One Little Word: Nine Months of Nurture

Mid-September seems like as good a time as any to write your first post on your word for the year, doesn’t it? Oh good, I thought so too! This is the third year I have chosen a word (2012: grateful, 2013: open), and I love how each time it’s a different experience. Last year I did a pretty extensive course on it, but this year my word has been woven into my life in a more constant way. It’s a daily reminder, and it’s one I really need. It’s been fun to look back at these past nine months and see the progression of what this word has meant to me.

In January, February, and about half of March, I was sick sick sick with my pregnancy. Nurturing myself meant spending every single day on the couch and trying not to move too much, since that made me even more nauseous. It meant trying every single nausea relief trick I could find, even though none of them worked. It meant living on crackers, bread, and seltzer water until I could keep anything else down. It meant not having any expectations of myself. It meant watching so much tv, some of it so embarrassingly bad. It meant surviving.

It also meant taking my vitamins and doing my best to send my love to my tiny baby.

In the spring I felt SO MUCH BETTER and was able to start nurturing in different ways. My husband and I took a few last “just us” trips. I walked several miles every day and got back to my regular beans/greens/grains style of eating. I could feel Micah kicking away, and I told him how much I loved him all the time. I also slept SO much. And I am glad I did!

By the summer, nurturing moved on to the nursery, where we were organizing, decorating, and putting furniture together (okay, that last one was Eric only, but one gets a halo for every piece of Ikea furniture one puts together, so I am sure he didn’t mind collecting a handful of them). I spent the rest of my time reading books to prepare for labor and getting emotionally ready for this big, wonderful, happy change in our lives.

And then one night in July I nurtured myself by taking labor one contraction and one push at a time until I was holding our sweet son. It was the best day of my life.

Suddenly there were whole new realms of nurturing to explore. I learned, and continue to learn, how to take the best care of Micah, to meet his needs, and to encourage his growth. And, of course, to shower him with love and kisses every single day. If you saw his cute little cheeks, you wouldn’t be able to stop kissing them either.

Parenting has been a wonderful adventure so far, and I’ve loved being able to nurture Eric as a father, but also as my husband. Taking time (or making time!) for our relationship has been a joy (if also a challenge!), and one I look forward to keeping up for the rest of our lives.

And nurturing has also taken on new meanings for me. It meant taking it easy during my (thankfully easy) recovery. It means taking naps when I can. It means not expecting to cook dinner every night or have the house spotless (hahaha!). It means doing my very best to be present in each moment with our son, and in each moment when he is asleep and I’m on my own.

I feel like I turned a corner when Micah was about five weeks old. “Hey,” I thought, “I could actually do something.” It wasn’t that I was unhappy–I wouldn’t trade those newborn days for anything. I just was starting to feel like I might be able to get back to doing some of the things I enjoyed doing before he was born. I talked to (the ever-supportive) Eric about it, and I made a list of fun things to do during naptime or before bed. Things like painting and journaling and reading and blogging. And then, in true Cameronian fashion, I…tried to do them all at once! This was really stressful for a few days, and then pretty hilarious. The ability to laugh at oneself can never be overrated.

Now nurturing myself means taking it one thing at a time, and enjoying the slow pace. It means embracing the time that I do have. It means being patient with myself as I lose the baby weight (not a huge preoccupation, but I would like my clothes and my rings to fit again one day!). It means taking one million pictures of my baby because I don’t want to forget anything about these precious days.

But even throughout the happy roller coaster ride of this year, there are some things about this word that haven’t changed at all, and I love that. It’s still essentially about love, of myself and of others. It’s still about being patient and present. It’s still about living every day to the fullest. It’s still a fantastic word.

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