As a Senior in High School, I had this amazing AP English teacher, Ms. Lausch, who encouraged us to keep a notebook at all times. We could doodle in it, write stories, song lyrics or poems, it didn’t matter as long as we did something. She would collect the notebooks every Friday and “grade” them. What she was grading on was our willingness to be creative. I adored her and this idea.
She entered one of my poems into a state contest – and I won! It was crazy to me, because I didn’t consider myself a writer, let alone a poet. There was a little ceremony where I received my small cash prize and I got to read my poem aloud to the judges. It was a great experience.
When I went to University of Dayton in the Fall, I signed up for a poetry class. The professor was the Poet Laureate of Dayton. He critiqued every word and every line of our poems, in front of our classmates, proclaiming our subject matter to be “juvenile” “silly” and “lacking in depth.” (We were 18! Sounds about right to me…) It was a painful experience for me to take part in. I still managed to get an A in the class, but I never wrote a single poem after that.
Two very different styles of teaching – one that lifted me up and told me that I could create, the other an exercise in crushing a young, would-be poet’s spirit.
The reason I’m starting this post with this story from my past is that today’s word prompt is “patience” and the minute I saw it I thought, “I want to write a poem about having patience when you become a new parent.” I’m feeling nervous and vulnerable about putting this out there. But, I encourage my families to lean in to their feelings of vulnerability all the time and “practice what you preach,” is something I prescribe to. So, here it is – my first poem in almost 30 years. I hope it resonates with some of you.
This is taking so long
Walk, birth ball, bathtub, breathe
Rinse and repeat
I’m only how far dilated?
You’ve got to be kidding me
This is taking too long
Stay focused, concentrate
“Ride the Wave”
It feels like I’m drowning in this wave
4-5 inches feels more like a mile
Why does this have to take so long?
I’m going to be so good at this
I want to be so good at this
I’m trying to be so good at this
Everyone else is so good at this
I suck at this
Will I ever be good at this?
So many changes
All at once
She’s so tiny and needs so much
I have needs
He has needs
We all have
So many needs
To take a shower
To be social again
To be left alone, for once
To feel like we know what we’re doing
Why is this taking so long?
One morning I wake and realize
I can’t remember what it was like
Before she was here
I am changed
He is changed
We are changed
It took a long time
Much longer than I thought it would
Much, much longer than I thought it should
The best advice
I could have received
I wish I had received
Have a little patience
With your process
With your body
With your baby
With your partner
Just have a little patience
If I wasn’t doing this work that I’m so passionate about, there’s nothing more I’d rather be than a rockstar! So, for those of you who need a reminder as new parents to have a little patience, this is for you. Sing it to yourself quietly on the tough days, but on the really tough days, check out this video from Guns & Roses, and let Axel and the boys sing it for you nice and loud!
Remember that this transition – it takes time. So have a little patience.
Does this resonate with you? Did you feel impatient for the transition to parenthood to just happen already? How long did it take for you?