08 February 2010

Is "Easy" Really What We Want?

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.


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heather said...

Good question.
Yes. ;)
Well, perhaps not. I suppose if I truly meant yes (is easy what I want), I'd have a very different life right now.
I have too many nieces and nephews to expect only giggles and commercial smiles. But I also have too many nieces and nephews to believe that the tears and fears and challenges aren't mixed with joy here and there in small ways. (And to think that frustration means you don't love her or aren't happy to have her.)

Jessica said...

You mean you don't remember when I'd have one newborn or another, and you'd ask how we were, and I'd say something like, "Tired, but hanging in there"? This is what that meant. :D

Jessica said...

Oh, and I should add: hang in there. It is a lot of work, but so worth it, especially as each week kids grow and unfold a little more, and you get to know them a little better. The physical work slowly transitions into emotional and spiritual and mental work (though the physical work never completely disappears), and though I don't think the work ever gets less, it does change, and you get more of a handle on it.

The work doesn't get less, but the reward grows.

Sarah said...


Heather--I think your last sentence is what bugs me the most--why is it so hard to say, "This is hard" without saying, "I don't want it," at least in a lot of minds.

Jess--I don't remember that, exactly. Though I do remember you blogging (I think when you were about to have Sam) that you kept telling yourself the next 6 months would be hard and then it would be better, or something like that. I've remembered that a lot, the past few weeks ;)

And she IS "awakening," somehow. It's cool . . . though sometimes I wish she was faster ;)

Sharon said...

I could so relate to this post! 3 weeks into this endeavor, I have been admitting to some people that I can't wait for the newborn stage to end!!! I'm sure they are shocked that I am not just utterly grateful for the gift that Grace is, but I prefer to be real sometimes vs pasting a fake smile on my exhausted face.

terri said...

sleep deprivation alone will twist you into a vacant and desperate shell of your former self. i never understood why no one came clean with that one.

by the way, joey didn't sleep through the night until he was ten years old. (just keeping it real.)

love you...

kirsten michelle said...

Oh, Sarah girl. Yeah. Maybe that's all I have today, but ... yeah.

Between morning sickness (which this week has been more like all-day sickness) and now a cold, my brain cells are functioning at a severely diminished capacity.

I see you. I hear you.

Amanda said...

I agree whole-heartedly with your post. As you know, Will's birth was joyous but oh so difficult for me. I adore my child, but sometimes I think, do I really want to do this all over again? The answer is yes, but my goodness, this parenting thing is hard! I can't wait to get home to him every night, but sometimes I also just can't wait for him to go to bed. :)