Surviving Apocalypse

Surviving Apocalypse (Having a First Baby)

by Amy Bornman

I ambiently thought for years about motherhood before becoming pregnant. I knew it was something I wanted in my life, and I also knew it terrified me. My reaction to fear is always research, contemplation. Drown myself in information, other trusted people’s interpretations, see where it all shakes out. I knew it would feel brand new in me even though becoming a parent is one of the most universal human experiences on earth. No matter how many times someone else had stepped into new parenthood, I never had before. To me, it felt like apocalypse — the end of a world. A step off of a cliff to slowly fall to somewhere new. A little death, a new life. Transformation. I can’t take that sort of passage lightly. Now, ten months after the birth of my baby, I can say with confidence that I was right to allow this time of my life to hold appropriate gravity. This is probably the most profoundly huge thing that has ever happened to me. After the end of the world, a new world to explore, inhabit, make a home in. Such a passage needs support, affirmation, guideposts. I’m more grateful now than ever for all the things that helped me along — these were those things for me, maybe one of them will become a guidepost in new parenthood (or any wild apocalyptic transition)  for you too. 

little labors, rivka galchen
the blue jay’s dance, louise erdrich
nightbitch, rachel yoder
the shame, makenna goodman
“write like a mother” newsletter by sara fredman
of woman born, adrienne rich
soundmachine, rachel zucker
the need, helen phillips
mother is a verb, sarah knott
“poems about motherhood” list from the poetry foundation

“hours are the new days” by mary glenn
laura veirs, my echo
george winston, summer
commonplace podcast, rachel zucker
mom rage podcast, edan lepucki + amelia morris
the birth hour podcast
raffi + sesame street + (dread) cocomelon

soft pillows for nursing/holding
vacuum/steam mop
airpods (I repeat, AIRPODS!!! a luxury worth their weight in gold for this season of life)
unfancy toys that light up and make noise

tank tops
beautiful wools
buy new pants that fit
matching clothes while the baby can’t resist

“don’t do anything while the baby is sleeping you can do when they are awake”
cope however you need (okay to doomscroll, okay to bingewatch tv, okay to retreat, okay to eat everything comforting as much as wanted, okay to be incommunicative or over-communicative)
ask for so much help
waste time
take baths, set a twenty or thirty minute timer (or something specifically bent toward full body relaxation)
luxuriate in bedtime
notice pleasure when it visits
go to favorite places
eat treats
find places that are safe to talk freely about how you feel
make impulse purchases when needed if they will make your life easier
stack the books higher and higher
invite friends to come visit, even (or especially) after the early days
allow change in yourself
find an older parent you can trust (aka call while crying)