Welcome to the world, Elizabeth Joy! Our fourth daughter arrived two weeks ago, abruptly ending months of anticipation and successfully shifting the dynamics of our new “norm”.
We’ve experienced this change before. Beginning with the dance of labor, the rocking, lunging, swaying back and forth. The sensation of extreme heat immediately followed by chilling tremors of apparent sub-zero temperatures. The digging-in, the roaring-out. My arms, wrapped around my husband’s neck. My doula’s steady hands, applying counter pressure to my spine; propping me up, when all I want to do is fall.
Yes, we’ve journeyed along this road many times. When one is too weak to stand, the other is there to hold. And yet, what do we do when we are both weary, unable to withstand the weight of another in addition to the weight of the things we already carry?
My husband and I found ourselves in that position just a few weeks before Elizabeth’s birth. I, carrying an extra 30 pounds on my front-side, preparing for our fourth child’s arrival while trying to maintain a sense of normalcy for our 2, 4 and 6 year-old daughters. My husband, juggling pressure from work and the sense of urgency to complete any and all major house projects before the arrival of our newborn.
Our tempers were short, our stress, high. We refrained from burdening the other with our concerns, afraid that our additional weight would throw the other over the edge.
Withered and worried, along we trudged until we simultaneously erupted, hurling accusations and proclaiming “I’m doing the best I can!” Our molten lava seeped from our mouths until there was nothing left to say except, “I know.”
Too weak to stand alone, not strong enough to carry another, we leaned-in. And it was there, forehead to forehead, hands to hands, we discovered that together, we were strong enough to hold.
First image Captured by Katie McCracken