self-portrait in towel

self-portrait-in-towel

I’m changing every day. My body, my mind. I have muscles in my arms from holding Giles as he gets bigger and bigger. I weigh almost the same amount as I did six weeks postpartum, but I feel strong and good most of the time. My periods are heavy and painful (no one told me before that postpartum menstruation is its own monster), but I’m used to them now. My milk production is slowing down. I cry at the slightest provocation by commercials or songs or how every night at dinner Giles seems just a little more grown up.

We’ve started formula. Giles drank it up without hesitation. I cried during the first feeding, but also felt a little bit free. I can see the finish line of having my body back, of my breasts getting smaller, of no more nursing bras, of no more pumping…of letting go of breastfeeding. It’s a freedom, and it’s sad too. It’s our special connection, our thing that no one else is part of. But we’ll find other things.

My hair is longer. I am less tired than I was a few months ago (still tired, just not as overwhelmingly so). It’s amazing how it really does get “easier,” although “easier” is the wrong word. It gets “different,” just like with anything. It changes. I know Giles better, and he knows me better. He starts to become a functional person– sitting up, crawling, kneeling next to the box of toys and picking out what he wants, pulling up to standing. He says “Mama” and “Dada” and other increasingly complex talking sounds. He and my dad have their own language– staring and smiling and making funny sounds at each other.

My grief continues to get “different,” and not at all easier. Missing my mom is part of my day, part of everything I do. Giles’ eyes have taken on a quality that her eyes had. It strikes me sometimes. He will look at a photo of her hanging on the wall and smile with recognition. He stares at her paintings and pumps his arms with excitement. I cry and cry. Sometimes I feel lost. Sometimes I am okay.

 

 

 

i am tired

I don’t know how to explain just how tiring it is being a stay-at-home parent. Being a working parent is tiring too, but that is not what I am doing so I can’t say what that is like. All I can write about is my own experience.

I am tired. I am so much more tired than I have ever been in my life. Physically, emotionally, mentally, existentially.

What if I am not as good at this as I thought I would be?

What if I am not as good at this as my mom was?

I can’t ask her if she was this tired. I can’t ask her if there were moments (or days) of doubt. I can’t talk to her about any of this.

Other people give me advice or tell me I’m doing great, that everyone gets this tired, that my mom would be proud of me, but I don’t want to hear any of it.

I only want to talk to my mom. I only want to talk to my mom.

Really, please, do not respond to this with comments of advice, or compliments, or “sleep when the baby sleeps.” (“Sleep when the baby sleeps” is bullshit.)

I am not trying to get sympathy or advice. I am just sharing. Because maybe someone else will read this who is feeling the same way and there will be a tiny light in their dark room. Or maybe I don’t know why. Maybe just because I am the only one who can be me and so I am the only one who can tell my own story. Maybe because one day my baby will be a parent and I will be dead and he will wish he could ask me these questions. I hope I will be alive to answer them, to tell him that yes I was this tired, and it was okay, and I loved him in every tired second, in the joyful seconds, in the most difficult seconds. That being his mom is the best thing in my whole life.

I am at the brink of the limits of my exhaustion.

Or there might be further limits I don’t know about yet. I probably can take more of this than I think I can. Exhaustion will probably stretch me and bring me into deeper holes. I will go into them and I will be okay.

I want to savor and enjoy this time with my baby while he’s still a baby. It will go by so fast. It will be so short. But I am tired.

I am tired.

I am tired.

I am tired.

I am not asking for help. I am not asking for advice. I cannot repeat this enough. That is not what I am looking for. I am just sharing. I will figure this out for myself. Giles will help me figure it out. Greg will help me figure it out. But mostly I will find the way my own damn self, because that is how I am built. Even if it’s harder that way or takes longer, or I do things that seem wrong. I will find my own way to do this.

I am fine. I am okay. I am truly in love with my baby in a deeper way than I have felt any feeling before. With this deep and extreme love comes deep sad, deep tired, and deep longing.

Deep missing.

Deep doubt.

Deep dark circles.

Deep joy. Deep self. Deep deepness.

I am tired.

 

 

sleep patterns

Another story by my dear, sweet, exhausted husband. He sketched this one into my journal the other night as I was falling asleep on the couch, my head on his shoulder. This scenario happens pretty much every night.

sleep patterns

I’m so tired all the time, but once I’m in bed and try to sleep I wake up and just want to tell Greg every single thing on my mind.