The more exhausted I get, the less I care who I flash when I feed my son. Here I always thought it would be empowering to breast feed in public…but I am actually just more self conscious about the fact that I don’t wear makeup in public most days now…
Just…watch. 🙂 ❤
Now before I get angry letters from people going off on me about how some people wait years to have their own children and still don’t get kids and on and on…let me clarify.
I was a nanny for two and a half years, a preschool teacher for five, and a babysitter since I was 13. I will ignore an adult if a child is talking to me, I think crafting and dancing are only more fun with a child, and I am fluent in Toddlerese. I am more patient with a child than I am with any one 15 or older, and their simple wonderment and awe of the world is inspiring to me. I love children, everything about children.
…but there is one flaw that anyone that HAD children forgot to inform me of. As a nanny, teacher and babysitter I could take breaks. I could go home and miss the kids. I could call in sick – or dead. I would walk into the house or school and the schedules were already set, the rules were already made, and the boundaries were already drawn. I never questioned if the care they were given was enough, if their schedule wasn’t working, or if the boundaries were too loose or too strict. If I couldn’t stand the kid or the family, I could walk away. I never pondered on just how badly I was going to mess them up, or even felt like I made mistakes. I was Mary F$%&ing Poppins in how awesome I was as a child care provider.
Then I had a baby. When they say “It’s different with your own kid” you always assume they mean because you love them unconditionally, everything they do is amazing, and you become this mother bear that would kill someone for harming them. Though all that’s true…it’s not entirely accurate.
“It’s different” because suddenly you would rather cut off your own hand with a butter knife than move that child from the swing – the one you’re not supposed to let them fall asleep in. Ever. Suddenly you contemplate how much puke or drool is worth the wrestling match of changing their clothes so they aren’t wet, and overnight your house becomes a replica of Hoarders because this little being eats more often than you do, sleeps only when it’s totally inconvenient for the entire human race – and refuses to sleep when it’s killing you both, and poops everywhere right after you make the decision to wrestle him into the new clothes, and through the screaming finally win the wrestling match.
“It’s different” because you analyze and agonize over the fact that you need a babysitter and worry both about if the babysitter is good enough (even if it’s grandma), and if you are a horrible mom because you NEED the sitter in the first place.
“It’s different” because you would willingly sell your right kidney in order to just get one solid day of rest and completely to yourself. Because you so desperately want to have someone else set a schedule for you and have your kid actually follow it. Because you want someone else to tell you baby clues such as “If he’s wiggling a lot, even though he’s tired and won’t eat…he probably pooped,” instead of needing to figure it out on your own like some awful Lost in Translation puzzle with a bomb attached to your back.
“It’s different” because when you KNOW they’re hungry but refuse to eat, which only makes them scream more because they’re getting hungrier by the minute while they are bowing backwards and your boob is hanging out and your dripping milk everywhere BECAUSE they are screaming…you understand why lions will eat their young.
“It’s different” because the reason you are “glowing” has nothing to do with the ads showing a loving mother cooing over her amazing precious child, but because you haven’t showered in five days and you are covered with drool, pee, spit up and sweat.
“It’s different” because as much as you want to have sex, you either don’t have time, are too exhausted (or too grossed out with your hygiene) or because you realized sex is what got you here in the first place.
“It’s different” because you don’t want them to grow up too fast, you have the camera out ALL THE TIME so you don’t miss any cuteness, and cry when you realize the outfit you brought them home in is now too small…and simultaneously are begging the Almighty to get through this phase as quickly as possible without needing a Clicker like Adam Sandler.
…and as I found out last night: More than anything, “it’s different” because when you’ve finally hit the breaking point, and completely loose your shit – no no. Really. It was BAAAAAD. – when you give up, give in, blare the Angry Girl Music and dance with your baby while teaching them to sing at the top of their lungs, that smile you get because they just needed you and think you are hilarious is the best thing in the world.
