You’re Going To Need More Than You Think

You’re Going To Need More Than You Think

I texted a girlfriend (who’d already had two kids) my postpartum support plan and she wisely said, “Get more help than you think you’ll need.”

She was right. I thought I had lined up what I needed. But when I found myself upstairs needing frozen witch hazel “padsicles” from the freezer in the kitchen yet again, and the pain of walking down the stairs one more time was more than I could handle, not to mention the crying baby, I realized:

I needed more help than I thought I’d need.

I’m running out the door to get to swim class with the preschooler and the baby is in tow. If we don’t get in the car in the next 30 seconds we’ll be late. But then the baby has a blow out. And the preschooler needs a snack. And I don’t have her swimsuit bottoms. And I realized I’ve left the car keys and my phone in the house.

I needed more time than I thought I’d need.

I was 10 weeks postpartum and still feeling tired when I stood for too long or it was a busy day. Despite extensive reading about the postpartum period and building in lots of recovery time, I was under our culture’s spell that things should be “getting back to normal” by now, whatever that means. But they weren’t.

I needed more rest than I thought I’d need.

I felt waves of guilt about my experience during my first year as a mother and how I wasn’t able to show up and have it all together as I ridiculously had expected I would. There were moments I wished I could have gone back and redone. I could have been more present with my baby and kinder with my husband. I could have savored waaaay more. But I didn’t, and yet, I was still a good mom.

I needed more grace than I thought I’d need.

This is what I’ve found to be true:

When I give myself less, I end up needing more.

When I give myself more, I usually don’t need it all. twitter-logo

You’re Going To Need More Than You Think

(And if I do need it all, it’s there.)

This applies to snacks, time, napkins, diapers, forgiveness, grace, rest, and pretty much anything else I can think of.

I choose to take care of myself by giving myself more than I think I’ll need. Feel free to join me.

OVER TO YOU:

What do you find yourself needing more of than you thought you’d need? What can you give yourself more of today? Leave a comment and let me know!

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10 comments

  • Oh girl……I am sobbing now. I wish I had had you when my children were babies. They are now in college and high school, but I still find that I need more than I often think to give myself. Some of it is my training as an artist which taught me to be creative with very little. I am totally grateful for that skill, don’t get me wrong. But I’m still having to learn how to fully value myself, and plan to take care of myself as well as I take care of my other ventures. Including my children. Your voice is so welcome. Thanks for doing what you do! And saying what you say!

  • Your thoughts reminded me of a poem I love by the calligrapher Mitsuo:

    If we fight over it, there won’t be enough.
    If we share, there will be leftovers.

    I love that this message can be distilled into a lesson on nurturing the self and can also be applied to, for example, immigration policy.

  • Ellen Lacey

    Thank you for writing this post! I needed exactly these words today. I keep repeating the thought “you should be fine by now”. But I am anxious, 2 of my 4 children are struggling with challenging behaviors, the car is acting funny, I am transitioning careers, etc. I’m afraid of failing and succeeding. I haven’t showered and my house needs attention. Today I am going to give myself more than I think I need, especially forgiveness and grace. Thank you so so much.

  • As always, wise and nourishing words.
    Thank you dear Kate!!!

  • Ah, such a breath of fresh air, thank you!

    I smiled at your image of getting the preschooler & baby out to swim class on time – it really is a complete mission at times, just to actually get out the door and to wherever you’re going isn’t it!

    It’s an achievement to actually get anywhere with two little kids in tow I reckon :-)

    What I think I need more of today is simply fresh air. I’ve been writing inside a lot the last couple of days, it’s time for a good ‘blow the cobwebs away’ kind of walk today!

    Have a wonderful day,
    Jo

  • wendelijn

    Although a month later…. this blog finds me at exactly the right time. Struggling with my health…giving myself what i need is my biggest. Let alone, more…. i know it’s true but only when I’m deserving of it (ergo, being more succesful in my business) . So yes…. mega thanks for being so open .

    More grace… that’s a biggie.

    Thanks for being you Kate ! And thanks for sharing your wisdom.

    Much love

  • I needed this. I am 3.5 months postpartum with my first and experiencing some days that just feel like I get nothing done and I just melt down! And other days are great, it is such an emotional rollercoaster and your words about society’s expectations of ‘getting back to normal’ resonated with me, and the blow out just as you are leaving the door, or my babe throwing up on me and himself when he is in the sling and we are just leaving the house. We do need more help than we think and it is important to ask for help. You asked what do you need more of…. SLEEP!! My little one is teething and it’s intense. What can I do today? Meditate. I have stopped my practice since baby Remmy came along. Thanks for the reminder Kate and your beautiful honesty x

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