Sorry I haven't been blogging much lately, a combination of newborn busyness and postpartum depression is robbing me of the ability and desire to write. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't stressed and frustrated on a daily basis - I feel like I can't accomplish anything other than the three of us ending up dressed and fed, enough dishes washed to prevent us from eating off paper plates, and package of defrosted meat and a plan of what I'd ideally like it to become. It is good for me to get out and talk to other moms, to be reminded that no one gets anything done during the newborn period, to be reminded that it's normal to spend hours sitting on my ass on the couch nursing, to be reminded that everyone feels unattractive and desperate at first. I thought if I did everything right that life would be smooth. But newborn world is all-consuming, even when you breastfeed, don't have to pack and move, and don't have a c-section. I can feel the veil of depression lift when Aunt so-and-so shares my pain and turns it into humor: "And you come home and everything leaks! There is a pad on everything and it's the size of a canoe! You go to the hospital and stare in amazement: 'Where do you even get pads the size of a canoe?!'"
I'm trying very hard to soak up some of these newborn moments. I pass Eleanor over to a mom who's passed her child-bearing years and she soaks up the baby snuggles and the baby smells with a wistful: "I forgot they're this small!" One of Matt's uncles was telling me about how his baby had terrible colic for six months straight. Another about six months of sleeping upright with an infant with very serious GERD. About how those days were hell. About talking their wives down from a ledge at 1am when they were away on business trips. And about how those days were gone in the blink of an eye. About how they miss them. The first year of Abigail's life was difficult too. The PPD is just as bad now as it was then. And that year passed in the blink of an eye too.
Speaking of the other mega complication in my life. She adds a whole other layer onto the stress. Especially her eating issues. Hand-over-hand spoon feeding my three-year-old while my six-week-old nurses. It takes every bit of my strength to keep every meal from turning into me yelling and ripping the spoon out of Abigail's hand. I'm not telling you these things because they make me look good. I don't know why I'm telling you these things.
I also can't leave the two of them alone in a room together unless Abigail is contained. She does not listen to my rules to leave the baby alone and any command of "be gentle to baby" has an expiration date of about five seconds. And I can't just put Eleanor out of three-year-old reach because Abigail has one hell of an arm and loves to "share" her toys with Eleanor. And until last week, Eleanor would not nap alone or in a carrier. So I had to hold her. While I went to the bathroom. While I made lunch. While I changed my underwear. Unless, of course, I wanted to let her sob locked up in my room in the rock n' sleeper while Abigail bangs on the door, "Baby! Mama, Baby!" I start hot flashing, my blood pressure rises, my milk ducts get all antsy. And my poor neighbors. I'm sure they love me at this point. Goodness gracious.
I'd also be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to preschool in the fall. I have high hopes that the amazing special ed teacher Ms. N can teach Abigail some impulse control. Because, of course, some mental complications of Down syndrome are: "repetitive and obsessive-compulsive behaviors; oppositional, impulsive, and inattentive behaviors," emphasis added to what Abigail most struggles with. When we visited the preschool, I noticed all the kids were leaving alone a computer and telephone in child-grabbing range. "Abigail would be over there in about two seconds," I commented to Ms. N. She looked me right in the eye, "They all do at first." My jaw dropped. I think about that scene when I'm stuck in the rocking chair during an hour-long nursing session while I try to command my impulsive toddler with repetitive behaviors to stop banging on the side of the stove with her baby doll's plastic head.
And the best part? Looking forward to the day Abigail goes away to preschool makes me feel like a terrible parent and fills me with a sense of guilt, totally fueling the postpartum depression. Feeling like a worthless mother makes me think I shouldn't have kids, which distances me from Eleanor. Cue a second helping of PPD. I then commence feeling like I'm ruining my girls' childhoods. Do you see how the PPD makes the PPD worse?
I don't know why I'm saying these things because I've determined that I am going to publish this post no matter what I write. I'm just trying to be honest. Vulnerable. Sincere.