Monday, May 12, 2014

Reflections on Mother's Day

May 12, 2014

The wedding weekend is over. It was wonderful and I kept my vow to keep the sarcasm in check. But now I want to share a few thoughts on motherhood. And I know I'm going to hear flak about this. But I'm ready.

News flash.... There is a conspiracy surrounding pregnancy and motherhood. Everyone is sooo happy to hear someone is pregnant. "Congratulations!" "Best time of your life!" And my favorite, " I never felt better!" Really?!! I was scared, lonely and my body took on a life of its own. Even though I was a nurse I still couldn't figure out how this huge object was going to emerge without me being in, to put it mildly, extreme distress. And guess what? No amount of breathing techniques, water baths, walking around or hanging upside down made it any better. I knew only my own perseverance would get me through. AND the fact that women have been having babies for centuries and the species has survived. And I did it twice! Without any push gift!

But the real conspiracy surrounds motherhood itself. No one told me how HARD it would be. I'm going home with this baby!! I can't go home. Why can't I live in the hospital and send this kid back to the nursery at night? I don't know how to care for a baby. 24/7. I brought him everywhere with me. Even into the bathroom when I took a shower. I worried about everything. Breastfeeding was a nightmare. It seemed like I took off my shirt more than I wore it. Was he eating enough, too much? Was he sleeping enough. Was I sleeping enough? The days were long and lonely. Going back to work was looming and I didn't know how I was going to leave this baby in day care. And in the end I decided to have Jennie take care of him. Even though I drove from Hamden to East Haven and then to New Haven to work. And then in reverse at night. Ahh, the things we do to survive.

So in closing I want to talk a little about Andrea Yates. Ever since I heard her story so many years ago I felt sorry for her. Her husband Rusty left her at home with five little kids after she had been hospitalized for postpartum psychosis. He had been warned not to leave her alone. When he left for work she drowned her kids in a bathtub. I have always felt for her. She was an honor student in high school and is now in a state hospital in Texas. Rusty has remarried and now has a new family. How nice for him. Hopefully the women who need help and support after childbirth will not have to suffer like Andrea. And if we can recognize that it is HARD to be a new mom more people will come forward and seek help.

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