For the first time since Anastasia’s birth, I’m preparing to do it on my own. Between my husband’s 10 days of paternity leave and the nearly constant presence of family, I’ve always had some kind of help.
But with my mom and friend heading back to Iowa this weekend and Josh’s 12-hour shifts — which seem to be more like 15-hour shifts so far — the time has come for me to take care of our precious daughter by myself. I’ll admit, as a brand new mom, that makes me a little nervous.
Really, it’s the small things I’m concerned about. I seem to have caught on pretty quickly to the mandatory parts of motherhood, like changing, burping and feeding. It’s finding time to go to the bathroom without having someone here to hold her for me or giving her a bath without someone to wrap her up in the towel after I’ve pulled her from the tub.
Then I think about all the military spouses out there who have done it all by themselves during deployments and I realize I just need to suck it up a little. I mean, not everyone is blessed with a caring family like I am, and not everyone gets those first 10 days with daddy. Instead, some new fathers have to sneak those days in whenever it’s possible for them to come home from Iraq or Afghanistan.
Now that I’m starting to face just a small taste of what it is they’ve been through, those mothers are so amazing to me. It was hard enough just taking care of myself while Josh was deployed, so I can’t even imagine the difficulty in taking care of an infant on your own, too.
I guess I’m actually quite spoiled. I have a well-behaved baby and had a fantastic few weeks to adjust before taking on this new challenge. And while it will probably be hard at first, knowing that there are women out there who have moved much larger mountains than mine is definitely encouraging.