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?
"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...
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...)