Henry is a month old today and I remembered that the day John was a month old, we flew into Denmark for a six week visit while Michael was there on a research grant.
I found the transition to motherhood to be rather difficult. It didn’t help that I birthed a nine pound baby without drugs, started to hemorrhage and was well on my way to passing out, then went home and treated myself almost as if this never happened and started frantically preparing to take our newborn to a foreign county. Michael left two weeks after John was born and I spent the next 15 days shaking with chills and sweats from the fatigue, not napping and, by the time I arrived in Copenhagen, had slept exactly 45 minutes during the previous 36 hour period.
After pushing myself to my very limit, I finally let go and started experiencing what I only somewhat jokingly called “Mama Zen,” where I just went with the flow of nursing, sleeping and life in this strange country started falling into place. Encouraged by all the topless women, I learned how not to freak out about nursing in public. I stopped worrying so much about schedules and naptimes and life fell into a new pattern – a new normal.
One day was especially memorable for its sheer normalcy with tiny tastes of serendipity. It rained a lot while we were in Copenhagen, but this particular week was sunny and relatively warm. That Friday I gave up sight-seeing, cooking and all the small tasks I taken on since our arrival and John and I spent hours in Kongens Have – The King’s Garden – the grounds around an ancient Danish castle. I packed a simple lunch: slice of cheese, piece of bread, an apple, water. We nursed, played, snuggled, napped, and walked around soaking in the sunshine. It was so peaceful and unhurried and I felt I finally had time to completely revel in this baby who despite my distraction had always seemed startlingly familiar. With few exceptions, even in those early days, I felt like I got him.
Then sitting under a young tree nursing John in the late afternoon sunshine, when the high school students were just starting to arrive carrying crates of cheep beer, Michael was suddenly there and dropped this old clunky bike he was borrowing to the grass and joined us. He didn’t know for sure that we would be there, but had a hunch and took a detour on the way back from the research center and discovered where we had planted ourselves on that 100+ acre park.
It was this moment that I thought I’d always remember: that place at that time when the three of us found each other.