It’s been two months since I last wrote and I guess the reason is, quite simply, fear.
Several incessant questions have framed this past month:
- Did I really give birth?
- Did I really survive the first month of new motherhood?
- Did I not only survive but, unexpectedly, thrive?
In that time, two serious hormonal changes have kicked off; the adrenaline has bailed and the relaxin has fucked off. So here I’ve been left alone with a more alert, hungry and restless baby. A baby who is a total joy and is possibly the most weighty object my feeble biceps have lifted in my unathletic adult life.
Without my chemical sidekicks to armour me against the ups and downs, I’ve plummeted. Not to depression levels but at times the lethargy, tears and rage have consumed me so intensely that I’ve feared this to be my new, fixed state of being: an ever oscillating agro-cry mamma.
Understandably, in such a state I’ve not felt brave enough to put any words down. Actually, bravery ain’t all that’s lacking, it’s the actual energy required to congeal a hot-mess of subconscious babble into something intelligible and/or insightful.
Yet here I am. I somehow made it back to the digital page. And I deserve a goddamn medal, I think!
New motherhood is a frighteningly real, turbulent rollercoaster of new experiences and emotions. But in some ways the next part – when reality sinks in and life before baby becomes a distant dream – is even harder.
- How do retain who you are?
- How do you express the woman you were before you vommitted a human out of your most intimate body part?
- How do you keep emptying the reservoir of energy, love, commitment, patience when there ain’t much in the way of replenishment?
I’m grappling with these questions now at 11 weeks after Augie was born because somehow I’ve kept on keeping on, and I deeply believe that I will continue so. Somehow I’m finding nourishment beyond the magic of new life: his first smiles, his little accidental giggle, his curiosity, his loving nuzzle.
I’m finding replenishment in reading, in walking, in giving myself those pockets of time between feeds, plays and sleeps to stop and breathe, to hug my husband, or to consume half a block of cheese and laugh myself silly at the absurdity of my cravings.
So, if you’re a new parent and you’ve made it to 11 weeks or to 1 week or to 3 years, then please give yourself a big old pat on the back. You’re raising a person.
Ya bloody legend.