7.01.2010

The Three-Week Rule


Several years ago I overheard a bit of advice being given. Truly, it was one of the best pieces of advice I have ever heard or probably will ever hear in my lifetime. If I leave behind but one ray of light in this lifetime of mine, I want to spread and share the gospel of this bit of wisdom. Go ahead and engrave it on my headstone please.

I was sitting at a baby shower. My baby shower in fact. A baby shower being given in celebration of the encroaching arrival of my first born in fact. My firstborn who would make his grand appearance less than twenty-four hours after I heard this bit of wisdom in fact. A baby shower that was endured rather than enjoyed due to intensifying contractions...in...fact...

Have you ever tried to appear social, relaxed, and grateful in a large group of women and gifts as you struggle to sit still and not drop to the floor, curled up in a ball of laboring misery? If you have, you know: It's not easy. But somehow I managed. And as I was "managing", gritting my teeth and pretending to enjoy my little party, I somehow also managed to hear and retain the golden wisdom I am about to share.

Are you ready for your life to be changed, for your world to be stopped, for your existence to be altered?

Ready???

"Give it three weeks."

Did you hear the angelic chorus?

That's right. Three weeks. In the particular case that I overheard this, the woman was advising a new mother: Give it three weeks. You'll get the hang of it. Things will get easier. Just give it time. Three weeks to be exact.

And you know what? In the midst of labor and delivery, I forgot about that...

Until...

I found myself a week later, crumpled in a sobbing, hopeless, exhausted heap of postpartum jelly-belly and haggard hormones on my living room floor at 3 am with a wide-awake, screaming, poopy for the umpteenth time newborn. Suddenly, those words came to my mind again.

Give it three weeks.

Okay. I'll try. Three weeks passed. And...I felt better. I had gotten more of a grip on this new mother thing. I didn't have it down perfectly, but I was coping. I was learning. I was assuming the mantle of motherhood with a little more grace and dignity than that sobby little blob I had been two weeks earlier.

As life has gone on, as a second baby has come, then a third, a move here, a move there, a trial, a tiff, a dent, a dam, a world war, a wart or two, a heart-stopping moment, a hungry bank account, a spell of sickness, a spell of sadness... Whatever it has been that has caused me whether physically or mentally to collapse back into my little hopeless mush-ball again...I remember what I heard that night that was poignant enough to reach me through contractions and discomfort...

Give it three weeks.

That and "when it comes to pushing that baby out, give it all you got and just get that dang thing out!" (I remembered that one too. Great advice by the way! I've never had to push longer than 15 minutes! I'm just saying...)

10 comments:

Patty Ann said...

Yep, I always heard that it takes at least two weeks to start a new habit. So, you have to work at it for awhile. You are right, it is amazing advise, and it reminds us the be patient and remember that this too shall pass!

Sarahie said...

That is beautiful advice and I'm so glad you passed it on! It will now reverberate through my mind in those all too common rough days.

And also, 15 minutes? Really? I pushed for 2 1/2 hours with Owyn! Geesh.

Bethany @ Organic Enchilada said...

Yeah, I'm pretty sure I never pushed more than three times with any of my kids.

I'll remember the three week rule. I'm sure it'll come in handy next time I have a mental breakdown. Which is probably right around the corner. :)

Sami said...

I think that's fantastic advice! Next time I need to push something out of my body, I'll remember it...give it 3 weeks.
Oh wait, I think I might have mixed those two up.

Myya said...

Funny how just a couple weeks makes the couple weeks prior seem hard to remember... or maybe easier to forget! I was good to go from the beginning, the diapers, sleep (lack of) or even the pain of a c-section didn't really seem to ever get to me, it was the damn engorgement of my already huge boobs - SERIOUSLY worse than the contractions for hours & hours before going into surgery or even the after of surgery itself. Darn nature & nurture! Of course I'm a pro now... one right after the other will do that to a person : )

Wonder Woman said...

Ooh! Love the layout change. And this idea. 3 weeks. I can do 3 weeks.

Crystal and Scott said...

I'm going to remember that! And I like the pushing advice too, especially after watching a rather graphic video of a live birth at my pregnancy class last night! :)

iamwoman said...

SUCH good advice-- and you wrote it so beautifully;)

PS. You're back.

{leah} said...

yup.... it always took about 3 weeks to be ok with the husband being gone with deployments.... and three weeks to fine my way around when we move...

Yup... 3 weeks.... I"m going to try to remember that when I'm sleep deprived and rocking myself in the corner, after he baby...

See Mom Smile said...

Awesome. So true. Except for ice cream and chocolate. Then it's a 3 hour rule. Every man for himself.

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