Babies…cute, cuddly, sweet, adorable. Right? Well, yes… and no.
Now I know some people love taking care of babies and I have incredible respect for anyone who can do this and do it well. Major confession time: I am not a baby person. There. I said it and I mean it.
Colic is Hell
Don’t get me wrong, I love my daughter more than anything or anyone else in this world, but the early weeks of her infancy were just not my personal brand of fun.
Feeding, burping, changing diapers…repeat. While sleep deprived, functioning like a zombie, recovering from labor and delivery. Oh… and did I forget to mention 7 weeks of colic? Colic is not only “not fun,” it is hell.
And yet I would do it all again for her, the lovely young person she has become.
Beginnings are Tough
So why am I sitting here complaining about how much I hate taking care of babies?
Because it got me to thinking about how the beginning of anything really and truly worthwhile is a lot like caring for an infant.
It’s All About the Basics
The early weeks with a baby are about constantly tending to, nurturing, and caring for your child way before there is any reward or reinforcement… not even one measly little smile from gas bubbles!
It’s taking care of the basics. It’s monotonous. It’s routinely doing the same things over and over again, with a lot of sleepless nights, confusing and uncertain days, and sacrifice …
Finally, little by little, those bright eyes begin to focus That smile comes across that little face when your baby hears you come into the room or sees your face. Your little baby grows and becomes strong, and soon begins to communicate more and more with you, expressing her wants, her needs, her self.
And before you know it, she’s moving through the big, wide world “all by herself!”
What’s Your “Baby?”
When you are beginning a recovery process, starting therapy, trying to kick an addiction, or starting any new venture that matters to you, the infancy stage is going to require sleepless nights and sacrifice, tedious and monotonous commitment to details without much payback initially. It is going to require that you put in the work…every single day… day after day… long before you see anything accumulating beyond a pail full of metaphorical dirty diapers.
It Takes Time
Every day you do not drink or smoke, every day you abstain from binging or purging, every day you get up and exercise, every day you choose that healthy behavior for yourself is just one step.
It’s not going to give you many real immediate results. (Yeah, I know, it sucks.) It’s the accumulated effects over time that begin to make the difference. And there is no healthy substitute for doing the right thing every day over time.
Take Care of Your Baby
So, tedious and difficult, challenging and frustrating… commit to taking care of your baby. Whether that baby is a real one, or your” baby” is your mental health, your physical health, your relationship, your recovery process, or your new business or creative venture.
It’s going to take time.
It’s not going to be a lot of fun at first.
It’s going to pay off. 🙂
Dr. Anita Sanz, PhD, Psychologist
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