When I went back to work, after the hellos and hugs and welcome backs, it was all “How’s motherhood?” And I was like, “Oh yeah, it’s ummm, great!” “So cool.” “Really good.” Then I’d smile weirdly and scoot off mumbling about my news meeting or “gotta make some calls!” It felt really phony summing up “Motherhood” in a quick response, especially since the expected answer is, “It’s been such a wonderful, fulfilling and emotionally rewarding experience so far. I recommend it for every woman. It’s what’s natural!”
Motherhood has been full of surprisingly disturbing moments and feelings. No one really talks about the shit side of it. Like the fact you are hormonally holding on for dear life and that it's not all rainbows and starlight shining down on the three of you.
That it's more like a foggy haze of living in 3 hour increments. The first hour starting when your baby gets hungry, the second hour spent in excruciating pain feeding her, the third hour getting her to burp. Rinse and repeat.
That you are no longer your own person. You have a new dependent being who requires energy, attention, and care. On a schedule you don't control or even understand at first.
That you don't necessarily feel an instant bond with this tiny creature. You're getting to know her, and she's getting to know the world outside your uterus. Both of you have issues.
That if you were even the least bit selfish, and I was no Mother Teresa, you have to swallow hard and give up that 'me first' attitude. You, New Mom, are nowhere near first. You are not even 2nd or 3rd or honorable mention. You are dead last.
There's a lot of helplessness and disorderly conduct going on. It's a time warp that sucks you into a new dimension. Whatever your 'norm' was, it's obliterated by this baby Una-bomber. On day 3, when the new mommy adrenalin wore off, I thought, what the F have we done. Capital F.
I really liked my life before she came along. I really liked sleeping and watching TV and chilling out with The Good Doctor. I liked reading my email and eating meals at appropriate times and doing certain THINGS without tensing up 97% of my muscles and feeling like “is this ever going to be as EASY and PAIN-FREE and FREQUENT as it used to be?” There were so many things I liked about how I had lived the previous 30 years of my life. And now a lot of it really sucked. And I felt guilty about feeling that it sucked. And that Motherhood was more 'hood than good.
The initial pain of just recovering Down There was pretty all-consuming. Things were torn and re-stitched like a patchwork quilt. I had some serious Roid Rage from the hemorrhoids that cackled with laughter every time I cried and stopped breathing when passing a stool that was conveniently pre-softened via pills, but still felt like the Rock of Gibraltar rolling out of a squirrel’s rectum. The aerosol can of numbing spray next to every toilet, right by the giant econo pack of super maxi pads, brought me the kind of bliss only known to Sting and Trudie Styler during tantric sex.
Then there was the breast feeding. That warrants its own post, coming soon. Synopsis: It fucking hurt like nobody’s business.
And the new sleep schedule. I prefer 9-10 hours of uninterrupted lying down time with my eyes closed. In a state of R.E.M. preferably dreaming about Robert Pattinson or Johnny Depp or Daniel Craig. Or if it’s a really good night, the whole trio. That has happened zero times since April 5, 2009. But Emmy is better than most babies when it comes to sleeping, as she does it a lot. Just in 6-8 hour increments that start 2 hours after I fall asleep after getting home from some live shot in Antioch, home of nutjobs who kidnap kids and hold them in a sick purgatory for 18 years. So between 3AM and 5AM and then again at 7AM or 8AM I’m like, oh God, SHE’S AWAKE. And then I try to drown out the snuffling and grunting and aeehhh cries of the munchkin deciding it’s time to RISE and SHINE and where’s my MILK, MOTHER?
I would tell anyone who thinks having a baby “brings you closer together” to stop drinking the Krazy Kool-Aid. It is the most stressful job I’ve ever had. And it's easy to understand how that stress can drive a wedge of resentment and frustration between even the most committed people. I've seen it happen and it's scary.
So I'm grateful everyday that I have the best co-captain in life. The Good Doctor makes this insane and demanding job of Mom so much more manageable. So kudos to those single ladies, put your hands up, who are doing it on their own. (And single daddies). I have the full time help of Asian Grandma and The Good Doctor more than holds his own.
But I'm hitting my stride a little more now. Emmy has always been a fantastic baby. For that I'm beyond thankful and blessed. It's me who had to get my act together. And dare I say, there are some moments when I just want to hug her directly into my beating heart because she is just such a miracle.
That's much more than I could say in a hallway at work, and much more than any casual well-wisher would want to know, but it's a slice of my stream of consciousness about life in Mommyland.