“Remember when we met? You didn’t want kids. Ever.”
“I do remember that. Yep.”
“But then things changed, I guess.”
“Well, you had Jack. So technically, I didn’t have to have any kids. Never planned to.”
“So what changed?”
“I liked the freedom of walking away if I needed to. Kids complicate that.”
“Well, when I realized I didn’t need that freedom anymore, things changed.”
Things are going okay over here. I had two big, overwhelming fears when it came to a new baby: a labor/delivery like I had my first time (which didn’t happen, mercifully! HOORAY.), and breastfeeding. Breastfeeding was obviously something I mostly internalized, because when I mention to people now how horrible the experience was with Tony, they seem surprised. People like, you know, my husband. Who was there. But it was AWFUL. The screaming, the pain, the infected ducts, the fevers.. Jesus. In fact, I think that started the spiral down PPD lane. It was THAT bad. Horriblè bad. (French awful.)
But this time has gone MUCHO better. (Spanish good.) It’s still not easy – yet – but man. Night and day from last time. I learned that a large stumbling block was my own … biological.. makeup? (I have a flat nipple. You’re welcome. THIRTY TWO YEARS and not one complaint about them.) And I found a lactation boutique here in town that was a godsend. (I know. I laughed at the description too. But MERCY LAWD if they weren’t super helpful.)
I finally today (a week after we were discharged) read The New Mom’s Handbook they gave us at the hospital. I have to be clear here: there’s a lot of good information in that book. But nothing – AND I MEAN NOTHING – sets my hair on fire more than breastfeeding literature that says you should feel NO pain during breastfeeding. ESPECIALLY targeting new/early moms. NO pain? REALLY? Something is suckling at a tender part of your body every two hours twenty four hours a day and you don’t think there should be a little pain? Can we just not be realistic about this? And some women – myself included, oh merciful heavens – have let-down and latch-on pain. Which means that, even during a good feed, the first minute or so is horrendously painful. It disappears, but man. Let’s call a spade a spade here.
I am having trouble adjusting to not being available to anyone else’s beck and call. Being the primary food giver means that my day circles around Sir Vinnie’s schedule, and that means I’ve spent several of Tony’s bedtimes tucked away in a nursery, sobbing hysterically that I’m an unfit mother. (I wish that were an exaggeration and can we talk about the baby blues?) Tony was having a meltdown the other night at bedtime and that’s usually when I step in and I heard him calling for me through the wall and MY GOODNESS IF YOU THINK I’M NOT CRYING EVEN NOW YOU THINK TOO HIGHLY OF ME. It’s just hard. Adjusting is hard. It’s even harder when you’re a good part OCD and your day is built by routine and now there is none. Am I talking about Tony here or myself? YES is the answer.
But again, I think I’m internalizing most of this, which brings me back to the baby blues. I’m doing okay – better than last time, no question – so when people ask something of me, I’m kind of surprised. Um, I had a baby a week ago. Don’t I get a pass? For, like, two weeks maybe? And they look at me and say things like, “But you’re doing so well!” and “Look at how well you’re recovering!” and I have to point out that I am on the brink every single day. I struggle for any successes on a daily basis. I don’t think I can handle more than my current juggling load.
I’ve been toiling to remember how I realized last time that I needed professional help. I wrote about it, but I’m trying to remember – specifically – what that darkness felt like so I can see it in front of me and get help before I fall down the hole. (If such a thing is even preventable.) I can’t remember, and that scares me. I’m scared I’ll just wake up one day and look around and think, Well, shit. I’m here. Again.
That very well may happen. I guess we’ll take it day-by-day.
I terrified many of you on the internet (and now MORE OF YOU MWUAHAHAHA) with this picture last week.
And I’m happy to report that the lovely internet people, once done vomiting into the nearest receptacle, answered, “WOMAN, GET YOU SOME COMPRESSION SOCKS!” and you know what? Those suckers worked! I wore them every waking hour for three days in a row and I can now see my ankle bones! I have them! Thank you, internet people.
And now, random pictures. Because that’s what you came for anyway.
Okay, ONE LAST THING: I have been breastfeeding for a good week now. WHEN DOES THE BABY WEIGHT JUST SLIDE OFF? You people PROMISED.