Friday, August 19, 2016

Boxes and Bitterness

 After our recent move I decided it was time to organize all of the random baby items and clothes throughout the past year that were literally shoved into a box as we stopped using them. What this really should have been called was "after our recent move I decided to surround myself with triggers." Remember triggers? We talked about them before, it's a situation/thing/person/anything that triggers your mental illness. I am somehow in denial that I have triggers, yet I continuously throw them in my own face.

Anyways, I started organizing. And I was doing great; boxes were getting emptied, items were getting organized and grouped by size and age group and I was making great time! And then, as I started folding the teeny, tiny baby clothes up and packing them into boxes with size labels it hit me....

I am mad. I am still mad. And I am so, so bitter.

I think it's hard for people who haven't experienced a perinatal mood disorder to truly understand how I could STILL be so mad for something. I think it's hard for those people to accept that I still get sad about it. Well screw those people, because it's real and it sucks. As I folded those tiny clothes I realized I didn't miss having a baby, I missed having my baby. Do I want another baby one day? You betcha! But I will never, ever, ever, get to hold my tiny, newborn P and smile and love her and wanna be with her and cuddle. I will never get to experience first time mommyhood laying around on the couch with my newborn and walking lazily around the mall on a Tuesday afternoon. Nope. Because when I had a newborn, I couldn't leave my couch (ask hubs - I legit never left the couch). And I wasn't rooted to my couch with my little bundle of joy, I was paralyzed with sadness, fear and regret while P slept in her swing next to the couch. I could not physically hold her or emotionally enjoy her.

And that's kind of about when I lost it. I realized I will never get to hold my newborn again. This is what makes me bitter. And it makes me mad I feel this way because so many women wanted to hold their newborns and actually couldn't due to tragedy or otherwise, and yet I was able to hold mine, but was too sick to pick her up, and that's where the guilt comes in. The guilt that makes me want to apologize to all women that I'm sorry this happened to them and that I couldn't make it better, and the guilt that I'm sad over a period lost with my child, while others are sad over missing out on the entire lifetime of their children. How do you cure guilt? How do you cure sadness and anger and bitterness? Is there a cure?

So there I sat, in the middle of my living room surrounded by boxes of clothes and bottles that P will never need again, and I felt so small. I had failed my child at a time in her life when she needed me the most, and I know she won't remember those first couple months, but I will, and I'll be spending forever trying to make up for it to her. I will spend every day kissing her too much and hugging her too tight (sorry P) and splurging on her every chance I get (sorry Hubs) and doing everything I can to try to justify the bad mom I was to her in the beginning.

Damn those boxes.

I stacked those boxes up in a closet and there they will sit until I can use them again. And I promise that the next time I need them it will be different. I will revel in self care and selfishness to keep the guilt at bay and happiness on the forefront. I will enjoy the moments I have with my new little family when we decide to add to it, and I will learn from the past and fight to make sure it never happens again. PPD won that last one, but I am determined to win the next one. The fight never ends, but there is progress. There are days I see glimpses of my PPD peeking it's head around the corner to say hello, and although I cannot ignore it, I can acknowledge it, validate it, and learn from it.

Not everything can be packed away in a box, and that's okay.

Monday, August 15, 2016

What Really Changes When You Have A Baby

Lately, things have been a whirlwind for us. Between work, bills, traveling, summer plans, moving, managing two homes and everything else that's been thrown our way, it's been hard to take a breather and it's really got me thinking. What happened????

Let's put aside all the stereotypical stuff that can change after you have a baby, like appetite, your boobs, sex drive, exhaustion, packing up the entire house just to run to the ATM, etc etc....can we talk about the REAL stuff that changes?

Time. Seriously, where does it go? Not the cutesy time of watching our babies grow up and missing every stage after it's over even though we totally dreaded it while it was happening, but the actual minutes in a day. You have no more minutes. I don't know where they went, but they're gone. It seems like every day it never fails that as soon as I get home from work I'm already going to bed and someone has magically made dinner, unloaded the dishwasher and put the baby to bed, but no one has any actual recollection of who did any of that stuff. Want to do something out of the ordinary that day? Who the hell has the time! Go to the grocery store? Need new pants for work? You're now taking PTO just so you can go do it. Alone. Sure, you can take the kids with. Have fun.

Decisions. Lawdy, lawdy. Who would have thunk that every thing you did was an actual life decision? Well. It is now. Do I get gas now, or tomorrow? I could do it now, but the baby is with me and she's crying and I know she's hungry, maybe I'll wait until tomorrow. Welp. Tomorrow came and went and now it's twelve days later and you're coasting into that gas station with your crying, hungry baby anyways. Want to have a date with your husband? You are now running background checks on every person you've ever met in your life and every person they've ever met in their life just trying to find someone you trust to sit home with your sleeping kid for 2 hours before you decide to just stay home anyways, order a pizza and watch re-runs of Shark Week (great date!). Literally every thought you have will be followed by 40 more pros and cons. Remember when you didn't have kids and you just went and did stuff? Nope, me either.

Emotions. Everything is sentimental to you now. Every damn thing. That little newborn onesie at Target? Swoon and cry a little on the inside as you miss holding that tiny little babe sleeping on your chest. Charmin commercials? Don't even get me started. How much that little bear loves his mama bear and needs her help? Ugh, hand me a tissue please; I can't even. Kid tells you 'I love you'? Hey waterworks, missed you.

Food. You can now eat an entire meal that is steaming hot in approximately 35 seconds and not even get burnt. I don't know how, but I'm pretty sure it's a super power given to all mamas upon receipt of their firstborn. You will also notice you have this crazy talent to throw together a gourmet meal made entirely of cheese and crackers.

Sight. Your sight will significantly improve. You will be able to spot a piece of scotch tape on the ground from 200 yards away and think of all the horrible things that can happen if your child gets a hold of that. Brake lights 6 miles a head? Yep, you'll know about it. That guy sitting across the street from the park in his car? You don't even have to look - you know every time he picks his nose and changes the radio stations. Mama senses.

DGAF. For those of you not familiar, you will most certainly not give any fucks. Forget to put make up on? Whatever. Wore two different shoes to work? It's a new trend. Splattered milk on the backseat? It'll dry and crust off on it's own. Person glaring at you at the super market? That's cool. Baby pooped and no changing table in sight? Turns out the floor in the middle of this restaurant works just as well. And just when you think you might start to give a fuck, you will quickly realize that you most definitely, in no way shape or form, do not.

Bad-assery. This one is mostly for Hubs. You will find yourself becoming a complete and total bad ass as soon as you reach the DGAF status of parenthood. You will have no problem shoving children away from your child as you foresee danger approaching, you will yell at other children you have deemed rude or out of control that are within the vicinity of your child, and you will do whatever the hell you want with your kids, regardless of what anyone else thinks. Thought you were a bad ass before? No, you will reach an entirely new level of bad assery once you become a parent; your kid might not think so, but trust me, you are.

It can sound pretty overwhelming to experience all these new changes at once, but don't worry, they happen with time. Biology wants you to get used to the changes in your appetite, sex drive, sleep schedule and new body before it throws everything else at you, but over time you'll find that you are acquiring these new skills with little to no effort and that no matter how many times you forget to bring diapers with you or let your baby roll off the couch, you're still an awesome parent.