Thursday, August 3, 2017

I Will Not Fail Her

"You look like you're going to have another baby", my 5-year-old niece says casually.

I pause. I'm not prepared. I glance at my 7-month-old baby playing on the floor. I regret my outfit choice.

"Oh, really?", I say, keeping my voice as measured as possible.

"Yeah, look like you're going to have another baby", she says a bit louder. Conversationally.

I pause again. I'm not prepared. I lick my wounds. I look down at my stomach. I really regret my outfit choice. I think about the weight I've gained since the birth. I think about the cookies I brought. I think about how I used to look, how I thought I'd look, how nothing fits the same and my body doesn't feel like my own. How embarrassed I am. What a cliché I am. I'm still pausing. And then I think,

I will not fail her.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Dear Small Boy #7: This is Hard

Dear Small Boy,

This is hard.

Sometimes I get so angry so quickly. It surprises and frightens me. I want to yell at you and apologize to you at the same time, and the irony is that you don't understand either. Sometimes I hold you close and cry and whisper, "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry" in your ear because I keep making mistakes, I keep losing my patience, and I know there is no end in sight.

I walk into your room for nap time like I'm preparing for battle. You hate to go to sleep. You hate to stay asleep. It is, by far, the worst thing about you, the dark spot in your sea of smiles and giggles and curiosity, and I spend hours every day thinking about it, theorizing, strategizing, and when you are finally asleep at night I lie awake, fruitlessly dissecting it. 

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