I remember thinking during the first few months of Evan's life, when my eyes were glued half shut 24 hours a day, and our house was a wreck, all I wanted to do was go have a drink with my girlfriends and breath a little. But thinking that made me feel AWFUL. Because I received message after message from people saying, "Don't you just want to hold your son all day long? Isn't this the best time of your life? I bet you never ever want to come back to work....." And holding my son was lovely, when I could pick my head up long enough to enjoy it, but with nursing every 2 hours, I didn't really have just nice cuddle time with him because we were navigating him staying on my chest correctly and keeping his food in.
But did I post that on Facebook or email my family about it? Of course not. But you know what I did do? I read blogs. I read Momastery from start to finish and reveled in her truth. I soaked up her entries about needing a break from her kids, getting frustrated when being told to Carpe Diem, when she really wanted to throw her Diem right back at the nice person telling her that. Her truth made me feel better about my truth. And my truth became less burdensome, less heavy, less guilt producing. I had a few very close friends I could talk to about my guilt, anxiety, and worries, but overall I hid my feelings, stuffed them away because I felt like I would be looked at this awful, horrible mom for not loving every living second I had with Evan.I kept thinking that somehow I had missed the boat. I had missed the parent boat that allowed you to feel like you had it all together. Because I would look around me and see people who had not only caught the parent boat, but had smooth waters with no turbulence.
Now, 21 months after having given birth to our little dude- I know that parent boat doesn't really exist. Some of us just talk more about our early new parent days and some of us muddle through and don't mention the tough days. And I also think some parents are more suited for the newborn stage. Some people are big baby fans. I remember a friend saying to me, "phew, I am NOT a newborn person. I did much better once my kids hit one." And old co worker even said she thought babies should come out 6 months old, that it would be much easier that way. Hmmmm.... I wonder if I heard those two truths but chose not to allow myself to relate to them because I still felt so guilty for not being thrilled all the time.
So I am trying to make up for lost time. I am trying to be more truthful for my sake, and for the sake of other moms out there who are trying to hold it together. Trying to feel okay about all the bad, the tough, and the beautiful that happens when you become a parent.
This blog entry came to be because of a particular incident last week. I brought Evan to CHOP for routine bloodwork to check his calcium levels. Individuals with Williams Syndrome have notoriously high calcium levels- which can be dangerous for many reasons. It can cause kidney failure and also heart issues. Evan's levels have been moderately high and we have had to alter his diet slightly to try to regulate his levels. We have his geneticist check in appointment coming up soon so we wanted to have his levels checked so we could discuss it at our appointment. Anyhow, the experience at CHOP was not a fun one for a few reasons, but mainly because they had to stick Evan twice to get his blood moving and he was inconsolable. On our way out, I stopped to look for our parking pass so I could pay before getting in the car. Of course, I could not locate the pass in all six places I looked. I started walking towards the car pushing our wobbly umbrella stroller and the tears started coming, and coming hard. I just kept pushing towards the car, hoping that the folks entering the hospital didn't see my face and feel bad for me. (ridiculous) I felt all the frustrations of the day hit me, and the overwhelming feeling I get every time I take Evan to one of his appointments. I allowed myself to feel frustrated, angry, sad, and just exhausted. I arrived at our car, picked up Evan out of his stroller, asked him for a hug, which is a new skill of his, and he leaned on my shoulder and tucked his head against mine. I was still sobbing and he, of course, started giggling. I looked at him and said,"You always know just what Mommy needs, don't you?" I felt calmer already and more at peace. I just needed to get it out. I realized in that moment that I really don't "get it out" very often. I used to be a fountain of emotions when I was younger. If I needed to cry, I did it, if I needed to be sad, I called someone and shared with them. But for some reason as I have gotten older that has changed. But I'm working on it. I joke with my friend Talia, we both always say it is easier for us to worry about the other, than to allow the other to worry about us. If that makes sense? When she worries about me and wants me to share, I feel better listening to her and supporting her than sharing my issues.
What is your truth?
You might be surprised at how good it feels.