Baby, I'm Blue Well, it happened. I have the baby blues. At least once a day, something makes me want to cry my eyes out: giving up my cat Daisy because I can't adequately care for her anymore with the new baby; saying bye to the boys, Amber, and Zaq when they were here to visit (before they decided to move back home); listening to “You Are the Best Thing” by Ray LaMontange and dancing with Maddie. Undoubtedly, my drop in hormones after delivery is playing a huge part in this. I read that while pregnant, a woman will produce more estrogen than she will her entire life otherwise. Once pregnancy is over, that estrogen level falls off the proverbial cliff. As a result, your hair falls out in chunks, your skin looks like crap, and you take an emotional roller-coaster ride. Check, check, and…check.
I gained a little weight from pregnancy, which was to be expected. I mean, we're talking like eight pounds (after baby, fluid, etc.), so I feel guilty even being self-conscious about it. But I still feel two feet tall inside when I'm standing in front of the mirror. Growing up, the only battle I didn't face was weight. I had glasses, braces, acne, bad style, and greasy hair. But I never had to deal with wanting to be thinner (guess the forces that be felt I had enough on my plate). So, now that the glasses make me look smart instead of dorky, the braces are gone, the acne is under control, and I use the right shampoo, I guess it's my turn to go through the body image battle of trying to lose this baby weight. For me, it's not the quantity of pounds, but the size around that I care about. I just want Adam to still be attracted to me, look good naked, and fit into my non-maternity clothes. One down, two to go.
On that note: yep, still wearing maternity pants. They were bearable while pregnant. I mean, what other option does a girl have when your belly turns the corner before you do? But now that mother and baby are two instead of one, I want that non-elastic waistline like I wanted that Slurpee during my second trimester. Currently, I am able to (literally) squeeze my butt into one pair of pre-pregnancy pants, but can't button or zip them up so I wear them with my belly band. I can't wear them for too long, however, because they cut into my lower stomach. Ouch! Funny what we women will do for fashion. *rolls eyes* Aunt Amber and I have a date to replace my wardrobe when she gets back home. I dream about this every free minute of every day, much like how a child looks forward to Christmas morning.
I'm also looking forward to our shopping trip because it will be the first bona fide mommy time I will have had baby-free since her birth. I'm on a limited maternity leave, so I want to spend as much time with her as possible. But the flip-side to that is I don't get out much. I'm lucky if I remember to brush my teeth. It leaves me yearning for social interaction outside of our tiny apartment, and dare I wish for some alcohol too? I'm jealous of my husband's “daddy time:” going for a beer after work with friends, working on his book, etc. (To be fair: Adam doesn't get nearly as much “daddy-time” as he needs, or would like to.) My “mommy-time” consists of memorizing the structure of a balance sheet, or as my teacher refers to it: “death by power point.” I love my baby, but I miss my friend now more than ever. Thank god she's moving home.
Post partum is like one minute you're enjoying the view from the summit you've climbed to and feeling proud of the accomplishment. Then the next minute you blink and find yourself at the bottom of the canyon between that mountain and the one next to it. Not for one minute do I regret getting pregnant, but in a way I am mourning the death of the old me--the individual me--all the while reveling in the joy that is being a parent. Everything I do and say now affects her: directly or indirectly. I am forever a different person.
Is being a different person the reason I've done things I said I wouldn't do as a parent? For example, using a pacifier before six weeks, or co-sleeping. Have I done them? Yes. How do I feel about that? Mixed. I constantly question whether I'm making the right decision. It doesn't feel wrong, but to not follow the baby book's instructions doesn't make me feel like I'm getting an A+ in parenting either. What I keep coming back to is what I've heard and read many places: you're going to get bombarded with advice on how to rear your child, and it can be confusing and overwhelming. (1) There is nothing wrong with trial and error, and (2) listen to your baby and go with your instincts. I have a feeling I'll be doing that even into her teen years.