I’m not sure I could have found more fitting thoughts for my 100th post. (because it’s all about numbers in the end..)
Motherhood, for me at least, can boil down to something a simple as a number or two. Or twenty.
In the first few postpartum months I developed some OCD-like habits. I had read about postpartum anxiety and depression, so I figured a little postpartum OCD wasn’t too far out of the norm.
My top habit was the tendency to count when things got stressful.
EZ wouldn’t go to sleep? I’d strap him in a baby carrier and go for a walk outside, or around the kitchen when the weather was bad, and begin to count.
100, 99, 98, 97, 96, 95, 94, 93, 92, 91…
I’d start with a whisper, then slowly continue to count down in my head until he fell asleep. The rhythmic counting was soothing for both of us.
At night, I would count the amount of times he woke up, and then would count down in between them until I fell back asleep.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9…
Right from the start I counted as he nursed. I still remember my doula instructing me to count to make sure that he was taking enough sips. Was I feeding him enough? Did he get enough milk? Was he growing? Was he satisfied? These thoughts would squirm around in my brain as I counted.
25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30… sips
I came to rely on my various countdowns, ticking off numbers in my head like it was second nature.
While my counting seemed to evolve around stressful situations, they soon began to bleed into other areas and I had (what I would consider) good countdowns as well.
As EZ grew and changed, I found that my countdowns changed with him. Now I find that my countdowns have more to do with increments of time.
“10 minutes until dinner’s ready!”
“5 more minutes of TV then it’s getting shut off!”
“We’re leaving in 2 minutes, get ready!”
EZ seems keen on this type of countdown as well.
“1 more minute? pleeeeeeeeeeease?”
Gone are the days where I would walk around, counting down almost 500 times over to get EZ to sleep. No longer do I worry about how many sips of my milk he needs in order to keep growing, as he is more than capable of inhaling 3 course meals. I now only count his breaths when he has the rare illness, sleeping in my arms and flushed with fever.
I don’t want to know how many seconds tick by when we’re hanging out on the couch, all snuggled up and reading together. Sometimes I even keep him up a minute or two later when it’s bedtime so we can chat a bit longer about our days.
The time seems to move too quickly for my liking now, so I’m do my best to actively stop focusing on it when the urge arises. While I know that I can’t always stop the clock, I can do my best to ignore it for the time being, seeing as it will only speed up with each passing year.