I had been home with my daughter for almost a year. The feeling of isolation was intense. My world had shrunk so severely it was essentially limited to the four walls of our house. When I did get out, it was usually only to run errands. With baby in tow.
I nursed my daughter for that entire period, during which she refused to drink from a bottle. So I was never able to leave her with someone and take an extended break. Sure, I could get away for an hour or two every once in a while, but that was it.
Motherhood is exhausting, and I got to a point where I was very close to burning out. One night after putting SB to sleep, I went to the kitchen and poured myself a glass of wine. Upon seeing this, my husband asked, “Rough day?”
I glared at him. “How many vacation days have you taken this year?”
Not realizing where this was going at first, he actually started trying to calculate the number of days he had taken off work (and after 20+ years with his employer, he has close to eight weeks of PTO a year). Then it hit him and he simply replied sheepishly, “A lot.”
“And how many days have I had off in the past year?"
“Wait, I can tell you. Exactly NONE," I screamed. "ZERO! I HAVEN’T HAD A SINGLE DAY OFF SINCE I GAVE BIRTH TO THAT CHILD!!! Hell, I haven’t had a single HOUR all to myself that didn't involve running some sort of errand!”
Granted, at that particular time I was in the process of weaning SB and was without a doubt the most hormonally imbalanced I have ever been in my life. My emotions were out of control. But I wasn’t wrong.
As is often the case with moms, I had neglected to care for myself in the first year after SB was born. Everyone else came first. I didn’t get enough sleep. I didn’t get enough exercise. I didn’t even get much fresh air. It was a recipe for a breakdown.
Shortly after that, I booked a day at the spa as a birthday present to myself. Massage, body treatment, facial. A few mimosas and a lovely lunch poolside with the ocean breeze blowing. It was just what the doctor ordered, if by doctor you mean psychiatrist. At the end of the day I was truly relaxed and refreshed.
I'm in much better shape as I approach my birthday this year. Mentally, emotionally, physically. I'm more settled now. But I do feel run down. And a little edgy. I decided the spa visit should be a new tradition. An annual indulgence. This year I am trying out a different seaside spa. I'll let you know how it goes...