Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Level 1 Mom
I spoke about feeling depressed in my last post, and I have been warmed and so encouraged by many understanding and supportive responses. I think that depression is a tricky demon because I couldn't see what was happening while I was in it. I feel much better now. I want to go out and do things. I want to visit my friends. That haze of melancholia is gone most days. On the days I feel a bit sad I at least know that it's just hormones and it will go away. The thing that really bothers me about how I was feeling is that I don't remember much. I know there were so many smiles, giggles, milestones, and just the day-to-day things that are gone forever. Those first weeks of sleeping next to Aidric in bed, holding him close constantly, and gazing at each other's faces are so blurry and blend into one image now. Thank goodness we have 100 gigs of pictures and video.
It is such tragedy that the early time with your baby that is expected to be so sacred and joyous can be such a dark and confusing time. Is it just hormones? A chemical cocktail of sleep deprivation levels of melatonin, stress hormones, and all those lovely female hormones making it so hard to climb out from under those feelings?
Or is it that I just don't have the mental and emotional fortitude to handle the difficulties?
You see, I feel that I have spent most of my life just floating along. Too frightened and insecure to take chances and sabotaging them when they came along. I learned to just get by. I would take the easy job with minimum wage, stick to a guy that would have me so I could stop burdening my Mom, and just let the years go by. My friends from high school moved away, found good husbands, made babies and started careers while I painted, traveled, and thought nothing about the future. I shopped at Salvation Army, stole bagels from work, went out dancing, and stayed way too long with guys in co-dependent ignorance.
But eventually women close to me started having babies, and I saw for the very first time how happy that made them. I started to see children as something other that the screeching demons I would notice in CVS. They were amazing and sweet. I saw that look on my friends' faces when they looked at their babies. That look. You know what I mean. I knew I had to experience that. But I wasn't in the right place. I looked at myself. Great. A part time teacher, part time plein air painter, no man, no plan. Oh, well. I guess I will survive without knowing what it's like to be a Mom.
But then I met Mark, and I wanted it all: the house, yard, and baby. Wanted it real real bad. I wanted to live up to the responsibility for once. I wanted Mark to be proud of his wife.
I wanted to be truly challenged. I wanted to be important for something. I wanted to love someone like the way I saw my friends do. And I am, and I do. I only just realized this. I finally feel like I am really living. Sure, I still feel too overwhelmed some days, but I am fighting and trying to be a better person every day. For Aidric. For Mark. For me.
The next big challenge is to balance the things I need to do with being a Mom. I need to paint and practice yoga to be the balanced and calm person I want to be, and to be the role model I want Aidric to see. I just need to figure out how to make that happen when I usually don't have the time to cut my toenails.
We all have challenges in life. Some are environmental, and some are self-inflicted. Would I have had a better experience if we weren't in this awful apartment? What if I had had someone here to help out? I will never know. I can get mad that we have no dishwasher, no laundry, and no central air in the 100 + summers. I can let our crummy landlord get to me. I can curse every motorcycle, fire truck, and helicopter disrupting Aidric's nap. But what good does that do? I know that there are so many people who handle much much worse. And for those of you who have houses with yards, modern conveniences, good jobs, and quiet neighborhoods, I hope you appreciate the kingly affluence you have!
As for me, I feel truly alive, challenged, and adapting. I am focusing on the things that I have that make me happy, rather than the things I would like to have. And I am so blessed to have such good caring friends who have been so understanding. I feel like I am starting out, a level 1 Mom, on a new adventure.