I reached my breaking point. I lost my filter. I cranked P!nk and Adam Lambert and Adelle, and sang to my baby like I would have a bottle of Captain a year ago. Then we played in the tub, I laughed as he learned (and LOVED) to splash…and we went to bed. I passed out next to this infuriating, irritating, exhausting, frustrating, tiny human being.
And I got it. “It’s different” because for the first time ever…it’s totally all worth it.
Recently I read a blog that I am kicking myself I didn’t save. The gist was this mom of three tried putting her toddler to bed. She kept calling her in saying “I need you mom!” and the mom brought her crackers, water, let her pee, fixed the blankets, get a different stuffy, change the night light color…finally after about 10 times of this, the mom comes in irritated and snaps “WHAT?! What do you need?!”
The little girl looked up and said “I just need YOU, mom.”
The mom crawled into bed with the toddler and snuggled. They didn’t say anything, she just held her. After just a few minutes, the little girl said “Ok mom. I think I can sleep now.” Sure enough, she rolled over and was out before mom closed the door.
I cried. I cried so hard! Because through everything – the sleep depravation, the hunger, the frustration, the annoyance that my son will only take a good nap if he’s on me right now – I suddenly realized, he just NEEDS me.
That’s my job. Not the dishes, the vacuuming, the laundry…those are needed later. But why in the hell would I put washing dishes (something I despise anyway) over just holding my child when that is all he wants. When THAT is what will make him happy, and sleep better?
Talk about putting yourself in check.
Having a baby is truly the only time you will be puked on by another human…and simply wipe it off instead of showering and changing into clean clothes.
Who was the idiot that thought baby socks were a good idea?! Feet that are sewn onto pajamas, and occasionally (awesomely) on pants should be standard. But the socks don’t stay on, babies don’t wear shoes. And they take forever to get on their foot.
I think they should be eliminated. Make more footie pants. They are cuter anyway.
Six months ago when people told me to be careful of Postpartum Depression, my first reaction was always ”Well, I’ve dealt with depression all my life. I know how to manage it so I should be fine.” It wasn’t meant to be a blow off, it was true. Since I was 16 I became acutely aware of when depression started to creep in: usually shortly before the holidays when the weather would turn to dreary and cold, then it would be masked by the stress and excitement of said holidays…but by January 15 I always knew if my preventative measures had not been enough that year. By the end of January I knew if I needed to go onto Zoloft again, or just go tanning.
This, though…this is a whole new beast. It’s like saying you’ve hunted wolves so you know how to kill a Grizzly Bear. FYI: I’m from Montana, hence the hunter’s analogy. If you didn’t know, the wolf population is actually dangerous to the livelihood of ranchers there. Trust me, they aren’t endangered. That whole thing started because some out of state dude got sentimental…kind of like those super intelligent people that say we shouldn’t slaughter cows, but just buy the burger at the grocery store. I digress…
Wolves are very dangerous, it’s true. But Grizzlies? Think the Hungarian Hornback mama dragon in Harry Potter. They are the only bear that will attack without prompting – especially if you come across a mom with her cubs. They can kill, and eat, a full grown moose; and they can run upto 30 mph.
Ok. Wildlife lesson over…like I was saying. Postpartum Depression is like the Grizzly…attacks without warning.
A few weeks ago, my husband was home trying to help me with the baby. He works swing shift right now, so I feel a lot like a single mom most of the time. I was quickly becoming VERY unraveled. i don’t quite remember if Damian had been crying all day, or just most of the evening…but this was before I learned his tired cues to put him down prior to total meltdown. He had just had a poop explosion and I needed to change everything. (Side note here: he HATES getting dressed and undressed. Naked or clothed he’s fine. It’s the act of getting him to one or the other that sucks.)
So I start to strip my son, and he starts to scream. I gave him his bath, put a new diaper on him, and he is still screaming. My husband comes in to ask “What can I do?” and, honest to god, I couldn’t tell him. I didn’t know. I knew the routine, I knew what came next, I knew the steps…but I couldn’t tell him any of it. As I’m putting on the diaper feeling quite overwhelmed, tired, worthless, like a horrible mom, resentful of my inconsolable child, irritated at my husband for not just knowing…tears are streaming down my face. You know, the tears that don’t come with the cry face, or the breathing, or even the acknowledgement you are crying until you can stop them. My husband scoops up my son and calms him down as I plop into the chair and just watch feeling totally useless. He then puts him down to get his pjs on. I sign deeply and say “He’s going to go ballistic any second again.”
