Tuesday, February 8, 2011
The Dark Side.
Part of what I now use this blog for is to document the parts of this journey of motherhood that I want to remember. I want to focus on the positive things, I want to tell the funny stories to all of you - my beloveds. I want to have things to go back and read myself when I need reminding of the beauty that is this time in my life.
But I know there are people that read this blog because they appreciate my honesty about this process. So this will be one of those posts.
Recently in the news, starlet upon starlet has come out to say they have suffered from and overcome postpartum depression, but rarely does anyone come out to talk about the dark side of being a new mother. And there is a very dark side, completely autonomous from depression.
It's not about projectile bodily functions - although those are bad. It's not about illness or tantrums - although those are bad too. For me at least, the dark side of motherhood is a combination of emotional factors that are very difficult to transverse.
I am an older mother - they checked the box on my OB form "of advanced maternal age" more times than I care to remember. So I had a well-established life of things that brought me joy and comfort. These things included: long, solitary walks on Saturday afternoons which I termed "wandering the planet", lectures at local universities on diverse and interesting topics - maybe one week city planning and environmentalism, maybe another week creating educational infrastructure in developing countries. Also, going out with my young single friends to do a little booty-shaking and youth-reliving, or enjoying a nice brunch with them after their over-indulgences.
Other wonderful things I did included: working out and working at a very fulfilling job that I loved and that happened to include some wonderful friends.
And that has all evaporated.
It's not that I don't love the baby. It's just that sometimes you feel like you've woken up to someone else's life. And for gosh sakes, someone else's body.
I mean, I didn't really realize it would be so hard to get my body back. That my waist would disappear and that my stretch marks wouldn't.
And there is this crushing responsibility to create the perfect child. To be the perfect parent. To try to be perfect in a pursuit where there is no real measure of success for 20 or 30 years - if ever. If it's even allowable to want to achieve some measure of success.
And - that you have "wanted" this for your whole life. That right now, there are people that want this more than they have ever wanted anything in their whole life - that are undergoing hell to get it. And I want this for them, but I hope they have enough support to get through the dark side, because if not, there is this insidious insecurity that threatens. Like an acid, slowly eating the soft parts. Your confidence wains, your image is altered, your ego is compromised.
This is the part where I usually try to reassure you that there is a positive outcome. Some silver lining. Some reason you should not fret. But this post is about the fret. It is about the times when your insecurities threaten your happiness, when your new identity threatens your vision.
The only place to go from here is along a new path.
One baby step at a time.