Praise This Mess that Can Be Left

It's three weeks since Baby Ro arrived, and they've been predictably full of lessons. Lots of humility, lots of learning to laugh things off, but for me, most of them have been about healing. I'm healing from surgery at the same time I'm healing from pregnancy, neither of which are simple things to heal from, both of which need more than three weeks to really recover. But I'm stir-crazy and full of cabin fever; the clutter on the coffee table seems like a disaster, the dog hair on the floor makes my brain itch, and the fact that it's too cold to go outside much is overwhelming. I'm not really supposed to climb the stairs too often, not supposed to lift anything heavier than the baby, not really supposed to drive until I get cleared by my surgeon at six weeks, not allowed to take baths. 

My sister has been here since Christmas Eve to help out, and G was off work until this week, so plenty has still gotten done in terms of housekeeping, but it's not how I would have done it, not on my usual schedule, and most importantly, I'm not doing it. It's not even that I think of housekeeping as My Job; it's more that I have a hard time tolerating doing what feels like nothing. They've reminded me, of course, that my body is both healing from significant things and still sustaining a second person, and that what I'm doing isn't nothing, but the fact remains that I'm doing most of it from the couch while the rest of the household works around me.

I've never really been in this kind of healing phase before. I've been ill, of course, but only briefly and in mostly minor ways, and the last time I had any kind of surgery or even medical event I was four years old and not exactly in the prime age for feeling the burdens of responsibility. Most of the healing I've had to do has been of the "working on my mental health" variety, which is just a completely different beast.

What this means, essentially, is that my first weeks of motherhood have been intensive lessons on Letting Shit Go. It's not a big deal, really, that the floors have little tumbleweeds of dog hair in the corners and under the coffee table. It's not a big deal, really, that the kitchen is cluttered, the tables are covered in Christmas detritus, or that the tree stand is out on the balcony waiting to be cleaned out. Not a big deal, not a big deal, not a big deal. It can wait.

"It can wait" isn't always my strong suit; I have been known, a time or two, to get out of bed in the middle of the night to organize something that was bothering me enough. But since getting out of bed at all is still a bit of a challenge, and I'm not allowed to do a lot of bending or lifting or moving beyond baby care, that kind of stuff just can't happen. The mess, it turns out, can be left.

I was reading a reddit thread the other day about the most important lessons people had learned from therapy, and among them was a comment about trying to use appropriate amounts of concern for things you can't control. Added onto it was a bit about "putting things down," and how if you can't stop worrying about something you have no control over, you can at least give yourself permission to take a break. Your worry won't solve the problem, in the end, it's ok to go engage in an activity that takes your mind off it. It's ok to have a nap, or read a book, or see a movie. It's ok to disengage from your anxiety for an hour or two, and pick it back up again when you're rested.

It can wait, it can wait, it can wait.

The Most Incredible Thing

If You Live in a Country Where Stones are Smooth