Post Baby: How Long Till I Feel Normal?

Tuesday August 2, 2016

A month or so ago, one of our favorite couple-friends had their first baby. Dave’s friend took a brief paternity leave and then, on the night before his first day back at work, texted: “so, how long till I’m 100%?”

Because Dave’s a guy, and an unfortunately honest guy at that, he simply told him: “Oh no, this is how it is now. You’re just gonna be dumber from now on.” He went on, “You might eventually get to like 70%, and that’ll feel great, but no, you’re just dumber now.”

Feeling normal is this high bar that we all have in our sights from towards the end of pregnancy through the first couple months. Like, we all plan on getting back there some day. At some point, I think I shifted the bar. Actually, I no longer really remember where the bar started, where it used to be, where it is now, where I’d like it to be. I think I used to be quicker on my feet, literally and figuratively.

Maybe. It’s so hard to remember.

I do know that the 2.5 year mark was a revelation. Out of the fog of infant-induced sleep deprivation followed by toddler-induced panic. I wasn’t carrying anyone or chasing anyone and my brain had space for thinking and writing and reflecting.

But, normal? A year later, I think I’ve plateaued here in this comfy spot of highly functioning but still distracted. The Bean is even more independent, but she also has a lot of questions, you see. And requests. And ideas. I can hope that this is the preschooler-induced mentally exhausted stage, but now I’m starting to see that the parenting thing just keeps creeping along and getting harder.

A large chunk of my focus is squarely on this little person, taking up brain energy that used to be occupied by ex, ancient Macedonian mosaics, Monte Carlo simulations, and the words of the 13th Amendment. I’m not sure I’m getting it back.

What do you think? Have you started to feel “normal” again? Do you think you’ll ever feel normal again?

Motherhood, You

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