Archive for February, 2013

The Post Post Post

[Warning: This blog post contains personal body related information; not for the squeamish or uninterested.)

I realized yesterday, when I got what seems to be my period, that I used to blog about it every time I got it for over a year. Many, many cycles of trying to conceive were ended with me writing about the onset of my menses. Without looking back, I am sure that each of those posts were full of woe. I remember trying to convince myself that the cramping or spotting was really a result of implantation; despite its recurrence, I’d stay up late pleading with Dr. Google so I could retain the possibility of being pregnant—even one more day—until the real blood flowed.

Now, I feel truly ambivalent. It’s been 2 years since my last period, and I don’t know how to associate with it anymore. Am I technically post postpartum? I know the period will most likely change over the coming months and when I eventually stop nursing, but the onset has left me befuddled—kind of how I feel about a lot of things these days. The result of continued interrupted sleep? Probably.

I'm baack!

I’m baack!

Speaking of nursing. I always thought I’d want to nurse as long as my child would want to and let her wean as she lost interest. But lately, the constant whiny demand for “nuh-thEEEng!” has me wanting out. Getting grabbed by the shirt collar and yelled at in the face for something that is actually starting to hurt again (sore nipples) is nothing like the soulful connection Josie and I used to share. Especially now that I have to go back to cramps and bleeding, it seems like we should make a trade. I shed my uterine lining every month and she finds comfort from me in other ways.

One feeling that is mightily clear and present is that of shame. I have not figured out what to do for an income and when and how to do it. I try telling myself that being with Josie every minute of the day and getting household things done is a job, though unpaid. But my older more persistent voice says that I am lazy and entitled and “not enough.” The shame of not being a working mom is surprising to me. I have often thought the hetero-normative working mom gets a raw deal having to work and be main caretaker, cook, maid, etc. So why be so self-punishing for being a stay-at-home mom for now? Added to this shame is guilt for actually yearning to work outside the home if only to get away from Josie sometimes. I fought hard to get her into our lives; how can I now want to be away from her? Many moms have told me to just get some small job, that it’ll be worth it for the separation, yet I’m having a hard time believing that bagging groceries would make sense in the context of my new life with a pre-preschool toddler. On the other hand, the universe has been slow to deliver unto me a new and highly satisfying career idea. The thoughtful present “me” definitely feels like I have my hands full most every second of the day, but the nagging inside my head “me” is apparently a masochist.

Instead of the usual Moment of FoG (Funny or Gross), I thought I’d share some of my GaS (Gross and Sad): If you go back about 9 or 10 months of posts, you’ll see that I had some work done on my anus to relieve the incredible postpartum hemorrhoids no one tells you about. It helped a lot. But something I’m starting to come to grips with (no pun intended) is that certain functions “down there” will never come back online—not the way they were before the birth. In spite of the many months of physical therapy, I have only regained a portion of the feeling in my muscles around the episiotomy and internal (forceps and other) tearing. What this means, combined with a healthy dose of Eastern European IBS, is a constant struggle with shit. Most of the time, I can’t completely eliminate and can’t feel what has come out. The wiping is never ending, and when I try to get it all, I end up with hemorrhoids again! I know people have it a lot worse. People with broken backs who lose all feeling spend much more effort on this every day. But because I am mostly functional and only uncomfortable and inconvenienced, the time it takes from my life, as well as the pain and frustration, do not afford me any kind of disability pay; I just need to suck it up (no pun intended) and get on with life as usual. Bending over to walk Josie pushes on my gut which pushes other things, and I do this all day long. I can’t imagine getting work done in the short time Josie naps when I need that time to clean up around the house and in my caboose! The most frustrating thing for me is that, again, no one talks about this stuff. I know one other person who has similar issues, but I’ve heard of so many more from my health care providers. I wish I knew why women don’t talk about the nasty parts of pregnancy and postpartum life. Is it shame? Do we truly think our bodies are that original that no other woman has experienced something similar? I hope, at least, that sharing my GaS (don’t get me started on gas) will reach some blog reader out there and that she will feel less freaky and alone.

More Than Words

Josie has shocked us every day of this 13th month with at least one new word. Josie can baby sign, speak, or both the following words (and more that I am too tired to remember now): book, car, dog, eat/food, hi, bye-bye, bird, bus, ball, toothbrush, outside, sun, key, airplane, nursing, swing, eyes, more, tree, balloon, all done. She understands and communicates so well that she rarely gets frustrated with us for not knowing what she wants or is saying. The frustration is mostly about getting from here to there, and it’s on both our parts.

I’m in a room full of toys and music and a bunch of 1-year-olds running around me, climbing on things, sitting down and getting up. I look over and see my beautiful sweet daughter, sitting and watching and then reaching for me with hands ready to hold on to my fingers while we give chase to these other kids.

My back hurts, my hamstrings hurt and my hip flexors hurt. They all hurt a lot.

French manicure -- clearly not my hands.

French manicure — clearly not my hands.

But I do this “walk” several hours a day, maybe to both Josie’s and my detriment, because she totally skipped crawling and will not get up on her own… not to a sitting position from lying down and not to a standing position from sitting. When she walks her legs are stiff, and when she bends down she bends at her waist, not at her knees. We thought for a long time that these movements would all just come on line eventually, but when we talked with some people who are not each other about it (including her new docs), the idea that she has a developmental issue in this area became a thing—as in a thing we are being proactive about but that I also stress more about with each passing day. We are trying to get her into pediatric physical/occupational therapy that will be covered by her insurance. We’re reading about the motor skills development of kids with special needs. We’re trying to get her on the ground, experiencing her knees, and off of our fingers.

People who hear me talk about how she isn’t walking yet say, “Oh, don’t worry, so-and-so didn’t walk till she was 2!” I don’t need for her to keep up with the Joneses; it’s not a pride issue. I’m really not worried about the walking; she is pretty good at it with the fingers. It’s her not getting up and down or using her knees that has me biting my nails (when they’re available to me). Because I know that we will do whatever it takes however long it takes to do (e.g., I will not be walking her with my fingers across the stage to get her high school diploma), I can daydream about the time when this is a memory and I can blog about something else. After all, it seems like yesterday she was only in the 4th percentile for weight, and now she’s up to the 25th!


(Disclaimer: No men were harmed in the making of this blog.)

The Family

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