May 29, 2012 by Heather
There isn’t a really spectacular way to transition from “Oh, here is the birth story of my blessed child who I love so much” to “This, as it turns out, is really difficult and why am I crying everyday.” There just isn’t.
For a brief moment I considered waiting to write about this until I was all the way out of it, on the other side. But why do that? It’s so much more fun to write about feeling like a hot mess when you yourself ARE the hot mess.
I’ve only ever heard one friend of mine mention her “baby blues.” I don’t have a ton of friends with children, so maybe that is why I have just heard of it that one time. Of course I read all about it in pregnancy books, about the symptoms and such. In the past I’ve struggled with anxiety and been through some counseling and had a brief anti-depressant stint, so naturally I worried that I would be susceptible to the kind of unwanted symptoms the books described. Lo and behold, I was right.
I sort of feel like talking about it is almost not allowed, you know? I should be posting photos and making lists of all the things I love about my precious son and this and that. But there’s enough of that out there, and not near enough of this.. so let’s roll with it.
Andrew went back to work this past Friday. I’m just going to say the thing you’re not supposed to say: as soon as he left I immediately felt like I was babysitting someone else’s baby. Like, with Andrew here, Parker felt like our child. But when he left I felt stranded and completely unprepared. I was also massively constipated all day long, which did not help the cause. We (Parker and myself) managed to survive the day, and I managed to have a victory down below around 3am the following morning. Praise be the the One on high.
Luckily, the long weekend really helped things. My soreness from the c-section got much better, and my motherly patience finally seemed to come in, like breast milk. But just like breast milk, I start off with a whole lot of it in the morning (cantaloupes, no lie) and then by nightfall my patience is like a deflated, busted water balloon. Just like my breasts.
Speaking of brrreasts, turns out breastfeeding is a bit of a drag. (Again, can I say that?) When I was pregnant and someone would ask if I planned to nurse, I would respond with an excited, “Yes! Breast is best!” Little did I know, “Breast” means having your nipples reduced to round pieces of hammered rubber for 4-hour stretches at times. I am almost certain that Parker will grow to be 7 feet tall and weigh around 300 pounds. The boy can eat. And no, I am not his human pacifier. As soon as he stops sucking, bam, he’s cut off. But if he’s not sleeping, he’s eating. He woke up from a nap at 7:30pm last night and enjoyed a milk feast all the way until midnight. MIDNIGHT. It wasn’t constant, there was burping and diapering and swaddling and rocking mixed in, but it definitely lasted a very long time.
My poor, poor nipples.
And Parker’s not the only one crying like a baby around these parts. Oh no, Mom has joined in on the fun. I have cried, on average, about 5 times a day since coming home from the hospital. I cry because I feel trapped. I cry because I never want anything bad to happen to my sweet baby. I cry because I miss it being just me and Andrew. I cry because I am exhausted. I cry because my stomach looks like a water bed (you were right, Mallorie). I cry because breastfeeding takes for-freaking-ever. I cry because I want to not feel like crying. I cry because I felt like a babysitter that one day, waiting for this kid’s parents to come pick him up. I cry because I don’t wear pants most days. I cry because I fear I am losing all mystery and sex appeal in the eyes of my luscious husband. I cry because the only underwear I can manage to put on my body right now are the disgusting, giant mesh panties from the hospital (see previous sentence). I cry because I know this precious boy will grow up someday and be some girl’s version of my Andrew and that makes me sad. I cry thinking of him going to kindergarten. I cry when I think about Parker being made inside of me. Basically, I just cry about anything. Boo hoo hooey.
Lest you begin to think I’ve totally lost it and I’m teetering on the edge here, please know that all of these feelings are beginning to lift. I feel myself rising out of the fog slowly but surely. My patience is increasing. My selfishness is subsiding. I’m finally starting to see this whole baby thing for what it is – not a burden to be frustrated at, but a beautiful, wonderful, amazing gift from God to be cherished and taken a day at a time.
I can’t do it all, I can’t be perfect, I can’t expect everything to be the way it was. But I can do some things, I can try my best, and I can be hopeful and excited for what is happening now and for what is to come. I can relish in the fact that he gets comfort and perfect nourishment from breastfeeding, something only I can give him. I can love this yummy little baby and squeeze his thighs until he makes his cute annoyed face. “Ugh, Mom, stop it.”
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17
“For You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:13-14