week 20 of motherhood

Once again I remember today as birth day. 2:15 am was the day I met Veronica. She’s four and a half months old now, and doing well. I guess I doing well, too. At least I’m not doing as badly as I had.

I do recognize that it’s self-centered of me to phrase this as 20 weeks of “motherhood”, rather than V’s 20 weeks of life. Yeah, yeah…she’s holding her head up, getting fatter and stronger and all that. But *I* was to talk about *ME*

Probably makes me a bad mother. But it’s my blog, so I get to say what I want.

It is strange being a mother. Right now, it involves a lot of television. I did not used to watch this much TV. But i have to sit still with my baby a lot. So, while thinking about this huge change in my life, it struck me when I heard Peggy from Mad Men say the following:

i wanted other things…, one day you’re there. And then all of a sudden there’s less of you. And you wonder where that part went…if it’s living somewhere outside of you

and you keep thinking maybe you’ll get it back and then you realize it’s just gone

I’m not entirely sure what she’s referring to, but the conversation takes place when she’s telling how she gave up her baby to keep being a career girl.

I think of it in the reverse. I feel like parts of me are missing–or at the least starved into near non-existence. And I wonder if I will get them back. I wonder if that was the deal I didn’t know I was making, that being a parent means permanently putting aside certain things.

On of the doctors I saw after the hospital visit was trying to help me. I went to her to see if I needed some help for postpartum depression. Maybe I wasn’t being as good of a mother as I needed to be. My child ended up in the hospital, after all. Maybe I needed some help with anxiety. So I checked in with the psychiatrist.

She was trying to help me, but as usual I didn’t fit her template. I’m not exactly a spring chicken anymore, but the way she was talking to me reminded me of an adult trying to be hip to a teenager:

“I know what you are going through. I chose to have a child when I was older, you know. I had to give up my life. I couldn’t go out to restaurants and I couldn’t read as much as I used to. It was a big change.”

But that’s not it at all. I don’t miss dinners out. I don’t mind the hard work of taking care of her, exactly. I just feel so fundamentally different. And I don’t recognize myself.

How does a river come to terms with itself when a dam has been built? The Colorado River ran a long time through a lot of land before men came in and made Hoover Dam. It didn’t stop running when the dam was put it place, but it was really changed. Different forces were put into play. It became this big pooled up deep lake behind the dam, and a skinny trickle after the dam.

If the river were self-aware, I think that would have freaked it out.