It’s 6 am and I am holed up in our room alone drinking coffee by the light of the bathroom door that’s cracked open. Philip went to the couch about an hour ago (I assume to try to get some sleep because he’s been as bad off as me) Zelda will be up and ready to take on the day any minute now, and the baby is fed but restless right next to me; this is my new normal and if I ever want to be able to write again this is how it’s going to have to happen. Because how do you become a writer? You just write.
Logically I knew postpartum would be difficult. Everyone tells you this, they warn you about the baby blues, postpartum depression, etc. I mean this wasn’t my first rodeo, I should have known.
After Sage’s magical birth I was riding a legitimate high for a few days. I felt incredible, I really have no other words. Yes, I was tired and not feeling great physically but mentally I felt unstoppable even though we weren’t doing much other than sitting on the couch or laying in bed. The future felt so promising and life was just blissful, and then four days in I felt like I hit a brick wall.
Our family came to visit that Sunday after he was born, and I was gifted a migraine the same day. Seeing everyone and sharing our new addition was great but draining, and that day felt like the beginning of the end. The two weeks to follow his birth were just plain ole’ shitty. I won’t beat around it. A lot of tears were shed, for seemingly no reason. Little sleep was had, and there was plenty of guilt to go around.
Often I would think to myself, “I knew this was going to be hard, but what the fuck?”
Here I am grateful and excited to have a new baby who I loved dearly but also finding myself crying in the shower dreading going back out to the living room to sit on the couch for four hours and feed him while Zelda ran around us asking for things I had no energy for. I felt like a shitty mom, and then I felt shittier for feeling so shitty. Feedback loop from Hell, anyone?
I debated even writing this post or sharing my experience because of the guilt and shame wrapped all up in it. But what good does that do? It perpetuates the idea that women are supposed to have it all together all the time, and especially after just bringing a human fucking life into the world; that shit needs to go. So I refuse to participate in that narrative.
Once we finally left the house and I started seeing people (mostly at the school) everyone started asking me how I was doing. I think I usually just stared at them with this face that said “I am fucking miserable” and what actually came out was, “Good!!!!” *cheesy awkward smile* Why do we do that to ourselves? But then sometimes when I would tell people, “I am not gonna lie it’s pretty rough right now,” you might as well have been able to see the eggshells all around me.
Luckily I have people, really great people. A few of my really good friends were actually there (with food, mind you) to listen to me complain about this thing that was supposed to be the best thing that ever happened to me- with compassion. I also have a husband who is really good at taking turns with me on having shitty days. We were in this shit together and usually the other one had a beer and a hug waiting at the end of the day.
Things aren’t perfect; not even close. Some days I am counting down the minutes until bedtime when I can have a glass of wine. Some days I don’t want anyone to touch me with a ten foot pole, not my daughter, not my husband. Things are hard right now; and they will probably be this way for a while. I am writing this to share with you (and to remind myself) that it’s okay. It’s okay thing are fucking hard right now, they’re not supposed to be easy.
And body image stuff is a whole other post, because that is its own hot fucking mess y’all.
If you’re about to have a baby, or you’re postpartum; I have a sweet little sentiment for you, “that shit is fucking hard.” Don’t run from it, don’t fear it, just embrace it, Suffering is part of life so why wouldn’t there be suffering associated with creating life? And this isn’t a negative thing, it’s just a thing. It’s part of the journey. I am not sharing this because I know better, I am sharing this because it took me 6 weeks to figure that shit out. So grab your people, and a bottle of wine (and demand that they bring you food) and park your ass on the couch cause it’s going to be a wild ride.
Just because something is difficult and sometime shitty, doesn’t mean it isn’t beautiful and it doesn’t mean there isn’t joy to be had. My favorite moments lately are when I finally get to put the baby down and hold Zelda on my lap. Or when the baby won’t stop screaming at us and Philip and I look at eachother at the same time and share this look of, “are you fucking kidding me” in solidarity.
I have a beautiful baby boy, a hot supportive husband, a brilliant and patient little 3 year old, and a 9 year old that puts up with more shit than she should, and holds a baby like a fucking champ. And sometimes shit is still fucking hard, and that’s okay. Okay?