How can I effectively summarize how I feel about my first two months as a mother? One thought: Why the hell does anyone do this more than once? Thankfully, I'm beginning to discover some answers to that question. I'll be talking about those a lot more in blog posts to come; for now, I'll try to recap my not-so-pleasant start to mommyhood.
A few people closest to me have asked if I think I'm experiencing baby blues or the more serious post partum depression. While I do think it's a very fine line between the two, I'm comfortable saying it's an extreme case of the baby blues, with a focus on the continued mourning of life as I knew it. Most people, and professionals included, would probably disagree, but I know myself better than any of them. I'm quite intimate with the every day depression that I've carried around with me for 15 years. Although I can answer 'yes' to nearly every bulletpoint listed on a post partum depression checklist (including having suicidal thoughts), I know my boundaries. For 15 years, suicide has been an option in my head, and often times, a much desired option. 14 years ago, I attempted it. It sounds awful, but I would almost consider it my security blanket. When I reach the point where I feel so out of control, so helpless, and completely worthless, the thought of suicide is comforting -- to know that if I really, really wanted to, I could end it all and wouldn't have to feel anything anymore. So two weeks into motherhood, when I haven't left the house yet, my hoo-ha has an unstitched gaping wound, every 30 minutes my boobs are being summoned, I still look 6 months pregnant, I'm unable to control ANYTHING, and I cannot even vaguely begin to figure out what the hell the baby is crying for, it doesn't surprise me at all that my thoughts would turn to suicide. Why would I be okay with this you ask? Because at the same time, I was totally pissed off that suicide was no longer an option. It's not just me anymore. This tiny little human needs me. She needs my milk, she needs my voice, she needs my touch. As I said, I know my boundaries. I will never be so selfish as to willingly leave her.
I listed in a previous post reasons why I would make a terrible mother. Those all stand true, and that's why I say the first two months were filled with mourning the loss of life as I knew it. I've had to change most everything about the way I operate, and that's a lot to take on, especially when also getting to know my new baby. I suspect that if I had been blogging through the process, the majority of blogs would have been about the torture of breastfeeding, my anxiety about the house being messy, my rising irritability with Matt and his inability to take initiative, and the extreme imbalance of parenting duties that the mother has to bear. Little by little, I'm starting to accept all of the above, and do whatever I can to make them less obtrusive to my well-being.
The first two months were filled with what feels like enough tears to compete with Niagara Falls. I was unable to enjoy Addison at all. When I looked at her, I felt nothing but a heavy burden. I did not feel love, and that created extreme feelings of guilt and worthlessness. I was honest with Matt about my feelings, but I think he brushed them off because he wasn't quite sure what to do. I was very, very scared that those feelings would not subside, but thankfully, they have. As Addison smiles more and more, has started to maintain what can *almost* be called a schedule, and feeds just about every 3 hours, I've been able to let her in and allow myself to find joy in her existence. I love her a little more with each day, and now I can understand why people do this more than once. I'm not quite there yet - right now I still feel like one is plenty for me - but I might get there one day.