Sunday, May 21, 2017

Dear Small Boy #6: On Mother's Day

📷 Sharalee Prang

Dear Small Boy,

Motherhood is damp.

I don't wear my wedding ring anymore. Breastmilk gets underneath it and it's sticky and I can't properly get it out when I wash my hands so it bothers me all day.

Motherhood is damp with everything you can imagine. First with water and blood, then with breastmilk and puke and tears and pee and drool and sweat and formula and poop and more blood and more puke and OH SO MUCH PUKE. How much could there be? Always, always, more. Motherhood is constantly damp.

Dear Small Boy, morning is my favourite time of day because you are so happy and giggly and funny. Nighttime is my favourite time of day because you have gone to sleep and I can breathe, breathe, breathe.

Motherhood has turned me into a pile of contradictions.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Dear Small Boy #5

Dear Small Boy,

Dear Theodore,

You came into the world on a cold, snowy day. You came after swearing and punching of the car window and some movie-level-drama emergency room screaming. You came after I baked butterhorns in the kitchen and rapped Hamilton in the bathtub through contractions. You came in a quiet, calm room with Bob Dylan playing and your Daddy and Auntie nearby. You came quickly, quicker than I thought, everyone in the room was surprised and scrambled into action, and when they placed you on my chest I asked, "Is this our baby?"

I felt you come out, I felt your body slip through mine, I felt how you were still attached, and I felt your weight on me as I asked, "Is this our baby?" 

You felt bigger than I thought you would. You looked different than I thought you would. You have blonde hair and a dimple on your right cheek just like me. You knew right away what to do and you latched on and stroked my hand and I looked down at you and asked, "Is this our baby?"

Monday, November 14, 2016

Dear Small Boy #4

Dear Small Boy is a series of letters about perinatal depression. To read part one, click here

Dear Small Boy,

I think a lot about footed baby pajamas.

The other day, our prenatal class instructor asked all of the moms and dads one thing that they were looking forward to doing with their baby in the hours after the birth. They said things like:

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Dear Small Boy #3

Dear Small Boy is a series of letters about perinatal depression. To read part one, click here.

Dear Small Boy,

Sometimes making you makes me feel so, so bad. I get so angry. I get so sad. I feel so worthless. I feel so scared of losing everything. It happens so fast and I feel like I'm being pulled down, down, down into the undertow and I'm going to drag everyone and everything I care about down with me.

When making you makes me feel so bad, the rest of the world seems dim and hazy. I feel like I'm walking in a dream. I look around and see so many good things, but I can't believe that the good things are real because the bad things feel so much real-er. It's scary because I can't tell the difference.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Dear Small Boy #2

Dear Small Boy is a series of letters about perinatal depression. To read part one, click here

Dear Small Boy,

When you go to therapy you get treats. This is your mother talking.

Kids and adults both need treats sometimes, especially when we do something hard. Therapy is hard because it makes me feel really, really, really bad for a while and then better later. It's not your fault, it just is.

I still don't know what to say to you, but last night I played you some songs. Up until now, our musical diet has been a mainstay of gangster rap and the cast recording of Hamilton. Hamilton is still rap but decidedly less gangster. Last night, though, I held my phone near you and played "The Book of Love" by Peter Gabriel and "Don't Think Twice It's All Right" by Bob Dylan. They are songs that make me feel big things by men that feel big things and I hope you will be a boy and a man who feels big. I don't know if feelings are teachable, but if they are, I think Bob Dylan is a good start.


Your Mother

Friday, October 7, 2016

Dear Small Boy #1

Dear Small Boy is a series of letters about perinatal depression. 

Dear Small Boy,

I am lying here alone after work, trying to finish my book, but you are kicking and kicking.

The light is streaming in from the kitchen window on to my book, it is quiet. The book is Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri. I like to read.

You kick and you kick, Small Boy. You are twenty-one weeks inside me, kicking, and I have not spoken to you yet because I don't know what to say.

Your father knows what to say. He has plans and ideas and words of love. He has songs and stories and nicknames and last week, when he was talking to you, you kicked so hard he felt it and he cried tears of joy. Already you know each other.

Do you know me? I am your home. I am who you are kicking. I am your mother.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

If You Have Kids: Be Gentle

Say you are person A. You have two kids. You are having a tough day, because let's face it, kids can be EXHAUSTING. You are tired and frustrated and at your wit's end. You call up your friend, Person B, who has four kids, and you tell them about it. And B says to you,

"You think you're tired? You don't even know what tired IS. Try having FOUR kids. When you have FOUR kids, you'll wish for the days with two kids! Two kids is a piece of cake!"

I think we can all agree that would kind of stink, right? First, it completely invalidates A's feelings and brings the attention to B. Second, A might never have four kids! Which means that their exhaustion or frustration will never seem paramount, or even legitimate, to B. A's feelings and experiences don't count. Ouch, right?