Aug312011

The new normal…again…

Wednesday August 31st 2011, AT 6:27PM   Leave a comment

I used to sleep on my tummy.

There were all sorts of reasons that I shouldn’t – the potential for more wrinkles on my face, the fact that it’s a bad position for my neck and back, and also because when I slept on my front I also slept on the arm I’d tuck under myself and my hand would lose all circulation…but in the middle of the night I couldn’t seem to summon those reasons or reason at all to convince myself to move out of this most comfortable position. It was heavenly, and felt like home. After a long day, most of it spent with pain in one or more joints from my Arthritis, this was a position I could count on. I’d settle in and welcome sleep, letting it just take me.

Then I got pregnant, and as my baby and belly grew, this favorite position had to be abandoned for one that wouldn’t squish that little being growing inside of me. After I had our son, I tried to go back to my tummy so that the delicious sleep I was used to before getting pregnant, would come. But it didn’t.

Our growing baby was putting strain on my already damaged shoulder joint, and the pain in a front-sleeping position was unbearable, even when I was exhausted. So, back to my back, with a little side action thrown in once in a while. Though I didn’t think I ever would, I actually slowly adjusted, and last night at 5am I realized that the yummy sleeps I used to have when sleeping on my tummy, had finally returned.

Where am I going with this?

New things have started to scare me, and this is something I need to work on. I seem to spend more time lamenting on how good it used to be and that it’ll never be that good again than I do giving the new thing a really and truly good shot.

I wasn’t always like this – I actually used to be quite comfortable with not knowing what was around the corner, and I’d often head in to a new situation blissfully and rather comfortably unaware of what it was to hold.

I suspect this is some thing that happens to a lot of relatively new mothers, because since having our son, it’s his transitions into new phases that cause me the most trepidation. Like dropping from two naps to one, and weaning him from nursing, for instance. It’s uncomfortable heading into the unknown. I am someone, I have learned, who likes to know what to expect. I am a creature of habit. I am a lover of routines. They get to be comfortable, and safe.

So I freak out a little — what if he isn’t as well rested on one nap? What if it starts to negatively affect his nighttime sleep? What if I wean him and he gets sick? I let those questions out, and I try out the new, and one day, it seems that it’s happened. Kind of suddenly, I’ve become comfortable again.

So that is what I am thinking about at this time of back to school, when summer is starting to wind down and I book my guy and myself into a music and movement class on Monday mornings, and a mom-and-me Montessori program on Wednesday mornings.

Those new activities are going to change our old, comfortable and safe routine but they are things that, at age 22 months, he’s going to benefit from immensely. And so will I. It’s time for me to start getting more comfortable with change. I can do this, I tell myself.

After all, if it’s true that with time and subtle adjustments and tweaks, a person can learn how to sleep in a brand new position, then most definitely, a person can learn to be comfortable managing changes in routine and welcoming in the new normal.

Live like you mean it,
Tamara

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