-night feeding that things are exactly how they are supposed to be, no matter how tough it feels.

  4. Emma

    That “40 days” statement is SO true!! Although I think I would add an “at least” in front if it because sometimes you think you know all about someone and then somethig happens that catches you totally off guard. With babies though, that is so true. I was a wreck with my son up until about 6 weeks, too.
    I’m sure you’re doing great, and he’s so beautiful! Congrats mama!

    Emma
    emmabauso.com

  5. Alien Mind Girl

    I didn’t know Betina had her own place now! How exciting. I will spread the word. It reminds me of Cadence days. Those were good days. Are you still doing Barre3? Not sure what after-baby exercise recommendations would be; I bet you’re on it.

    Your posts are always so beautiful.

  6. Kristine

    It’s been such an amazing gift that you were pregnant right around the same time as me (my son was born 3 weeks ago). It has been so great to have an honest portrayal of pregnancy and motherhood to follow along with and reference.

    We’ve also hit those dark days, but we’re getting through them. Sometimes, when the baby won’t stop crying and I can’t stop crying, I just think “What would Kathleen do in this situation?” and it seriously helps me get through things with a sense of humor and determination. Things will be hard, but they will also be amazing and I can’t wait to see both our sons grow up.

  7. Olivia

    My mother-in-law told me that every 3 months brings a new human being…and she was right. The first three months are like a wild boot camp of sorts, where you just fall in love every day…and feel totally devastated every day. By month 3, their personality really shines through, they can hold their heads up, and they become people! By 6 months…WOAH…they’re totally kids! Weston is grabbing, reaching, sitting, playing, eating (had pickles and chicken cutlet last night!)…it’s truly amazing. I love your mama posts…keep it up!

  8. Margie

    I love your honesty. Thank you for being honest about motherhood and how hard it can be and how it can take you to a dark place. It happened to me (PPD) and I love and respect people who tell it like it is.

  9. Urban Wife

    “The night is always darkest before the dawn.” That’s something I would continually tell myself during those hard, early baby days. I love your analogy even better though and the 40 days thing is so true.

    You are handling motherhood with lots of grace and I’m letting it be an encouragement to me. So, thank you for writing about your journey. Also, that muslin swaddle is amazing.

  10. Katie F.

    Mine’s almost a year (!) and I still have dark periods during hard times. But each new day, new development, and tiny baby smile starts me right over and makes me happy. Thanks for painting the picture so honestly and beautifully. So glad to hear it’s getting easier with your little Fox!

  11. Becca

    I had a tough time because I had no idea what I was doing – and I hate that feeling! I don’t bowl because I’m not good at it but eating nachos and drinking beer while someone else raises my baby is not an option so in I jumped. Helena is almost 10 mos old and the difference between then and now is amazing. To the rest of the world she’s still a very young baby but to us she’s practically a teenager, she’s come so far!

    Congrats – hurdle no. 1 almost cleared! As always you seem to have the right frame of mind and I am so happy that you’re settling in.

  12. Throw in acid reflux and it’s a whole other story, but I think what really adds to that feeling of dark isolation (besides the actual isolation and the darkness of a cold winter) is hormones. I hadn’t believed it until I had a moment yesterday when I realized just how much they had changed the way I thought and felt in those early weeks. We are at 3.5 months now and while we still have hard days (today), but I feel a million times better.

  13. Angela

    Hooray for you, Fox, and Jeremy too! It does get better and there will be a flood of light. It’s coming. It’s called the hardest job on the plante for a reason but it’s also the greatest. Sending love and light.

  14. Angela

    *planet

  15. Vanessa

    It sorta bothers me that “mommy blogger” seems to have a pejorative connotation to it. As though it’s not as valid a form of blogging. I think you’ve been so amazing at documenting your whole pregnancy, and motherhood so far. It’s been honest, and I’ve learned things about pregnancy I didn’t know about. I think you’re great and you’ll continue to be great, Kathleen.

  16. August

    I came here originally for your design background & creative inspiration posts (via http://www.nubbytwiglet.com), yet I’ve been completely fascinated reading about your experience with pregnancy and motherhood.

    I hope you continue with the baby/new parent posts. They’re just as inspirational as your other creative posts.

  17. Sharon

    I truly hope you do post more about being a mom! I know lots of people “mommy blog,” but I for one am super interested in your perspectives, because 1) you are incredibly honest and authentic (way more than most people) and I like how you tell things like they are, 2) you are intelligent and reflective and have bigger picture thinking, and 3) you were sort of unsure whether you wanted to have a baby in the first place, which is EXACTLY how I feel right now. So I think you bring a really unique perspective to the table, and a great ability to write/think/reflect. You know what I mean? It is one thing for people to mommy blog when they always knew they wanted children or when they are just sort of average writers/thinkers, but it is another thing to analyze/share the parenting experience from a viewpoint having been able to see your life with kids and without, and embarking on this adventure alongside all the other interesting stuff you are into. I hope that makes sense? In short, I am enjoying your thoughts and observations and stories and was looking forward to your post-baby perspective ever since you announced you were pregnant with Fox! Glad you feel willing to share your unique perspective here! :)

  18. Jen

    I don’t think I’ve commented before, but I just want to say how much I enjoy your blog. I was Googling around for creative coaches (I’m a coach myself), and found out you were pregnant, a few months ahead of me, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I absolutely love reading anything baby related on here (I’m at almost 33 weeks now and I feel like you’re keeping it real for me…), your posts on thoughts and anything coaching-related, really, and seeing how you are continuing on now that you’re a mom, Thanks for blogging!

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