On July 29, 2017 my daughter turned 6 months old.
Every moment and memory seems to be a juxtaposition of itself: reflecting on it is difficult and wonderful. It's been the fastest and slowest 6 months of my life.
I started writing this before she turned 6 months. It has taken me FOREVER. This is going to be long. It's going to be raw and without great structure. It's going to jump around a lot. It's going to be honest. It's going to help me release some things I've been holding on to and it's going to make you, whoever you are, know me a little better than I probably want you to.
My father-in-law passed away a day before my due date. I hoped and wished and prayed to Gods I don't believe in that I would deliver early. I didn't. I watched my husband struggle between wanting to be there for me, to tell me to rest, and needing to be there for his family. I puffy footed my giant body through the hospital night after night, hoping she'd come in time to meet him. She didn't. I felt so selfish. I couldn't be there for my husband or his family the way I wanted to because I was so exhausted and distracted with my own fears. I also felt tremendous guilt that my body wouldn't just let her come.
I'm not angry at my body anymore... most days, but I was. I was so mad at my body for so many reasons. I was told it's 'normal' to gain about 25 - 35 pounds during pregnancy. Oh, okay, cool. I gained over 70. OMGWAZZZ LADIES AREN'T SUPPOSED TO SHARE THEIR WEIGHT!!!
I was 135 lbs before this child rearing business. Two days before I delivered, I was 208 lbs. I watched other pregnant women at work growing their little bellies and looking cute, while I slowly evolved into the lovechild of the Hindenburg and Jupiter. I was so incredibly self conscious.
Then, I didn't go into labor by my due date. In and of itself, this wasn't a big deal. First babies aren't usually 'on time.' I just wanted so badly to have had her meet my husband's dad. Why couldn't my body just do what it was supposed to?
Then, I didn't go into labor at all. 41 weeks came and went, induction was scheduled. Induction was delayed. By the time I finally got admitted and jammed up with Pitocin, I just wanted her out. There was nothing natural or magical about it.
Then, I didn't progress. In hindsight, knowing that my mother and my husband's mother BOTH had 3 kids, all by C-section, I should have figured that would be my path. I didn't object to it. The procedure went well, but after it was over, after some time anxiously not sleeping for hours, I cried long and hard because my body couldn't do it. I felt cheated out of the birth experience I thought I might have.
Then, healing was a bitch. I HATED recovering from the surgery. Everything hurt and I felt incapable of doing anything more than existing. The Jupiter tummy I had gotten so uncomfortably used to was now just a plobby flop of self consciousness lingering on my front.
Then, I hurt. I stayed stagnant for too long, probably from the depression, but also out of habit... and because I had a fucking baby. I dealt with constant leg pain for months before I finally went to the doctor to talk about it. I've been in physical therapy ever since for hip/sacrum issues. Basically, I'm crooked and tilted. Yep.
The first thing I did when they set my daughter on my chest was throw up. I went my entire pregnancy without throwing up. THE ENTIRE THING. After they jostled her out of my uterus, they took her to her little baby Sterilite drawer and did all the stuff. (You know, like having my husband cut the cord, giving her her first test score, and forcing her to puke up all of the junk that normally gets squeezed out of them like a zit when they exit the body that has been hosting them). I watched all of this, tearing up, so looking forward to meeting her. As soon as they placed her on my chest for some skin to skin time, I immediately got nauseous, they took her off of me, and I turned my head to puke into one of those little hospital puke sacks. You know, because I couldn't sit up.
That's how I met my daughter. Not quite what I expected or imagined. Much less bonding, much more vomit.
One of the nurses totally knew I wasn't right. She was the one who helped me to the bathroom the first time after my c-section. My doctor told me I could leave, but that I could also stay another day if I wanted/needed to. I chose to stay. The nurse told me she was really glad I decided to stay, with the most sincere face I've ever seen in my life. This is one of my clearest memories from my time in the hospital.
I HATE some of my memories. I took the time to write down some things on one of my darkest days. I haven't shared it before and it hurts me to read it back now. I think it's important to put it out there, because it's raw and factual and maybe it'll help someone feel less alone, or maybe it will make me seem fucking crazy. I don't really care.
I still don't feel good at being a mom, and I feel worse at everything else in my life too. Having a baby really pulled the rug from under me. I had delicate little sandcastles of confidence built on that thing, and they all got knocked over and muddle together. I can't separate the parts of my life the same way I used to, and thus, I am not great at any of them anymore.
I don't want to write this anymore. I'm feeling much better, but still having trouble.
The next thing I write will be cleaner. I promise.