One day, I hope to be able to take the time to do each of these topics justice. But since I started this a month ago, and it remains unfinished, for now, I’ll try to sum up before Sir Poopsalot wakes up and, well, poops. I’ll try to provide updates throughout but, well, babies. They wake.
Charlie is the most pleasant baby. He’s still a baby, so he’s a crazy ton of work, but lordy, did we hit the kiddo jackpot on this one. Once he starts sleeping through the night I’ll probably be even crazier about him (update: he sleeps through the night. It is magic. Better than magic. He also smiles and coos and is on the verge of out and out laughter), but even that’s hard to imagine. Also, he’s gorgeous. And has a very lovely, fuzzy head. I also hit the husband jackpot. The Dork Lord is a very, very good and very natural father. Listening to him give Charlie the play-by-play during a Mavericks game in his sing-song daddy voice gives me such amusement – and also this deep sense of happiness and peace.
Postpartum depression was the darkest, scariest thing that has ever happened to me. I stopped sleeping, couldn’t eat, and sobbed endlessly over what I was convinced was abject failure at motherhood. I believed, most ardently, that my son deserved a better mother and that I had made a very grave mistake trying to be a mother. It hit with such force and suddenness, too – quite literally overnight. For a while, Prozac made it better, until Prozac made it lot, lot worse. Then it got really scary. Because then, in the span of one afternoon, I began to feel like I was dying. I was afraid I was dying, actually. And simultaneously, I was afraid I’d have to live. I never wanted to kill myself, but I didn’t want to be alive. I only believe that distinction is important because when answering the question, “Are you afraid you might harm yourself or the baby?” my immediate and honest answer was always “Of course not.” I’m glad I never got to the place where I had to stop to consider my answer more carefully. Update: I’ve now been to the hospital twice for a severe allergic reaction to Zoloft so now we’re giving Lexapro a shot. Here goes nothin’.
Trying and failing at breastfeeding was a miserable, miserable experience. Despite the help of an expensive lactation consultant and trying every which way known to man, Charlie would not latch. He could not – his palate was simply to high and his mouth too small and as the weight slipped off him, I continued to try and fail and blame myself. It wasn’t until I was in the throes of depression and my mother came to stay to care for Charlie that he really began to thrive – on a bottle. Update: at our two-month check up yesterday, Charlie had gone from 9th percentile in weight to 39th. I think we’re doing something right. Also, he’s in the 95th percentile for length, so his daddy is fostering some pretty high hopes that our son will be a baller. He’d better have inherited his father’s coordination, is all I have to say about that.
I love being a mother. When I was deep in postpartum depression, I was overwhelmed by feelings of remorse – that I’d made a terrible mistake having a baby. Not that Charlie was the mistake; his absolute innocence and perfection made me feel like a monster, unworthy of this new job. Getting help was the best thing I could have done for all of us. The Dork Lord said at the time that medication wouldn’t make me a good mother. It would let me see I already was. He wasn’t wrong.