I struggle to express just what these first weeks are like. I've heard becoming a parent compared to taking a trip to Neptune. I've heard it compared to being in jail, only the warden is someone you really like. I'm thinking it's more like your home suddenly turns into boot camp, only the drill sergeant is a sweet, nursing baby instead of Lee Ermey.
A friend said that it's normal to go through a grieving period during a big transition like this. That makes a lot of sense, as I occasionally found myself tearing up at odd moments those first two weeks--seeing a coupon on the fridge for a restaurant we planned to try, or seeing an article about a new teaching methodology. Anything outside the context of keeping the new baby warm, fed, clean, and comfortable was a jarring and sometimes painful reminder of what was the norm just a few days before.
Nothing fully prepares you for how radically your life changes in that time you walk into the hospital and before you cross your door's threshold a couple of days later.
But with change comes new joys! I get to know my partner in a totally different way. The husband and I are so close, and I do miss knowing every little detail about each others' days and every ache and craving in our hearts. That sort of intimacy (along with the other, of course) is on hiatus, as we just don't have the time to sit, cuddle, and talk everything through like we used to. And that means I get to see the husband walking the walk. I always found him to be an amazingly supportive partner, and that's definitely manifesting with the baby as well: he changes her diapers, gets me food and drinks while I'm nursing or pumping, and goes to bed early so he can get up at 5:00 a.m. and give me a break.
Something new is growing, and this is the first time we've ever undertaken something entirely huge like this. Just like boot camp, we've signed up for this baby thing for a reason bigger than ourselves. And we're doing it together.