This whole stay-at-home ordeal really through our family for a loop. My ever so short, but so needed, 8 week maternity leave was punctuated by quarantine, Zoom school, limited groceries, and the fear that the post partum anxiety and depression I battled the last 2 pregnancies would return. The support of family around and the bliss of the newborn smell that enveloped me the first 4 blurry-yet-grateful weeks suddenly evaporated. We were thrown into the scary, ever changing, fast moving, unrecognizable vortex with the rest of the world. Now, 2 months in, we are finally finding our footing.
As an Emergency Medicine resident, I knew that the end of maternity leave would mean entering into the heart wrenching, confusing, and very real work on what others call "the front lines." I feared for the health of my newborn, and cheered the 60 and 90 day milestones that meant his immune system was a little more ready to face the world. I feared for my patients, listening to podcast updates during 2 AM nursing sessions. I devised don/doff plans that include stripping down to my underwear in the parking lot to change before going into my car. I grappled with the guilt of not separating myself from my husband and kids, and grappled with the fear of what I could bring into our house of otherwise strict social distancing. It's still going on, and I'm still grappling.
But one thing that quarantine has taught me is to let go. Let go of the messy house ( except the kitchen. I held on to that). Let go of completing every homework assignment, or attending every Zoom class. Let go of pajamas until 12, or 2 pm. We have been baking, learning TikTok dances, lots of arts and crafts, and bike riding. I got roller blades for an early mothers day present. I'm nursing more successfully than I did with my first 2.
I miss the decompression quiet time after shifts, where I used to process the pain, suffering, illness, and rapid fire chaos that ricochets around my head for hours. Now, I stay up later, sleep deprivation notwithstanding, and sneak in yoga and baking sessions at night, after a dream feed, once everyone is asleep. And I always, always, lick the spoon.