Parenting journal: Reversals

I’m typing this on my iPad, with difficulty, from an awkward position on the bed, because it’s the only place where I am (kind of) comfortable. Erik is next to me rocking Owl on his knees. It’s our tenth wedding anniversary, and I’m in the first 24 hours of acute lower back pain.

It started yesterday — a pulled muscle, perhaps? — and at first I assumed it was just an intensification of the achiness I’ve had since Owl was born, so I stretched it, but maybe that wasn’t the thing to do. Now I’m taking ibuprofen and putting ice on it, and slowly discovering what movements I can make without pain. To be honest, I think I hurt more now than in the days immediately postpartum. That sounds awful but at that time I was more exhausted and sore than actively hurting, whereas now I can barely walk and am very close to needing assistance on the toilet. It’s rough. Erik has valiantly taken over all Owl care except for feeding her, but this morning I had a cry from frustration and helplessness, and the visceral pain of not being able to hold my baby. I am hoping that since it hasn’t even been a full day yet, maybe this is the peak of the pain. And I’m very grateful this kind of pain is unfamiliar to me rather than chronic (and that I’m no longer having the bad abdominal cramps that woke me up at 1 AM… dunno what that was about). But I’ve had better days, to say the least.

One reason this is so maddening is that otherwise things are going so very well. Owl has, at eight weeks of age, begun sleeping through the night, and is so much fun to talk to and play with. I’ve now nursed her in public and was, until my back went out, feeling capable enough that I even signed up for a Pilates session (which I’m now going to have to cancel) and was about to organize an outing with my Meetup group. It is so hard to know that not only am I hurting now, but whenever I do feel better, I’ll be worse off physically and will need to recover from the back problem first, before I can attempt all the other things I was hoping to do.

I hear from other parents, in my various circles, that one of the toughest parts of raising a young child is all the apparent regressions in behavior — I know, for instance, that even though Owl sleeps for nine-hour stretches at the moment, she’s likely to stop doing so around the four-month mark. But I didn’t anticipate having to suffer through my own reversal as well. There’s nothing to be done but get through it and try not to let it upset me too much, but oh, it’s bitterly disappointing.

Nevertheless, there is much to be grateful for. I have a comfortable home and a resilient body, the best possible partner, and a mellow baby I can still feed without pain. Our fridge is stocked and our wifi works. It’s still a beautiful life. This is just a temporary trouble.

just two days ago

Small family

sleeping cat with sleeping baby in background