On Waiting

Monday May 2, 2022

On Waiting

Behind every image of a peacefully sleeping newborn in a lovely, coordinated, organic cotton onesie with a perfectly textured muslin blanket draped around her legs is a mama who’s going on her third day debating shower or sleep, internally reaching for herself over that twice microwaved cup of coffee - are you still there? Or we've snapped that sweet, five minute stretch where baby actually stays sleeping in her bassinet because it’s a feat worth capturing in the midst of what we’ve discovered as the world of contact napping (who knew this was a thing?).

It seems with social media and the wealth of information we not only have access to, but so willingly share, we’d have a better grasp on what bringing a baby into the world truly looks like, but alas - beautiful babies are better for the algorithm, or, more benignly, we simply don’t need to post pictures of ourselves in robes and slathered with nipple cream. 

And could you really capture a rebirth of yourself?

This second time around with Ava has been much easier; the introduction to motherhood with Charlotte was the most profound losing and gaining of me and having walked that path before, I can retrace my steps and know where I’ll land. But as someone who loves being a mom to my two girls and also loves her work outside the home, I find myself wrestling at the waiting post again - that marker in this newborn season right around week 6, as our new rhythm settles in and my mind wanders to all the work I want to dive into, the ideas to bring to life. But nursing, shushing, rocking, wiping, bathing, snuggling, repeating, you know? Having waited here before, I find it much easier to find grace - there’s no guilt for my mind’s wiring and like muscle memory, I tuck my thoughts in their place for the time, waiting. Feeding calls, the first smile beckons.

Clarence built me a beautiful window box for the front of our house and a couple of years ago, we got front row seats to two birds building a nest inside. As the mama bird sat and waited, four tiny eggs formed her tiny babies and as weeks passed again, we watched from the window as it was time to take flight. It was so profound, to see the two parent birds call their babies down from the ledge - time had come to spread their wings.

What we so often miss in the joy of the flight is all that happened in the waiting. Yes, we cheered on those outstretched wings, but perhaps remembering the quiet, pinnacle moments in the interim that got them there allows us a better perspective on our where we find ourselves most often. The days of slowly sitting as the embryos became chicks, as feathers properly turned, as bones sturdily formed. These were essential parts of their journey; without them, there was no flying. 

We wrestle with waiting because our culture often conflates slow with idle, but what continues to be worked out for me, particularly in these postpartum seasons, is how to choose waiting as an active stance. A conscious resistance to the hustle when the time isn’t now, an exercise of patience when the opportunity isn’t right. Waiting is a fullness of the present with quiet anticipation of what’s to come. It looks like sitting still with the newborn even though the ambition rumbles, potlucking with friends even though the special someone hasn’t come, putting up that art even though the offer on yet another home hasn’t been accepted. Our most precious, unfiltered life happens as we’re present, in the in between, in the waiting. 

to pinnacle moments that can’t be seen,