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Pickle Me This

July 2, 2009

Full Disclosure

Baby is happy right now, because I’m rocking her Fisher Price recliner with my left foot. Hence the typing with two hands here, which is enormously liberating. I pray that Harriet does not get bored of rocking soon, and until she does, let me provide you with full disclosure here. Or at least, a modicum of disclosure, as this is not the sort of blog in which I bare my soul. Rather, this is the kind of blog in which I write about my life usually through a bookish/literary perspective, and I’ve been doing a bit of that regarding motherhood. That Laurie Colwin quote remains the truest thing I’ve ever read. I remain amazed that having read thousands of books, watched TV shows and movies throughout my lifetime, I’ve never once seen the actual experience of having a new baby presented (and I’ll be writing more about this later). Which was how I could have come into this so cluelessly, and why the reality was so overwhelming. Overwhelmingly awful. I will say that the first two weeks were the darkest I’ve ever known, and I feel like I’ve crawled out of the deepest crevice in the universe to get to where I am now. It gets better, I knew it would, but that didn’t mean very much at the time. And even now, when “better” on some days is still its very own kind of hell, and nothing is what I thought it would be, and I am working harder than I’ve ever worked in my whole life, and normalcy seems so irretrievably far away– at least I haven’t cried since yesterday. But before that, it had been over a week, and there are moments when I’m so perfectly all right, and proud of how far we’ve come, and delighting in this strange little girl who has come to live with us. I have learned, however, how much I need people, and that I am so lucky to be surrounded by people on all sides. Friends, family, and oh, husbands (and mine has saved me over and over and over again). I remain a very lucky woman, and the good days are being strung together closer and closer all the time. (Baby is done rocking. Good timing.)

10 thoughts on “Full Disclosure”

  1. Panic says:

    I've been reading your blog for a couple years now, and from what you write, I can honestly say "I like you." (Funny how I feel an interest in the life of someone I don't know in the slightest.) So my heart breaks reading this. I've heard similar sentiments from many new moms, and it never stops being one of the saddest things ever. It's not all puppies and sparkles. But what it is, is terribly normal. I hope that's some comfort.

    Pardon any funny typos; ipods are hell. 🙂

  2. starrlife says:

    You are perfectly normal don't let anyone else fool you!It's harder because we are all fed the myth that childbirth and taking care of babies is this natural and romantic process and then we are ashamed when we think we are different. I suppose to some it may be- rather like some are more natural athletes and some have to work at it. It is a truly transformational process and that can be intense and soul searing. Sometimes you just have to hold on to people you love as if you would be lost in a blizzard.It's primitive. And don't forget the cursed hormones. We are with you too. I remember the paralyzing recognition that this tiny creature was dependent on me for her life- gasp… HUGS!
    Did you ever read Louise Erdrich's The Blue Jay's Dance?

  3. BabelBabe says:

    My pediatrician once told me (best advice ever given EVER): "The first 3 months are ALL ABOUT SURVIVAL."
    It saved my sanity, and it was so true. I have 4 kids, and each time, man, those first months are a special kind of hell on wheels. Hang in there.

  4. laish says:

    "I had no idea" – I can't count the times I've heard that since having kids, both about the darkness & the brilliance. While I too wish it could be conveyed, the fact that it can't adds to hugeness of it all (see – how's that for a great description?!) Here's to all those who help us through.

  5. Stu says:

    Two steps forward even if it is followed by one step back is still progress!

  6. metro mama says:

    Becoming a parent really, really rocked my world. It does just keep getting easier though.

  7. charlotteashley says:

    It sounds like you have the wee bittiest touch of "baby blues" (or post-partum depression – but that sounds much more clinical). I can't recommend enough getting out, even at Harriet's young age. La leche league meetings are good mommy-social events if you're interested in talking about nursing (and this month's is held on Thursday the 9th, 6:45pm, at Bathurst & Dupont so it isn't very far geographically or temporily!) and there is a drop-in baby/toddler space at the same location every day of the week. Harriet might seem very young for play space, but they have coffee and tea and conversation for mums.

    Seeing other people in a baby-friendly space clears the cobwebs right out of your head and chest!

    Thus ends the unsolicited advice…

  8. Rebecca Rosenblum says:

    Your friends feel lucky to have *you* and your insights and your humour and your baby to play with. I have no advice, just infinite faith in your ability to do what you have to, and tell a good story about it after.

  9. Kerry says:

    Thanks to everybody. *Now* is really not so bad, it was the early weeks (and they felt like an eternity). But things really are better– I've been getting out and about, and we just successfully completed our first weekend away and it was wonderful. Nice to know the baby is compatible with still living in the world. She's also started smiling, which makes everything ok.

  10. meli-mello says:

    It really is hell in the early days isn't it? You've read my blog so you know what a roller coaster of emotions I was. These days it is pretty much awesome (turned 15-months yesterday) but with the thought of another baby looming in the future (no, not pregnant but don't want a huge gap like my siblings and I) the Mister is already getting nervous when he thinks about the early days. It really is all about survival and not working about anything other than keeping you and the babe healthy. Also, take Charlotte's advice and get out to Mom-friendly groups as much as you can. I wish I had done that but really didn't do much for months after Moira was born. Also, learning to pump (if you can) will help too. I could never pump and Moira nursed every 2 hours (or so) night & day for 9 months. Now that I think about it, it was rather crazy.

    Can I also just say how freaking impressed I am that you went away with a 6-week old and participated in a wedding? Seriously – IMPRESSED!

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