I’d been un-pregnant for a mere 2 weeks the dreaded ‘numbers’ started calling out to me. You know the ones. You have them too. We all have them.
The numbers on the scale.
The numbers on your jeans label.
The numbers on your bra size.
The number of pounds you gained having children, and the number you still have left to lose.
The number of calories you ate for lunch and the number of hours it took you to ingest them [they don’t count if you eat them standing up, in the car, or while nursing, right?]
There are numbers you wish would go up, and some you wish would go down. And still others you’d just like to freeze, like the number of years that your children will be children and prefer your company to anyone else’s.
This is my last baby, and my days of walking zombie-like around my house with a burp cloth draped across my shoulder and one boob left accidentally hanging out are numbered. This is the last time I’ll get to eat an extra 500 calories a day because I’m nursing every 2 hours around the clock, and the last time I’ll wash 72 little cotton square blankets each week, which means the loads my overworked washer and dryer have left are also numbered, although I’m hopeful they’ll make it through the soccer years.
Experience has a way of changing the way you measure yourself. And it’s taken me 5 years, 4 pregnancies, and a lot of self discovery to learn to see a different set of numbers: Not the ones that quantify me, but the ones that qualify me; The ones that remind me of the effort, the sacrifice, and the love that motherhood requires, and which I give each day without pause, except for the occasional quiet tears in the sanctity and humming solitude of my laundry room, but I’m not counting those.
Here are a few of the numbers that I’m proud to share.
3 incredible children
20 hours of labor
7 cm without an epidural
32 months of being pregnant
33 months of breastfeeding (and counting)
4 minimum number of hours of sleep I can function on (not necessarily consecutive)
2 the number of hours between nursing sessions
20 the number ounces of extra breastmilk I can pump each day
28 the number of bags of frozen breastmilk I’ve stored so far
9 years of marriage, the better half of them enriched immeasurably by parenthood
2 the number of years I spent as a working mom
2 the number of years I’ve spent as a stay-at-home mom
What numbers will you share?