It starts with a word. It starts with a look. It starts with an intention.
It starts with a moment in which we pause to think, what is going on here?
The postpartum season is a whirlwind of biological, psychological and social transitions. It is a magnifier of the things we go through anyway, just more of them.
Our bodies always need vitamins, rest, water and good nutrition.
Our minds always need to stop, observe, and proceed before speaking and acting. We are always managing the delicate balance of physical and cognitive processes that inform our views of the world and our interaction with others.
Our daily living is always nested within a network of relationships with those whose lives our actions and words affect, and who affects us.
But the postpartum period makes it a tornado of all this cycling shockingly fast, possibly too fast for those caught up in its winds.
Periods like this not only serve as handy diagnostic tools for bad habits, showing us what we are really made of, but the implementation of solutions during this period functions both like bootcamp training for easier days and reveals new ways of working we may not have previously realized.
It takes one small thing.
One small choice. To pause, to see, to step away, too cool down.
One small phrase. I’m sorry. I love you. I need you. Please help.
Our lives are made up of a series of these small things.
Vincent Van Gogh wrote his brother Theo, “For the great doesn’t happen through impulse alone, and is a succession of little things that are brought together.”
I cannot map out all the steps I need to make the transition. Short term goals make little difference in the cases where control is outside us. My goal is to get through and to get through well. What do I need to do to achieve that?
One small thing.
The thing in front of me.
The thing before me.
Address the thing behind me.
Embrace the thing beside me.
One small thing.
The season changes and we ask, what have I learned?
I hope I learn something that I can take into the next season, be it problem solving, appreciation or love.
And the small things add up together.
The power of a new morning speaks volumes. To wake with a renewed body, a refreshed mind and a break in the business of the days that stretch before us.
We need the same pause during the day, when moods grow to strong, with words grow too harsh, when the heart grows too weary.
Pause, rest, reset.
It’s the choice to look at a beautiful gardening book instead of mopping the floor. The choice to sit in the sun and watch children play instead of tend to the laundry. It’s the choice to turn away from the computer or phone or newspaper in order to give my full attention to the speaker before me.
It’s the choice to embrace newborn days and nights. The choice to watch an episode of “The Office” with my spouse instead of going to sleep twenty minutes earlier. It’s the choice to read “Dr. Seuss” to my four-year-old.
All our lives are a series of these choices.
Let’s make good choices today starting with the small things before us.