Above my couch, the decor mocked me: “It’s so good to be home.”
I tried remembering what life was like when I had made that purchase – when the words were true.
I had been sitting with my feelings for the two and a half weeks since having my second daughter in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was about the same amount of time I had left in my pregnancy before having to understand just how much had changed because of it.
I went 37 weeks with a vision in my head. With hopes in my heart. With a plan on paper.
I had committed to making this pregnancy and postpartum experience mine. Having gone through postpartum anxiety after my first daughter, I was taking control of my present and future happiness. I was almost there. Then coronavirus came along, and it all came crashing down.
First, it was the uncertainty of my and my unborn child’s health. Then it was the understanding that family would not be able to visit the hospital, and then further – visit at all after our baby arrived. It was learning to breathe through the reality of it all, to figuring out how to breathe through a mask during labor. It was giving up control, one layer at a time.
And it broke me.
I had wanted this article to be different. It was supposed to be the third in a “Labor of Love” series, but I didn’t have that in me. I had wanted this article to be more positive, to lift you up and get you where you’ve been longing to go in your heart and mind. But, there are times that require honesty above all else.
And I was honestly a little lost, even though I knew I would be found and in a better place for it. I was feeling underwater, even though I knew I would pull myself out and breathe easy again. I was honestly completely broken, even though I knew that I would heal and be stronger in the broken places. I was honestly angry and sad and doubtful and anxious, and so, so, so many feelings – even while having happiness in my heart.
I am still experiencing those things in moments where the uncertainty of it all becomes too heavy. But, a few nights after I had started drafting this article, I had come across something on social media. I know – social media: a bottomless pit of anxiety. It was a post about a newborn baby girl who was fighting for her life. It was about parents who could only visit her in the NICU, one at a time. It was about siblings who might not ever meet their sister. It was about a future uncertain of their little blessing being a living part of their future.
At 3 am, with my own newborn daughter drifting happily back to sleep after nursing, the scale of my fear, anger, and anxiety shifted to gratitude for the future that I do know, despite all that I don’t.
This was not how I pictured this chapter of life to be written. But I’m glad that it wasn’t written differently. I’m glad that today, I have chaos in my house. I’m glad that I am pulled from my bed at all hours of the night. I’m glad that I have to shield our little bundle from our biggest bundle whose love is just a little too strong at times. I’m glad that I get to share photos and FaceTime conversations with family of a baby who is free of tubes and monitors and machines. I’m glad that life exists outside the walls of my labor and delivery room.
I’m glad for today. And it is good to be home.