Sure enough, the moment the onesie goes over his head, the screaming continues. I stand up and take over. Without looking up, uncontrollable tears streaming, in a defeated voice I say “This happens every night. This is my normal. So how can I tell you how to help, when I can’t even help him.” I pick up my child, and go into the master bedroom to feed him and try laying him down in the bassinet.
That night, I took one of my placenta capsules. Don’t scoff. I’ll tell you more about that little miracle later. Because the next morning, it was like I had a personally transplant. I was patient with my son, I was loving towards my husband…and I actually took a shower.
Because this is what I do, I researched like crazy the difference between Postpartum Depression and depression. I also wrote down my experience with both.
- You have feelings of hopelessness
- Loss of interest in things you once enjoyed
- You want to stay in bed
- You don’t have an appetite
- You don’t want to be around anyone
- You would rather just stay home
- You don’t actually care about much of anything
- You have feelings of hopelessness because you can’t calm your child
- You don’t have time for things you once enjoyed, and long for them exponentially
- You want to stay in bed, with your baby, so you can finally sleep
- You don’t have an appetite, because even when you ARE hungry you don’t have time to eat
- You want someone, ANYONE, to come visit you…since leaving the house now takes a planner and a moving truck
- You want to go out, but the effort is overwhelming
- You want so badly to spend time with your partner, take a daily shower, put on makeup, fix your hair…but that would be stupid because you’ll get puked on in twenty minutes anyway
- Sex? What’s that? Besides…you look revolting (at least you feel like you do)
- You want someone to coo over you again…not just the baby
- You suddenly realize you will never be alone again…and it actually angers you a bit
See? How could I see I was getting Postpartum Depression when it seemed the exact opposite of every single depression episode I have had in 17 years! Postpartum Depression happens when your hormone levels are trying to balance back out. Consciously you know you need to, and want to, take care of your child. So you get put very far on the back burner. Your partner, who didn’t have their hormones go ape shit, can’t understand why the simplest things suddenly seem like doing quantum physics to save the earth from a volcanic apocalypse to you.
Here’s where the placenta capsules come in. Yes. I had my placenta turned into capsules because as disgusting as it sounds (because we’re American…) that little organ has magic powers. We’re the only species that doesn’t eat it after birth, and we’re the only country that doesn’t even contemplate it in the norm. Think about it. That is what nurtured your child for 40 weeks, balanced your insane rush of hormones (can you just imagine if you DIDN’T have that filter?!), and is the only organ that literally looks like the tree of life. Hint, hint, nudge, nudge.
One capsule and my body and mind simultaneously went “Oh yea. We CAN do this!”
When I took them right after Damian was born, the normal symptoms women felt were substantially less than that night when I melted down. I only stopped taking them because my body was still recovering from the PUPPPs (“Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy” is literally an allergic reaction to your pregnancy at the end of your pregnancy. 1 in 200 of all pregnant women get them. It’s like hives, on bee stings, mixed with a rash all over your body, 24 hours a day, when your 38 weeks pregnant. It was by far the worst experience of my life).
I’m very thankful I still have some, and I’m glad I was rather stingy with them at first. I know I’m still on the edge of full fledged postpartum depression, so hopefully (like my seasonal depression) I can squash it like a bug right quick.
But if I had known then, I would have made plans…actually scheduling meet ups, dance classes, hair appointments – anything – to get my butt outside. I would have realized that the moment I felt useless as a mom, I should have called other moms and cried, if only to hear that that thought was ridiculous. If I had known my sexuality and libido would be extinguished like a grease fire, I would have ordered some sexy lingerie and taken postpartum boudoir session.
I now know for next time.