The other day I was in the bathroom looking at my new body. Admittedly, it certainly is not a wonderland anymore but it does tell stories- a surgery I had in my early twenties, my lower hanging breasts from nursing my first baby, their fullness from my current nursing, my shrinking belly/momma pouch that tells of two births, and my wider hips after birthing two babies. My messy hair says, "I have no time to get brushed" and my slouchy shoulders indicate an exhaustion that I feel down to my bones. The bags under my eyes let everyone know I wake up every two hours to prop myself up and nurse my hungry little one. I don't remember it all being this hard, but here it all is again. The hardest part of it for me is the emotional aspect of being in the postpartum period. The sudden tears and the deep emotions that go with it totally blindside me at times. I spontaneously burst into tears about anything and everything- from the Poochy doll I lost in the first grade that I used to love so much to the way an ex used to comment on my thin "chicken legs." The only person that can really get me out of that hole when I fall into it is my husband. And he's back at work as of yesterday. I've been wishing we lived in Finland (or was it another Scandinavian country?) since yesterday because they offer two years paternity leave. Imagine that...
I often complain that this world seems backwards but never more than right after I've had a baby. There is not enough support for a new mom. There IS support, but I believe it's not enough. For me, there is no such thing as "too much support." Tribes are virtually all gone. We don't live in real neighborhoods anymore. I have never known any neighbors in my entire life, much less gone over to borrow sugar or have a chat. When some former female neighbors found out I was having a home birth, they called the landlord concerned about what I was going to do with my placenta and what was going to happen if "blood dripped down the walls" into their units. That's not very neighborly, is it? Especially when they could have knocked on my door and asked me directly, being just one or two doors away.
This time around is very much the same but also different. There is the strong and constant desire to retire into my momma cave with my newborn but there is the Type A side of me that wants to pick up those chips off the floor before I sit down to nurse as well. The picking up of the chips always ends up with folding laundry, vacuuming the rug and tossing more things in the wash. There is ALWAYS something to do now. There are not really times of napping wonderfulness like I had with little one #1. However, the loneliness is definitely present again. I have had to let go of a lot of things. A lot of ideas I was determined to follow through with and goals that I was determined to reach have been erased or tabled. Like what? Well, the "no television" thing is gone and long forgotten. It helps me. It's only PBS shows and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. It's nothing inappropriate. But there was one point in my life where I considered all television inappropriate, even for me. And here we are now, three hours of tv a day later... whatever works and in whatever way I can survive until I get to close my eyes and rest for little packets of hours each night.
I cry and cry and cry, even about things I didn't even know still bothered me. I cry because I'm happy. I cry because I'm sad. I cry because I wonder if life will ever feel relaxing or slow again. I cry because I don't want any more crayola paint or marker stains on any more of my clothing. I cry because my back hurts. I cry because I miss yoga and dinners alone with a hot cup of tea and a fabulous travelogue as companions. I cry because I constantly wonder why on Earth these little souls decided to come back here and not some dreamy golden light-filled heavenly planet somewhere in a galaxy far, far away. I cry because I miss a life I don't even really remember anymore with vacations, passions and dreams that feel hazy, fuzzy and far away.
The only difference between the first postpartum and this one is that now I do believe other moms when they compassionately offer me a "this too shall pass." It always does, I know that now.