I compare my journey of becoming a parent to the process of going from a great fallen log to a hollowed out canoe. While it’s happening you say “where are all those parts of me going?” some of them will come back in time, reformed as a beautiful carving of wisdom to adorn you, much will fall away. It takes time to see that some of it was rotten or extraneous or distracting. It can be painful. The last time I wrote I was grasping for shreds of dignity, an image and ideal that I’d all but lost. I wanted my life to look magically like a Waldorf kindergarten, with me the lovely, composed teacher knitting, tending the children lovingly and selflessly…singing just the perfect song at the perfect moment to calm or inspire, and pulling out the finger puppets. I have had to fully surrender since then. I’ve had to (and continue to) grapple and wrestle with the big alligator of my and Sapphire’s birth. In some ways I am still birthing. Waves of contraction and expansion…opening up seeing the light, the purpose, feeling firm ground as a parent, then closing up, losing my way, seeing yet another fear looming over me. During labour you can’t always tell where you’re going. You’re just in it. Now is what’s real. this first year or Sapphire’s life has been like that. Each time I think I know what I’m doing maybe i try to do more, be more, and bam! we’re both sick, I have mastitis (five times and counting folks!). Luckily I have guideposts to mark my way and my progress…doulas, midwives, postpartum doulas, friends have all been there to talk and listen along the way.
Haley just finished over a month of work with only a couple of days off and long hours. I was on edge before it began, and by the end I was a nervous wreck. I have come to accept that I have been dealing with many symptoms of PTSD as well as PPD since Sapphire’s birth. It is so humbling, and so hard. I never knew what hard was until I had functioned as basically a single parent, with a borderline hypothyroidism, a baby with severe reflux, nightmares and flashbacks, and so little and such interrupted sleep that I felt delirious most of the time…. I got through it with the help of a postpartum doula and housekeeper.
So, despite my pervasive Scrooge attitude most Decembers, this year things changed. As December rolled around I got it. I got that so much battling with inner demons NEEDS balance: joy and delight. I think not working in retail during the holidays also helps…you get very sick of holiday songs and grumpy shoppers. Sapphire is ten months old this week. She says words…like “bath”, “deer”, “teeth”, “Dada”, “mama”…she is old enough to grasp that a tree indoors with coloured lights is pretty cool. She is old enough to get into the glee of shredding wrappings to reveal what’s inside. I am mature enough to overlook all the new wrapping paper, and some of the inevitable character polyester pj’s and plastic toys….