The crying is unbearable. I panic every single time. My heart says love it. My head says get some sleep. But my body, keeps going through the monotonous motions.
Clean. Sleep. Feed. Sleep. Clean. Feed. Sleep. Feed. Clean. Feed. Sleep. Clean. Feed. Sleep. Clean.
With random organizing, hasty meals, exhausting chores and short naps thrown in along with the omnipresent pain.
When will I actually feel maternal, I silently wonder. I am certain I felt it for the ten minutes when he was placed on me. I’m almost sure of it. I remember thinking I created this. Look he’s so perfect. Blue, but so very perfect. This is my baby. Look at his eyes. Those toes, fingers. And after that everything is a blur.
Twenty-seven days later and now I’m never sure. Every time it cries, it’s like a siren bell which I never know how to interpret. A siren that rings randomly, loudly and creates chaos. Sometimes literally. Sometimes it’s a call to feed, sometimes it’s a call to clean up, sometimes it means nothing but discomfort.
All I know is I want to put my head down and not get up for a year, maybe longer. I want this pain to go away. I want to sleep. Peacefully. Without smelling of poop or pee and without having to stay up all night wondering what to do with the little being. I’ve read all the books, but I still don’t know if I’m doing a good job or just barely keeping it alive.
It’s Christmas today. Maybe I will feel better when I am away from it all. I can’t wait to stop being a zombie for a little while. Haven’t put up any decorations but maybe decking the self might just do the trick!
But not before a burst of tantrums in front of the person partly responsible for all this. He stoically bears the volley of random shots vented at him after the nth dress doesn’t fit. He gallantly coos and shushes and waits for me to calm down. “You’re beautiful. You just need some sleep. Give it time,” he parrots .
I nod, feeling even worse now than before somehow and manage to get dressed.
It’s a white Christmas. The snow is beautiful. The houses sparkling with joy. We enter the party, having gladly left behind our responsibility with our parents. Congratulations and love pour in and I almost feel like my old self.
Except, there is a niggling feeling. I don’t need to, but I call home to check.
“He’s fine. He just slept. You have two hours to enjoy yourself. If he wakes up, I’ll call you. Have fun,” the gracious mom-in-law encourages.
I try. I really do. But I can’t. Something within me throbs to go back home. I keep looking at the clock as I smile and make inconsequential small talk. My leg is tapping away impatiently. I’m eating too fast. People are noticing and teasing me about my mind being elsewhere.
Is it my mind? The merry making. The glitter. The music. The food. All feel off. Everything should be perfect but isn’t.
The phone rings. I bid my adieus hastily and fly out the door like Cinderella. My time is up!
I rush home to gather the tiny, wiggling bundle into my arms. Now I feel complete. I think I’ve become a mother.
Originally published on Silver Linings.
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