Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The fear -- reason #1

Three months after Charlie was born, I invited my work friends to come over to meet the baby, indulge in some work gossip, and consume some breastfeeding-friendly beverages. Of course Charlie was super fussy. Of course he only wanted me to hold him. And he was spitting up everywhere. So there I was, trying to show off my grumpy baby, and all he would do was wail and nurse, wail and nurse. One of my friends, who has two kids, finally got her hands on Charlie, looked at me and said "Don't you just love being a mom?"

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I wanted to wail. I don't love it! I'm tired and anxious ALL THE TIME! I feel like a complete failure! I haven't been out of the house in a week! Don't you remember what it's like?

But I didn't say all that of course. I tried to replace the look of shock and confusion with one of maternal bliss. And I choked out brightly, "Yes! It's wonderful!"

After three months of motherhood, I hadn't had more than three hours of sleep in one stretch. I worried about everything. Breastfeeding was a source of pain and stress. And I had to deal with the fact that, no matter how much I tried to ignore it, we were moving to Ottawa soon, far away from friends and family. It was the dead of winter, and I was cooped up in the house all by myself. Not a great recipe for mental health.

I can't imagine feeling that way while trying to look after Charlie.

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