Tuesday, July 15, 2014
The other day I read an article: 'Before I forget, what nobody remembers about new motherhood'. It was one of the most honest accounts of what happens right after you have a baby:
"...the post-partum experience (...) is immensely, bizarrely complicated. It is, at various times and for various people, grueling and joyful and frightening and beautiful and disorienting and moving and horrible. (...) It's hard to remember how distressing sleep-deprivation is when we're not actually experiencing it. It's hard to explain how upsetting it is when your baby cries. You may find yourself a little weepy at the end of a cold, gray day in which you accomplished nothing but half a load of laundry, now moldering in the washer since the baby's surprisingly early awakening from her morning nap. You may find yourself unreasonably irritable when your partner calls to say that he or she is going to be home from work thirty minutes late."
I had read all kinds of books to try and prepare for what was going to happen. I read about childbirth, I read about breastfeeding, I read about French parenting strategies and about child development. But for some reason it didn't occur to me to read about how lack of sleep, tiredness and hormones would affect my mood, about the "biochemical forces moving within my body and beyond my control".
I am not proud of this, but those first days were particularly hard because I got grumpy, I often snapped at the husband, at my mom, at anyone, really. I felt like I constantly had to prove whatever it is I was trying to say or else people wouldn't listen to me, wouldn't take me seriously. Mark and I had never really fought before. At the most, during simple discussions we would both go hang out to our own little corners of stubbornness for a couple of hours and then made up because being angry at each other was worse and less important than whatever it was we were arguing about.
It gets difficult when you have a child, a child whom you both love strongly and fiercely wish to protect, and then you don't really agree on how to do A or B or C. Simple stuff like "does she need an extra blanket?" or "well, I'll keep my sign there because I hate it when people touch her hands or face if I don't know they are clean" can turn into arguments.
It is something we are navigating together, something we are working on and getting better at with every day that passes. But I wish somehow, somewhere there had been a book, an article, someone that could have alerted me this was about to happen. That my mood was going to be dramatically affected, that my views on certain things were going to suddenly be very strong. All I can say now is that kindness, tolerance and being able to communicate are vital.Oh, and remembering that we are a team, that we are in this together, not against each other on a competition to see who is right. Of course we knew this, but we had not really had to live it.
Has this happened to you or am I crazy?