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May 26, 2010

On and on and on

Excuse the typos, this is a one-handed effort. The other arm is busy jiggling my 16-day-old daughter to the soothing sounds of Abba's "Waterloo." Couldn't escape if I wanted to... Seems kind of appropriate, really.

F and Mads`are busy making me a craft. I'm not supposed to know it's for me, but Mads isn't the best secret-keeper. It seems to involve dried pasta bows, feathers and glitter glue. It's a foolproof combination.

It's odd, this moment of family normalcy and just 20 minutes ago I was hunched in the bedroom sobbing over... nothing, everything.

The craft session has`now turned into a dance party, with Mads twirling around to the Black Eyed Peas and pleading, "Dance with me, Daddy." And he will, of course. Whatever my girls are missing from me at the moment, he makes up for it in spades.

We were 17 years old when we met, F and I. When you're 17 you don't really think about what you're signing up for: Babies, bills, bouts of depression. This ride may not always be a fun one, but thank god I'm not taking it alone.

May 26, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 23, 2010

Treading water

Amelia is 2 weeks old today. Part of me thinks, 'Oh my god, only 2 weeks?!' and another part thinks we should throw a party just to celebrate having made it this far.

My doctor - my wonderful doctor who has taken to making regular house calls just to check that we're still surviving - says that for now all I can do is tread water. Until Amelia gets a tiny bit older, until these meds take full effect. That's exactly what it feels like, and it's exhausting just trying to keep my head above water. There are times when I can't manage it, I slip under and am crushed by the weight of the sadness - it's all I can see or feel or imagine. And then the waters calm and I can breathe again. 

It's shocking how many of us new moms go through periods like this. Whether it's officially postpartum depression or the "baby blues" or just a loss of our sense of selves. Where is all of this in those damn Huggies commercials?

Right now F is feeding the babe, Mads is eating breakfast and watching polar bears on the Discovery Channel. And I'm here with them, only not quite. I feel as though something - something essential - has been hollowed out of me. And so I keep treading water and await its return.

May 23, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 20, 2010

Round 2

Backwards-clock

The past 11 days have felt like an eternity. 

There are moments - usually when the baby is sleeping - when I think, 'I can do this, things are getting better.' And then there are other times, crunched up and crying against the closed bathroom door, when I feel as though I literally will not survive. And then it passes and I know that I will survive it, because I did before. 

One comfort is that Amelia won't remember this. I feed her and change her and rock her to sleep and kiss her goodnight and it doesn't make any difference to her if I'm in tears while I do it. The hard part this time is Mads. I thought I was doing a good job of hiding this from her, but the other day she came and laid her little head on my shoulder and told me, "I love you, Mommy. Don't worry." 

Whatever path it took to get us here, I look at her and know I've done something right. 

I hesitated writing all of this down here, but when I started this blog four years ago it was to tell the story of my experience with motherhood - the good, the bad and the ugly. I guess this is the ugly. Since my post last week so many of you have reached out to me with kind thoughts and words, and even shared your own battle stories, and I just feel immensely grateful to be surrounded by such wonderful people. 

May 20, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 18, 2010

A rough transition

Ah, new motherhood. Sleep deprivation, a Zoloft prescription that had the unfortunate side effect of making me want to bang my head into concrete, Adavan to take the edge off of that particular nightmare and a replacement Paxil prescription to round things off. Funny, I must have missed this chapter in What To Expect When You're Expecting.

Despite her mommy's struggles, Amelia seems to be doing well. She's eating, pooping, crying, sleeping. What more can you ask of a girl who's not even two weeks old?

One day at a time, right?

May 18, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 16, 2010

A formal introduction...

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Amelia D

May 9, 2010 @ 2pm

6lbs, 10 oz

21 inches long

May 16, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 15, 2010

Sinking...

You know the sage old advice that you should never email when drunk? The premise probably holds true in this case, too: You should never blog while depressed. But here I am. Writing. Sinking.

My second daughter Amelia was born on Mother's Day. She's beautiful. Pink cheeks and big eyes and a head of black hair. Mads is already a great big sister, she kisses her good night and tries to teach her the finer points of essential skills like thumb-sucking and proper sneezing etiquette.

And then there's me, in the middle of these two gorgeous girls of mine, and all I really feel is... sadness. A sort of hollow, desperate, relentless sadness. Once upon a time I knew this feeling all too well, in the months after Mads was born. This feeling is the reason it took me 4 years to have another baby. I had finally managed to convince myself that this time would be different: We'd know what we're dealing with, we'd know how to overcome it. 

But now that I sit here, in these early days of a new struggle with postpartum depression, none of that seems to matter much. It's not different, in the end. It's just another round of the same old battle.

I read through my early blog posts and found this one, written when Mads was 5 months old:

Those first few months with Maddie were so traumatic that at this point I am pretty sure she will be an only child. It started with breastfeeding which, surprise!, turns out not to be such a natural and lovely process after all, and ended with a frightening trip through the fog of postpartum depression from which I am only just now emerging. I have reached the point now where I can look at her and definitely know that the whole thing was worth it...

I worry that there may be another long road ahead, but hopefully at the end of it I'll find me and my two beautiful girls.

May 15, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

May 08, 2010

My first girl

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When you're 41 weeks pregnant basically all you can think about is the fact that you are 41 f'ing weeks pregnant. And counting. I should have expected this, I guess. Mads was finally induced at 2 full weeks past her due date, and this one is looking like she's going the same route. My uterus clearly has some attachment issues it needs to work out.

Eventually this baby will arrive, which means that these are the last days I will have with just Mads. I don't think I've fully come to grips with that one yet. It's just... we're tight, she and I. Things are about to get even crazier around here and I soon won't have time to obsess over every tiny aspect of her personality - which is, I realize, a good thing. But for now here are a few random facts about my first girl.

  • Her pronunciation is still shaky - "Did you see the pwummah today, Mommy? He fixed the baffroom pipes" - but the things she says are fabulous. She'll start sentences with things like, "You're never going to believe this..." or "Wait until you hear about this one..." When we saw a well-trained dog walking off-leash beside his owner the other day - unlike our not well-trained dog, who takes any excuse to eat other people's trash - she said, "Wow. That's a very talented dog!"
  • She's loud. Oh good god, she can be so so loud. Always crashing and screeching and singing at the top of her lungs.
  • After years spent wriggling out of any cuddle she's finally, suddenly, insanely generous with her affection. The hugs usually come complete with a flying knee to the ribcage and the kisses are sort of awkwardly romantic (thanks, Disney Princess movies), but I'm not complaining. "I forgot to tell you, Mommy," she'll often say absentmindedly as she sits surrounded by Little People. "That I love you."
  • She's excited about her baby sister, though she's made it clear she won't be changing any diapers because she draws the line at getting poop on her fingers. So do I, but I have a feeling I won't be able to opt out so easily. 
I know, I sound like any mom out there, gushing over her kid's finger paintings and forcing a wallet full of school photos on anyone within spitting distance. All I can say is that she's lovely. And as much as I'd love to take credit for that, Mads is her own girl entirely. 

May 8, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

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"Having a two-year-old is like having a blender that you don't have the top for." ~Jerry Seinfeld.

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