It's no secret that I had post-partum depression.
Within days of giving birth I was so completely overwhelmed with the responsibility and demand of taking care of an infant I might as well have been stranded on a raft in the middle of the atlantic - in fact, at that point I probably would have preferred it.
I remember sitting paralyzed at the dinner table when Picklebug was just 4 or 5 days old, staring at my chicken and rice and being so nauseous with fear I couldn't even lift my hand to pick up my fork. The only thought that ran through my mind was "this baby was a mistake."
Now I knew that having a baby would change my life. I knew it would be hard. I wasn't so naive as to think that I would bring home a happy baby that would instantly know how to nurse from my breast, sit happily in a swing while I knitted booties and sleep blissfully through the night.
But NOTHING prepared me for his constant demand of my body, attention and time. And it didn't take long before I lost my grip on sanity.
I was convinced that my life had changed for the worse. I believed with all my heart that my days of relaxing on the couch with a good book were gone. No more afternoon shopping trips or dinners out. No more movies. No more sleeping in - no more sleeping period!
At one point, when MG was downstairs with the baby, I snuck upstairs and researched how to put a baby up for adoption.
I knew I had a serious problem and thankfully my family recognized this and reached out to me. I spent 10 days with my stepmom in NC learning how to manage life with a baby.
I spent 10 weeks building up confidence in my ability to be a mom.
And when my hormones settled down and I finally got 6 consecutive hours of sleep, it took me less 10 seconds to fall madly in love with my son.
Since those early weeks I've experienced countless blessings as a mother. The good Lord heard my cries for help and he answered them generously. I have a happy, healthy, beautiful baby boy and I struggle to comprehend what my life would be like without him.
Before Picklebug, MG and I went on all kinds of adventures. In fact, it was MG's spontaneity (along with all his other endearing qualities) that won me over! Our friends would roll their eyes at our constant day-tripping - but we loved exploring new places!
These adventures were one of the things I was most worried about missing out on when PB came long... but little did I know that our adventures were just beginning!
In fact you can't really call it an adventure WITHOUT bringing a baby along!
Today MG and I took Picklebug to Maymont park in Richmond. It was a perfect day - and we had a great time.
As we walked around the park, the children's barn and the nature center I couldn't take my eyes off my sweet little boy. I loved watching the look of wonder on his face when he reached out to pet a goat. Or seeing his eyes light up when we showed him the turtles. Each thing we came across became an exciting opportunity to introduce our baby to the world around us.
This adventure solidified for me the fact that everything we do is better with Picklebug. Shopping, dining out, taking walks, vacation - all of it is so much more fun with our baby. Easier? No way! But I love the challenge of figuring out how to make our adventures fun and rewarding.
It might mean packing a few LOTS of extra things (like an extra change of clothes, the portable high chair, snacks, juice, toys, diapers, wipes, blanket, stroller...) and it might take a little LOTS of extra planning (leave just before nap time and hope to drive 2 hours in peace before stopping for lunch, play with PB until he starts rubbing his eyes, then back in the car for nap #2 while we drive 2 more hours and stop for a diaper change and a stroll around the mall then back in the car for a quick cat-nap making sure we arrive at our destination in time to set up the pack-n-play...) but at the end of the day I feel accomplished.
And after all that goes in to pulling off a successful trip to the park - I feel like I deserve an award!
It's been almost eight months now since Picklebug came into my life. And while the journey hasn't always been easy - it has been worth it. It didn't take long - thankfully - for me to stop thinking about all the things I thought I had lost and instead start to enjoy all that I have gained.
After all, why wouldn't I trade sleeping in until 10 am for the happy smile I get from Picklebug when I peek over the rail of his crib at 7:30 am?
And who wants to read Life of Pi when you have Is Your Mama a Llama? sitting on the shelf?
Why choose a quiet dinner-for-two when I have the opportunity to watch my baby figure out how to eat a spaghetti noodle?
And who needs a spotless house when you can have squeals of delight from a baby in a Johnny-Jump-Up?
What on earth could be a better way to spend my "free time" than taking every precious minute I have to show my sweet baby how much I love him?