Thursday, December 31, 2020

2020: Reflections on a Year of a Big Belly and a Tiny Baby

I was going to create a Successes/Challenges list to honor 2020, but I realized the two were too intertwined to put them in separate lists. So here you go: one all-encompassing list of 2020 highlights! 

  • Started the year 6.5 months pregnant. Couldn't complete the 30-Day Yoga Journey, but did take a TRX class and swam 4,000 yards every Saturday
  • Atlas was born. This was my first experience with childbirth. He got a little stuck coming out, but we made it through the pregnancy, labor, and birth drug free and in great health.
  • I learned to breastfeed. It is a full-time commitment and new way of life. But how amazing is it that I can continue to keep another human being alive and well just by feeding him from my body? It is exhausting. It is magical.
  • Postpartum healing is no joke, and I don't mean just physically. That's all a story for another day, but let's just say I've become more vulnerable and yet stronger than ever before.
  • Pandemic. Pools closed, reopened, and closed again. I've created a yoga studio/gym in the basement and I've gone on a lot of walks. I'm fortunate that this is the worst way the pandemic has affected me.
  • Going back to work full time. Did you know some countries provide 6 to 12 months of maternity leave, fully or partially paid? Twelve weeks of FMLA using my sick and vacation time was on the generous end in the US. Brutal.
  • Figuring out child care. Major source of stress. It doesn't sit well with me to have a child and then hand him off to other people to take care of him. Luckily my parents are rock stars and Jon chose jobs that allow him to stay home a few week days.
  • Getting to know Jon, my baby daddy. We live together, are raising our son together, and are navigating this pandemic together. And we've known each other for less than two years. It has been a challenge. But from the highs of our son's birth and major milestones to the lows of postpartum meltdowns (mine and the baby's), he has loved me steadfastly through all of it. 

My 2020 word for the year was "Patience." My patience with myself and others was tried nearly every day. I did my best, but I know there are some frustrations I could have handled with more grace. 

I believe my 2021 word will be "Grace." I'd like to be able to navigate the highs and lows of this journey with more grace, and also give myself more grace when I cannot be so graceful.

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