The Decision You Make Today

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.

Image of sunrise
Photo by Sapan Patel on Unsplash

Still gasping over Kate Middleton’s high heels?

Why such attitude against Kate Middleton? I think she is lovely. That she appeared shortly after delivering a baby, dressed and in heels, only speaks to her fulfilling what she and/or her family feels is her duty. As part of the royal family, they belong to the public so to speak, and so, just as she would have her intimate family view the baby, they chose to appear in public to show the baby with their family, England.

Heels? Beautiful hair? An actual dress? Kate Middleton is very slender and the dress is flattering, no doubt made intentionally or carefully selected for her. It may have been very expensive because great design usually is. You want to critisize her footwear? I know women who wear heels throughout their third trimester because it is easier on their lower back. As a public figure she wears heels, a lot. You think its unthinkable to wear heels after delivery? Do you wear them every day? Some women are so used to them they actually find them comfortable. Relax. You don’t have to be here, so don’t be in shock that you wouldn’t make the same choices.

Yes, she looked amazing. I keep thinking, a team of stylists will do that. It’s nothing against her and nothing against the average, non-royal woman. But I have no doubt a hair stylist, a makeup artist, and someone from wardrobe helped her prepare for that short moment.

If as a married woman, part of my way of loving my husband is to dress in a way that makes him happy (he is so visual after all) then why wouldn’t the Duchess of Cambridge have a responsibility to dress with care, showing the dignity, strength and joy of the future leader of their country?

Some women are still in a tizzy over it, as if the Duchess’s appearance sets a new standard. It doesn’t, unless you are also delivering babies who may rule a country. You may focus on your family. Perhaps it simply means smiling. Perhaps, God forbid, it means choosing a simple hairstyle and getting dressed postpartum so you don’t look quite as awful as you feel. Then rather than inciting others to pity you, you will inspire them to be joyful for you. It isn’t a matter of hiding how you feel, but sublimating it.

Smile even when you don’t feel like it, they told me when I was in youth group. Fake it till you make it. You don’t have to wear heels, you don’t even have to wear make-up, but it might feel good to tidy up a little, shower, look in the mirror and know that you did this, you accomplished something amazing and you look incredible doing it. This is my Duchess of Cambridge moment when my first was born. I braided my hair! The second time I put on pajamas. The third time I wore a little make-up.

Baby 009It’s all subjective. The right level of self-care at the particular time under the particular circumstances. Maybe it means wearing real pajamas instead of a hospital gown that second day and that is your Duchess moment. Maybe it means make-up. It doesn’t have to. None of this is a have-to. It isn’t the Duchess’s job to teach you how to be a mother of however many you have or a wife or a woman in the United States. She is doing her thing. Now you go do yours.