I have a few more postpartum posts coming before I can move on from this period of being, this being one of them. I have been wanting to talk about this for weeks now, but have been finding it difficult to a) fine the time to write and b) I needed to clarify my thinking on it. But I want to discuss having postpartum feelings without having PPD.
A note: Postpartum Depression and/or Anxiety is serious and should not be ignored. There are many people able and willing to assist you if you feel you have postpartum symptoms that make it difficult to continue your day-to-day, have you considering self harm or harm to your child.
That being said, I have not experienced PPD. Even though being in the grips of postpartum life it often feels like everyone is watching to see if you are about to fly off the handle. The 6 week check up and even your infant’s early check ups are also about evaluating you. This makes me fidgety and makes me feel like I have to go overboard to be like, “I’m FINE, REALLY.”
Even when “fine” is relative.
Even when some days I fantasize about running away to a quiet space just to have an afternoon where no one is touching me or trying to get my attention over and over again while I’m taking, do you see that I’m trying to talk to daddy? Can you please wait your turn? Would everyone please SHUT UP FOR TWO SECONDS MY GOD.
Life with a newborn can be very hard. It is a massive transition and the little bundles of pure joy don’t make it easy. They actually do a lot to make it really really difficult. It also doesn’t help that once you become a parent and you are a woman, a lot of people want to stick a giant sign on your head that reads MOM. I like being a parent but I would rather do without the sign.
All of this makes the time right after having a baby feel like a bad amusement park ride. That seems to never ever end. Maybe it truly never does and you just get used to the spinning and the funny way the world is now tilted. It’s exhilarating and beautiful and strange and can make you very sick.
Having two kids has been very hard for me. It is not easier the second time around. Having two is nothing like having one. Two months in and things are not easier. There are days I feel like I am drowning and completely unable to think one full thought in my own little head because of all the external demands for my time. Still being at home, often alone for 10-11 hours a day with an infant is very lonely. It is exceptionally hard work, physically, but it is also incredibly boring. My day is about killing as much time as possible in newborn-friendly ways. There aren’t a lot of options. And Fae didn’t help me out for the first 6 weeks of life with her deep hatred for the car seat and the stroller. I am sore from carrying her around, from my bones and muscles and tendons all coming back to life and sorting themselves out after pregnancy and labor, I am sweaty and sticky from the heat of another human, the juices of another human. This is physical, back breaking work. You don’t think carrying around 10 lbs is hard? Do it for 3 hours straight. Now carry around 12. Do it with a lackluster core at best, do it with stitches in your vagina, do it with incredibly heavy, aching, leaking breasts. Five days a week alone, 10-11 hours a day.
Postpartum life is hard for me this time around. With Gabe I actually really enjoyed my time off. With Fae I struggle. I live for the weekends. I apply to jobs instead of making lunch if I only have time for one because getting my autonomy back as a person out in the world means more to me than delaying a meal. I really really really love her, but my current home life feels stressed and frantic and like I can’t ever quite get my feet under me. And those things are not connected. My joy for her is not related to my struggle with this new life, the life of a family of 4 with two young young young children at home. And I have 0 guilt about disliking this postpartum experience. I love every smile I get from her, and I actively seek to spend my days without her in the near future. And when I do finally get a job, I will miss her terribly.
Life is messy and makes no sense. Feelings make us human.