You can't grieve and celebrate new life simultaneously
I’ll keep this short. I know how bone tired you are. (You weren’t joking when you wondered how long would it take for sleep deprivation to kill you... but darling, you will survive and you will feel whole again.) I know how heavy your grieving heart is. I know it hurts so much you can’t take a full breath. You can’t split yourself in two. You can’t grieve and celebrate new life simultaneously. You did the best you could.
Here’s the thing. None of this is your fault. You don’t deserve the heartache you’ve experienced, the terrible coinciding of major life events. What you’ve witnessed and felt first hand would’ve harassed any human.
You are not broken, just fragmented right now. The mosaic that you’ll build out of those old, tiny pieces, combined with the new now that you’ve been born a mother, is a brand new being, one that your father is deeply proud of. There is no reclaiming the old in entirety and you grieve for her as you grieve for your old life, for your dad. Later will come the ability to embrace the new, honouring her, celebrating her and what she has overcome, what she is achieving breath by breath, one foot in front of the other.
From this state of energetic bankruptcy, this complete mental, emotional and physical rock bottom, great lessons will come. There’ll be a beautiful silver lining with dividends that ripple out further than you can imagine right now.
Be tender with you. Don’t let those words haunt you... ‘enjoy every moment’. You’ll learn hard and fast that they are nonsense and the mantra that gets to the real nub of it is ‘savour the good, make peace with the shitty’.
Sweetheart, keep carving out those micro moments of nourishment. They will heal you and bit by bit, you’ll reclaim your vitality. These will form the self-care toolkit that gives shape, meaning and purpose to the next chapter of life to come, helping you forgive and make sense of today’s trials. Remember your WHY of self-care, that it allows you to keep giving and keep going, dialling down mum guilt. If you can’t do it for you, do it for her.
Blow away your greatest fear. It’s ok. You have done enough. There is no perfect mother and you can let go of the old definition of success, where outcome is contingent on effort. You can give EVERYTHING and still not achieve the desired result of calm/fed/sleeping baby. It doesn’t mean you’ve failed. You gave all you humanly could and she knows you are her calm, safe place. Despite your burden and divided attention, embedded deep in her cells and fibres is a visceral knowing that she is safe, she is loved and she is held.
And darling so are you.