This is our first weekend alone with Brayden. And yesterday, after a successful first week of Mommy-Brayden time, Richard turned to me and thanked me for “being amazing.” He then proceeded to let me know that if at any point this weekend I wanted to get away for an hour or so to just grab some “me-time” that he really encouraged it. My gut-reaction was, “No way!” I wanted to spend the whole weekend with him and Brayden. And how could I ever even think about taking “me-time” so soon!? How could I fathom willingly leaving my new baby who I wished and hoped and worried so hard for?
Then I realized I did need some “me-time.” For one year I worked really hard at feeling better. At finding a place in which I could feel okay again. And I managed it. I did it. Even when I was pregnant, and worried every single day, I got up, I did what I had to do, and I kept on surviving. Some days I even thrived. And I realized that just because Brayden is here now, doesn’t mean I can stop working on healing. Brayden’s birth doesn’t magically fix what was still hurting. The only thing that “fixes” that, at least in a temporary sense, is when I’m consciously working on myself and practicing self-care.
So I turned right back to my husband and I said, “Thank you.” And now here I am, bundled up on a beautiful Fall afternoon, writing from the cemetery I haven’t visited since before Brayden was born. And it feels good. It feels so good. It feels like everything I’ve cried about in the last two weeks is suddenly a little bit better. My guilt is lifting. And I’m feeling a little bit lighter.
I may even go home and tidy up Ryan’s Garden, too.
Self-care, self-compassion, self-love… whatever you call it, isn’t something you can just pick up and do when you feel like it. It’s a lifelong process. And I think, especially with grief, it’s important to make time (not find time) to practice it. And practice it. And practice it some more. All the therapy in the world couldn’t help me as much as taking time to care for myself has helped me. Caring for myself allows me to continue to care for my relationships. And to care for my baby at home. When I take care of myself I am more “me” than when I let myself get too wrapped up in the day-to-day to bother.
I’m lucky to have a husband who gets it. Who cares for me too.
And I’m lucky to have this place where I can take the time out when I need it.
I may not be able to write every single day, no matter how hard I might try. (Brayden really loves his cuddle time)… But I will definitely work on making time more often to just be with myself, and my Ryan, and practice my self-compassion like I have been for the last 13 months.