Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Blues

Last week (or the week before?  Like I can tell time now.) Bubba came home from work and said that one of his colleagues had asked him what he likes best about parenthood so far.  At the time Bubba didn't have a good answer, but after thinking about it, he told me that he just loves looking at Lucy.  He took her hand and said "Look at this perfect little hand and fingers.  Look at the perfect form."  He then asked me what my favorite part of motherhood was so far.

I had no clue.  Worse than that, I wanted to answer "nothing.  I don't like anything about it."  Instead, I told him I was having a hard time and started sobbing.

I was always a little trepidatious about how I would handle the postpartum emotions and hormonal upset.  Pre-pregnancy, my PMS would be pretty raw, and my emotions would lean toward the sad variety.  So, after Lucy was born, I tried to steel myself and prepare the Bubba for what I thought would surely be a hurricane of histrionics.

I've been pleasantly surprised that it hasn't really been too bad.  My version of the postpartum blues has been a sort of mourning of my previous life.  In France before you're married, your friends throw you an "enterrement de jeune fille/jeune homme," literally a funeral for your maiden life or your life as a youth.  That's how I felt in the second week Lucy was home.

I would sit and cry thinking "Really?  Is this going to be my life from now on?"  Sleeping for two hours at a time and otherwise changing diapers or being a dairy cow.  I would sit in the rocking chair thinking that the living room would be all I would ever see again, and how sad that is because the clock doesn't match the decor since we painted the walls and why can't the Bubba just put the damn ottoman back where it goes when he's done throwing it around the room and why do the concrete trucks have to make so much noise when they're going up the hill and is this what I'm going to have to listen to for all of my life!

I've had to bid goodbye to my previous care-freedom and the thought that a productive day means getting something concrete done.  Now a productive day means keeping Lucy happy and getting a shower.  I've had to bury the idea that it's important to do the dishes and laundry.  Pumping a bottle for the Bubba's midnight shift is way more important.  But the thing about an enterrement, is that you say goodbye, and then it's over.  Then you start your new life.

My favorite thing about having a baby so far is the post-meal cuddles.  Lucy is a cuddler and loves being close to us.  By far my favorite thing is just after she nurses and I put her up on my shoulder to burp her and she nestles in the crook of my neck and grabs my shirt or my hair in her hands and just is for a while.  That's perfect.  

And I don't even miss that other stuff any more.


Elizabeth said...

Oh, hugs! i so wish I was there to help. But yes, get a shower every day and on the days you do, give yourself mad props and on the days you don't cut yourself some slack.
Also, it gets so so so so so much better, I SWEAR. It really really does. I take a shower every day now and i don't give it a second thought!

Carrie said...

Babies do change life a lot, and it's really hard at first, especially if you've been an independent woman. But I agree with Elizabeth, it gets SO much better when they get a little older.

Be sure to take time off when you need it. Sometimes I'm waiting at the door when Daniel comes home, I give him Ethan and I run out the door. And I feel so much better after a few minutes to myself. It's good for everyone!

hang in there!

maggie said...

Ugh. I KNOW. And even though I've been through it before and figured out how to live the 'new' life, I'm freaked all over again. I liked the 3-4 month stage when I could go anywhere and just carry the baby. Nap schedules make things difficult later on, but you figure it out and your friends have babies too and you figure out that playdates are actually mommy-gets-to-see-HER-friends dates and life is fun. Really. I'm telling this to myself too!