Owen had three procedures to fix his posterior tongue tie beginning at two weeks, I was a complete mess struggling to manually express milk into his mouth while he attacked my boobs like a rabid animal, recovering from an unplanned c-section and traumatic birth, trying to recover from bronchitis and an ear infection at three weeks postpartum ripping myself apart internally from coughing because someone so thoughtfully came over to “help” and infected us.
My PTSD, depression and anxiety were on hold until he turned eleven weeks. The constant panic over his need to eat, breathe and generally survive had passed and I was finally breathing normally as well. He was latched, breathing regularly, and smiling – that’s when the fit hit the shan. But hold that thought for a moment…
For some, they write parenting blogs that sound like they’re spinning their baby around in a stardust mist of sun dappled Disney delight. I’ll admit, when I thought of holding and caring for my first baby such images came to mind because I had been told many times over that I would immediately “fall in love” with my baby the moment I saw them. I did, in a way, but not to the extent I do now. No one explains that either. That your love for them is immeasurable and ever expanding.
I love my children in a way so pure and unquestionably that I would be hard pressed to accurately describe to someone enough to explain what they might expect. If I had to, it would be that you love them like a body part – a hand – that you woke up with one day, that you can’t control, that isn’t yours, never will be, yet you’re fully dedicated to ensuring it’s health, wellness, survival, and want to be near it at all costs to your own peril. (Weird way of putting it, I know, but that’s how my brain works.)
That’s how I feel about my children. I’m not perfect, they’re not perfect, but my love for them is and they will always be perfect to me. (Thank you, Pink, for the inspiration.) So I can understand why some write about only the good in parenting to maintain a positive outlook on their life but I find that to be dangerous for myself. I want the kids to know me, warts and all, to see my struggles so they don’t fear having their own. So that if they become parents themselves, they will know that they can be honest with me and shouldn’t be too hard on themselves, at least not because of me.
Writing for me is speaking without the fear of how I’m heard or the hope of being understood. It’s like shouting from the top of a parking garage in the middle of the night. Freeing, uninhibited, and singular. Not all that unlike motherhood.
Even in the presence and with the assistance of others; motherhood is a singular pursuit and journey that can be freeing, isolating, enlightening, humbling, enraging, awe-inspiring, maddening, exhausting, and hilarious all within a span of five minutes. A day can stretch on without end, and a year can last a week. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
So when I found myself having a second bout of postpartum depression I was wondering if it was a cruel joke, my imagination, or penance for being too candid in my writing. This was so unfair to my kids. How would I explain this to them? How was I going to cope and care for a newborn and his ever observant older sister?
He’s almost two, she’s almost five, they’re both napping (at least they’re supposed to be)…
We make it through; we laugh, cry, and bicker. It’s messy, imperfect, and thanfully devoid of Disney stardust.