I think the incredible difficulty of parenting a newborn is one of the best-kept secrets I've ever encountered. Before Mirren was born, people said (and I quote, more or less), "Oh, babies are so much fun. You'll have such a blast when she comes." Now, almost 4 weeks into this endeavor, they say, "How are you guys holding up? That transition is hell."
That's one heck of a mixed message. Maybe they just didn't want to scare us off? But what were we going to do at that point? We've been committed to this course since April.
All kidding aside, we've had a rough transition. Not, as far as I can tell, more rough than other people's similar transitions, but rough enough.
It's hard to say that, because, as far as I can tell, most people don't. Babies are supposed to make us all happy and giddy and ga-ga and if they don't, there's something wrong. But I'm not depressed, nor am I overly hormonal, anxious, or anything else. I'm a normal human adult whose whole life changed focus over a 9 hour period almost four weeks ago and I'm trying to not just survive the change but to get a handle on what it all means.
Don't get me wrong . . . I love my baby girl. I love her eyes and her toes and watching her grow into and out of her clothes and wondering who God made her to be. I would choose this path again a million times. But that doesn't mean it's easy. It doesn't even mean it should be.
What it does mean . . . well, it means we figure it out. It means we stick through the hard until it turns into the blissful. It means we hang on with hope and trust until we see the beauty on the other side.
It doesn't mean we lie or deny or hold back from the truth. It means we learn to speak the fullness of the experience: good and bad, hard and easy, tiresome and restful.
It all makes me ask why we don't tell ourselves and each other the truth more often? The whole truth, and nothing but. I think we fear people would turn away, pull back, refuse to enter because the way is rough sometimes. And we fear revealing our own weakness, only to find that no one else feels the same.
When we stop telling the truth, because of fear or whatever else, we water down life. We make it into something less than what it really is. I submit to you that real, true living means acknowledging the whole of our experience and proclaiming it when we have the chance. Action, adventure, risk taking, and living from the heart are all well and good when it comes to living a full life, but we can't always do those. And when we can't, maybe we remain our most alive, true selves when we are completely honest.