Two Thoughts

1. Two days after my son was born, the nurse parked my wheelchair by the curb and wished us luck. Life, apparently, had been moving at its normal pace outside my hospital room. There were cars in the parking lot, people on their way to work, deliveries being made.

I’d been delivered from a place of waiting for, expecting, to a place of here he is, here we go. And we went.

I sat in the back seat next to him. He looked impossibly small. Strapping him into his carseat my thoughts moved in a direction I couldn’t control.

It would be better for me to just hold him, strap him to my body instead of a plastic shell. I can protect him better than a car seat.

I was able to suppress the thought but was unnerved and anxious for the whole ride home. It would be the first of one million such thoughts that rose up inside me in a swell of hormones and exhaustion. I lived with them for months.

2. Later the same day, our house was loud with family and love. My husband sat at the computer, loading photographs of our boy. Grandmothers filled the kitchen, preparing meatballs and sauce, salad and bread.

I wrapped him and unwrapped him. Passed him around. Examined his toes, smelled the top of his head. I checked my email. There was a new message from my husband, sent to many relatives and friends, with news of our son’s arrival. I scanned the message and noticed he’d attached a picture.

There was our son, immediately after his birth. The picture was an image of him being weighed, the numbers red on a digital scale. I saw a seven and a ten. He was crying, curled. There was a smear of yellow-brown along his side.

I heard my voice call for my husband, heard the shaking, felt my heart pound. Look, I hissed. Look what you sent.

And then the thought. What kind of mother allows a picture of her child’s poop to be put ON THE INTERNET? He will hate us when he finds out what we did.

Of course I can see now how ridiculous this thought was, how irrational. But at the moment it came to me I rose from my chair. I ran through my house, past relatives and friends, to my bedroom. I slammed the door, threw myself on the bed and sobbed.

This day is preserved in a family video. On it I look proud. I look calm. It’s amazing to think about the world that was born in my head that day, a world of panic and fear and irrational thinking that would take hold of me for the year following his birth.

And it’s amazing to think that I’m the same person today who lived in that world.

I have passed through those waters and come out on the other side.


 



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Comments

  1. Galit Breen says:

    Oh my you’re pulling at my heartstrings here with your ever-beautiful words.

    Thank you for that.

  2. Amber says:

    For the first two weeks after my son was born I would sob hysterically every time my mom would leave after a visit. I mean full on body shaking sobs.

    My husband didn’t know what to with me or what was going on. This brought me right back to those moments. You’re such a powerful writer.

    Also, the thoughts you had in the car…right there with you. Love this, ML…as always.

  3. liz says:

    Oh ML, you capture it perfectly. Thank you.

  4. You are such a wonderful mom and an absolutely gifted writer. Thank you for sharing all of these so-important moments with us…

  5. I definitely had thoughts like this–mine were irrational thoughts along the lines of “What if I hurl myself out of the bedroom window while holding my baby?” or “Do you think I will lose control of the car…right…NOW?” and ensuing panic. Post-partum can really be a scary time, and it’s hard to distinguish “normal” hormones and serious issues that need treatment…

    Thanks for the post!

  6. Eden E says:

    This sounds a lot like what my pregnancies are like DURING, too. Sometimes I don’t even know who I am, what’s a real emotion and what’s hormone-induced. You are SO gifted at putting others in your shoes, ML!!! Thanks for stopping by today btw, you are such a sweetheart and came just at the right time! Life has been interesting lately, and you reminded me that my froggers :) are still there cheering me on at the sidelines! Thank you darling girl!!! Love & Hugs

  7. Oh ML, my heart hurts reading this. I know exactly that feeling. That first week home was so awful and here we are, moms who were so excited about meeting our little ones, only to come home and not have things the way we expected them to be. You say it so well, I could just feel your ache.

  8. January says:

    I had the exact same emotions, panic, irrational thoughts when my first son was born….for a while after – probably close to a year as well. It makes me sad when I think back … I feel as if I didn’t enjoy his babyhood as much as I did my second son’s. Thank you for sharing this.

  9. bridget says:

    I hardly remember those days, when I first brought them home. Thank you for reminding me.

  10. Heidi says:

    Oh I so remember those days!

  11. Katie says:

    I can’t say that I know what you went through, ML, but I can say that I understand your words and find them comforting. There’s all kinds of hard times we must go through in life…to think that we can get through them and come out on the other side is a beautiful and comforting thought.

  12. How did I miss this one? I didn’t know this about your experience. Glad I do now.
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