Saturday, December 23, 2006

A better day

Today has been better. I was able to sleep because Ryan is home. This makes me wonder if I am truly depressed in the clinical sense or is it just hard to be alone with an infant? When I am not alone, I feel fine... not great .. but not depressed. I don't think anyone is meant to be alone with a baby as the combination of sleep deprivation, hormones and screaming equals despair. Our friend Bridget pointed out that we are the only ( I think ) developed country that does not offer paid maternity or paternity leave. And we say we value family. Ha.

I keep trying to get a good picture of Jack. He mellowed out on the changing table and luckily, he is not too squirmy yet so I snapped one I like. We still have him in the bear suit because we figured out part of the reason for his fussiness seems to be that he is cold. He should have said something.. how could we know?

Friday, December 22, 2006

Dark days

I haven't written anything in a while because I keep waiting for a cute mom-baby moment to write about. But that hasn't really happened. Jack will be 5 weeks old tomorrow and he spends all of his energy growing. It's important but it's not cute. He cries a lot and sleeps in 1-3 hour increments. This is what babies do. When people said having a baby is hard I had no idea what that meant. This is by far the hardest thing I have ever done and I have at least one moment a day when I think I cannot do it.

I am reluctant to admit that the baby blues has blossomed into full depression. At least we are more honest about that phenomenon now. How sad that our awareness was raised only after Andrea Yates killed all of her kids. I hate to say it but I understand how isolation can make you feel incompetent and totally crazy. I have a great community and enough sense to seek help so I (hopefully) will never cross the line to the world of true insanity.

Even though I am in 2 support groups, no one talks about the sadness around losing your life and identity to raise a child. It feels like failure so I understand why no one wants to admit it. Also in fairness I think my problem is hormonal. Some women's hormones don't have this effect on them.

Anyway, I wanted to take a cute picture of Jack in the bear outfit his mom but this was all I could get.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

All about my mom

My mom left last week. I am so eternally grateful for her visit. She loves jack and she is very mellow about parenting. Her presence made me hopeful because she lived through having 3 kids and thinks she is a better person for it. I don't know what I would have done without her. Jack and I wish she would come back.

What is normal?

One of my yoga teachers once said that a normal person is just someone you don't know very well.

I thought about this yesterday when I went for the first time to a parent support group called First Weeks. The room was packed with mostly women and their babies who were younger than 12 weeks. People asked all kinds of questions but most of them were essentially 'is this normal?' And the answer was always yes. One woman has a baby who never sleeps between 9 am and midnight - another woman has a baby who sleeps all the time. Both fine. One woman has a baby who poops all the time, another one just poops once every day or two. One woman has a baby who eats constantly, another has a picky eater. All good.

Going to the support group is very relaxing. I constantly think is this or that ok? Does he focus on my face enough? Does he eat too much or too little? Blah blah. I am trying to accept that its all ok. Chances are Jack will be fine. Then, he'll grow up and go to therapy like everyone else.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Being and Nothingness

I take care of a little being and my days are filled with nothingness. I don't really have any existential angst as the title of my post may imply. The experience of caring for a newborn is filled with contradiction. It's terribly boring and tedious but very meaningful. I am filled with love and dread and I am frequently nauseated as a result of the combination.

I went to a support group yesterday where I learned this isn't supposed to be a joyful part of life. It's just hard. Why does everyone think that having a baby is so exciting then? Are they excited for you to have the experience of a 10 year old? Or do they forget what it's like to have an infant? I am not sure but people were very excited for me to be pregnant.

Jack cried last night for three straight hours. It seems the hours between 5pm and 11pm are annoying to him -- a nuisance he'd rather not deal with. I had attempted to change his formula to an organic brand a few days earlier and that did not agree with him. I am going to try again but this time I'll do it gradually. See what I mean? Food is important but very boring.

My friend Stacy sent us a lovely gift package including this matching fleece hat and blanket. She makes these herself! We love them.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Jack can hear!

Among the many unpleasant things that happened during our hospital stay, Jack failed his hearing test -- twice. So we had to go to children's hospital yesterday to meet with an audiologist to run some further tests. While in the hospital (the first time), I didn't know why Jack was hypoglycemic. No one would say that it wasn't some terrible metabolic problem -- they just said they didn't know. So when I heard he failed his hearing test, I thought, oh well. I can learn sign language and now the army will never want him.

But yesterday, the audiologist said he passed his hearing tests like a "champ." We are so happy he can hear... even though he never wasn't able to hear.. funny how that works.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Jack is two weeks old

Ryan made a little movie of Jack in his new Christmas outfit that his grandma bought him (you'll need Quicktime to view it):

Jack movie

Expectations are the enemy of happiness

This is the industrial strength breast pump I did not expect to be using 8 times a day. My mom is here and I was complaining about the various ways my body failed me in the last couple of weeks -- the breastfeeding, the 10 years of pushing. She is a practical person and said, "well you should get used to it. how do you think I felt when I got cancer?" This is a good point that snapped my out of my self-pity mode. Our bodies do fail us on occasion. It's just how things are. I probably should have started having children 15 years ago .. that may have been physically easier but emotionally.. well, i can't even imagine it.