Friday, July 01, 2005

Diary of a baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad...mother!

I had almost lost interrest in blogging. Not that the process wasn't fun or rewarding, but time and my general apathy prohibited me from devoting too much time on it. I figured....why?

I have my YaHoo! Group, The Occidental Tribe,

Where I daily can rant, rave and post. Why have a blog? Is it ego? Nawww, I've gotten to old and lazy for ego. Yeah right, my lovely lady says, so it must be laziness.

Ok well, I really haven't much to say. Lifes been good and the summer is here....but.

My beautiful sexy Lady, (She say's that women over fourty don't want to be called "beautiful" anymore, sexy is very appreciated thou.) recently wrote a wonderful article on our group, and I wanted to share it here.

Diary of a baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad...mother!

Recently, I understand, there's been a bit of a media brouhaha because Tom Cruise (who's exhibiting some highly suspicious behavior lately) uttered some highly insensitive remarks concerning postpartum depression, which he thinks can be cured by simply exercising and taking vitamins.

Arius knows - and knows it well, mind - that no man should ever expound on what a woman "should" or "shouldn't" do, especially when it comes to her biology. Personally, I have never been able to trust any gynecologist or obstetrician who doesn't share my internal plumbing, since I was sexually assaulted in the stirrups by a - male - GP at the tender age of 15. (That doctor's karma came back to
haunt him later...)

So, down for his morning nap, coffee cup in hand, I plow my way through the online edition of the NY Times this morning and find an editorial by Brooke Shields in response to TC's decidedly idiotic remarks. And wouldn't you know...but I'm sure everyone here does - that got me thinking...

Six months ago, after a very harrowing labor and subsequent emergency c-section, I "was delivered" of a perfect, healthy, beautiful baby boy. While Tristan peed all over the nurse, midwife and obstetrician, and the proud papa and ecstatic aunt swooned and cried, I was meanwhile woozily trying to come to terms with the fact that I had had..a boy. A boy! But, but, but...we don't HAVE boys in my family! But I don't know what to DO with a boy! But I thought it would be a girl for nine months! A boy!

One thing about a gives you a lot of time to think, and on drugs, no less! All through being stitched up, shivering and being wrapped up in gold foil and heating blanket, and finally, some time later, wheeled down to my room to confront a 7 lb, 8 oz. cradle lizard with a voracious appetite and operatic lungs. He was an old soul, that much was clear, and once he fell asleep, full and happy, and practiced his shitkicking grin on the sly, I kept asking myself..."am I happy? Am I supposed to be absolutely delirious with joy now?

Actually, I think I was in a state of absolute shock. Shock about his gender, shock that I couldn't deliver him on my own - I failed! I failed! - worried about the future, seriously pissed that I hadn't had the chance to go baby shopping (which was the plan for that day), and well...let's just say that I was rather less than ecstatic and glowing with maternal love. Tristan helped what he could by being an absolute cuddlebug - and chowhound - but this was NOT what I had pictured for myself just 48 hours before.

And 48 hours later...on Xmas Eve, the hormonal drop kicked in, as they tapered off my pain medication and my little boy sucked harder and longer. There were two of us in the maternity ward in those days, and the other lady went home for Xmas, so I had 6 nurses and 3 attendants itching to spoil me for Xmas, yet, after a while, all I could do was cry. Arius was home with a bad head cold, my sister was off for Xmas with our grandmother, and all my friends were off doing their own Xmas things, and I...was alone, on Xmas Eve, with a baby hellbent on inflicting absolute agony on my breasts, and noone I cared about around me to talk to, just a flock of white nylon shoulders to cry wasn't the same.

Not my finest hour, and this year, I intend to exact a gruesome revenge...;)

It did get better. Arius and I moved for a while to Elsinore, and I could begin to ease into being a mother again. Tristan grew and thrived, we found an apartment here, moved and at loong last, things began to settle down. Tristan was - and is - an easy, happy, joyous baby. He's growing like a weed, babbling and rolling and busy charming everyone he sees. I have been blessed, by having such a prize. And at long last and some serious thinking, I am able to appreciate the ultimate powertrip of raising the Perfect Man...;)

Still...think about it. After nine months of being the center of attention, after an experience that defies all attempts to describe it and bordering on death - indeed, until fairly recently, a lot of women did die in childbirth, and I almost certainly would have 100 years ago, after the grandparents have gone home, the friends gone back to their own lives, after your partner goes back to his own world to brag and hand out chocolate cigars - all that's left is this...creature, and you're supposed to be elevated to Virgin Mary status, exuding cow-like contentment and requisite halo, and meanwhile, you're battling profound exhaustion, leaking mammaries,
mood swings from hell and a deepfelt loss of self, your non-pregnant, individual self Before Baby. You look at other mothers and wonder if you will ever regain your prebaby figure, preferably in three weeks or less, which seems to be the - patently absurd - ideal. And all the while you feel guilty...guilty about feeling bad, guilty about sometimes wanting to throw your bundle of joy out the window, guilty about ocasional shortcuts - will La Leche League and the Mommy Police kill me for giving the baby a small bottle, so I can sleep for longer than an hour?, and just...plain...guilty.

As I once half-jokingly told my sister, after the birth of my daughter 11 years ago, "From now on...everything I know and everything I do is wrong!" New mothers suspect - and rightly - that someone, somewhere, will find fault at something they do, sooner or later...

Postpartum depression is a horrible, debilitating condition. But I can't help wondering whether this is partly due to the fact that families these days are supposedly so self-contained and sufficient unto themselves.

Not so long ago, women had a "lying-in", where they were waited on hand and foot, fed, bathed and fussed over by friends and female relatives, so all they had to do was concentrate on baby. No housework, no laundry, and no guilt. There would always be another, experienced mother around to answer questions about anything at all, and now that you were a had suddenly become a Goddess in your own right, and appreciated as such.

These days, there seems to be an unstated opinion that says if you aren't absolutely over the moon with joy, exuding maternal love along with your milk, jumping into your jeans within a month after the birth, putting on your makeup and generally looking like anything BUT a need your head checked.

Well, I checked my head. My head said..."Yes, you ARE a cow...but you won't remain a cow for too much longer." My head also said that maybe some of the tragedies of postpartum depresion could be avoided if mothers were celebrated by their peers, instead of berated for evolving beyond the "grown-up teenager" stage, now with designer baby attached.

Me, I'd time travel back to a proper celebration of motherhood, any day...

-Tarleisio, six months later a besotted Mom...