Today marks the end of the “fourth trimester,” that all-consuming post-birth newborn phase during which Cora remained more or less attached to me from sunrise ’til sunset. In some ways I already miss those days– being able to bow my head and kiss her at any given moment, taking in her sweet newborn scent– but there’s also something to be said for the fact that I am able to write this post from the comfort of my couch while she peacefully naps upstairs.
During Cora’s first few months, I found myself wondering, “when does this get easier?” As a new mother of two, I felt like I was maxed out fourteen “maxed outs” ago, and yet I was somehow still able to do– to give– more. Worried this couldn’t possibly be sustainable, I convinced myself it’d get easier when the clock struck midnight on Cora’s three month birthday.
And in some ways, things really have gotten easier these days.
- She naps in her crib at least half the time, though she still seems to sleep best and longest wrapped up against me.
- She either sleeps or happily watches the action when I take her rock climbing for my biweekly endorphin treatment. This is huge.
- She takes a bottle, which means I could theoretically get out more often than I actually do.
- She goes down easily for naps and nighttime sleep.
- She typically isn’t quite so miserable in the car as she used to be, though I still get a pang of PTSD every time I put her into her carseat for a crosstown drive.
- She entertains herself beneath her play gym, batting and grabbing at the toys. It’s simple, but it’s pretty cool to see her brain and body work to figure out basic movement.
- She can hold up her own head, which feels like the most obvious difference between a newborn and a baby. It makes her seem infinitely less fragile.
- She giggled, and although it only happened once on Thanksgiving day and hasn’t happened since, it was a sound that that felt like a warm fire in winter. I can’t wait to hear it again.
I guess what I’m saying is that most of the time things are just plain wonderful. But, “easy?”
A certain sense of ease has rolled in little by little, making old challenges feel like puzzles neatly solved. But of course, all the while, new challenges have been sprouting up in their place. Like sleep deprivation. After two beautiful weeks of sleeping through the night, Cora caught a cold and hasn’t slept a full night since. That, and she’s just changing all the time. It feels like every other week she’s either going through a giant developmental leap–essentially become a whole new person– or we’re weathering a clingy, grunty storm of fussiness before a new Cora emerges. It’s wild and can feel a bit like whiplash.
There is definitely a lightness, a feeling of hope and excitement that comes with this three month mark, making it easier to brave the tougher moments. And while things might not be easy (were they ever?), they are definitely easier, and that has to count for something. Right now it certainly feels like it counts for everything.