I have had a lot of blog posts formulating in my head.
I want to share so much with you.
I have wanted to share what I have been up to; some cool updates.
I have wanted to share with you some fun or helpful or pretty new finds so that you can enjoy them like I have.
I thought that I would share the Instagram Video from this past Saturday of my sister and I doing a decades-old routine to “Do You Love Me” (#fail).
This morning, I even considered writing about my love for Whole Foods brand sour gummy bears. It seemed important, at the time.
And then, something happened. Not a “thing” or an “event”, but a thing for me.
This afternoon, my son and I were snuggled up on the living room couch. We don’t get a tremendous amount of time alone together, and I often forget to really make it count. Of course I feel guilty for that. And I think that it was also guilt that was the catalyst for my event with my son.
We were snuggling and I was staring into his crystal blue eyes (oh, those eyes; they are bright blue and rimmed with a darker blue shade and inside the iris he has facets, almost like crystals) and loving on him and a wave of guilt washed over me.
I still carry a lot of guilt with me about his birth and babyhood and life v. my daughter’s. And because I have been reading my book (in its final stage of editing) I am reminded of just how dark things got for us—for my son and for me—and so I think these feelings are closer to the surface than they have been in a very long time.
Lately, for one reason or another, I have opened up to a few people about something that is extremely hard to admit. Ugh, this is so freakin’ hard. But, here goes:
I do not know what it is like to feel the mad-insane-over-the-moon-enchanted-best-feeling-in-the-world-heart-exploding-love over a newborn baby boy between days 10 and 365 of his life.
I follow many other mom bloggers and influencers on social media, and I see them with their infant sons and they talk about a kind of love that is so strong it crushes one’s heart and they say things like, “Time, please slow down, I want to savor every moment with my little boy,” and “I never thought I would find a love like this and I have never felt happier or more whole in my entire life. He completes us,” and every time I read one of these posts I feel a punch to the gut.
Let me be extremely clear: from the second he was born I WAS madly in love with my son. I have loved him every single day of his life, even when times were at their darkest for me, and I have ALWAYS, unwaveringly been grateful for his existence. I think that he is one of the smartest, sweetest, bravest humans that I have ever known, and his stubborn streak will no doubt serve him well. BUT, after he was born, my life kind of fell apart.
I gave the timeline above very deliberately; for the first 10 days of his life, I was obsessed with my son, felt like my new family was the most magical thing ever and was euphoric. And then, the Dilaudid wore off.
Things got darker and darker and, without spoiling too much, the prologue of my book is a short vignette about how my son and I were in a makeshift “suite” in the Emergency Room, our rooms next to one other and connected, and at 2 months old (and 28-years-old respectively) he and I were in hospital beds and both ailing.
I suffered from severe postpartum depression and it changed me profoundly. At the time, it made me into a zombie; a shell; a burden; a mess. Today…it has changed me so much that I literally cannot find the words to explain.
I often wonder how much this has impacted my son. He is a daddy’s boy, but shows me tremendous amounts of love. In the past month, two people have asked me if I think that he feels less close to me because of my postpartum distress. These questions were not intended to be mean, but also not rhetorical. The people were honestly asking if I believe that my son did not bond with me as wholly as an infant and if I think that it has impacted our relationship and if it continues to impact our relationship today.
Speaking of today, back to this afternoon. I was on my couch with my son, staring into his eyes, and suddenly a wave of emotion came over me.
“Can I tell you something?” I asked him.
“No,” he said, with a devilish grin.
“Do you know how much I love you?”
“No,” he said again, smiling.
And then, I sensed that something big was coming and so I actually recorded the next part of our conversation so that I would get it word-for-word. There is so much emotion in our voices that is lost in the writing, and that pains me. I wish that you could hear it. But, our dialogue went as follows, as transcribed from iPhone Voice Memo:
“Hey, so when you were born, I loved you so much. And did you know that when you came out you had yellow hair?”
“I don’t know!”
“How did it turn red?”
“I don’t know! I have no idea! It was magic. And when I first held you, when I was still getting surgery, guess what I did? I held you—well, I couldn’t even hold you, but they put you next to my face and I sang ‘Mommy Loves the Baby’ and “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ to you.”
“Did you sing ABCs?”
“No. I didn’t. But, I sang and I kissed you. And it looked like you smiled. And then, when I held you the first time, you nursed right away.”
“What color hair did I have when I was growing?”
“And then I had yellow?”
“Yes. But I need to tell you something. When you were born, I loved you so much. I loved you so so so much. I loved having you. But, I also had a hard time. I got a little sad. I just wanted to tell you.”
“I don’t know, love. But I loved you so much, up to the moon and stars. And then I did some things to make me better. What do you think I did?”
“I don’t know!”
“I went to worry doctors. Right? And who else do I see?”
“Yeah, worry doctors. And Tara?”
“Yes! I see Tara. You got it! And now what am I?”
“I guess that’s true! And am I happy?”
“I love you so much!”
I asked him if he had any questions. He did not. I asked him if he understood. He said that he did. I do not know why I told him what I did, and in many ways, now that I type it out, it feels ridiculous or wrong. But I guess if I am looking for the merit in this talk it is that I showed my son that there was a problem with a solution. That I had an issue, and I can’t explain why, but that instead of letting it own me or define me I took charge; I sought help; I allowed myself to feel and I allowed myself to heal.
Now, I am NOT saying that I am “all better” and that I am cured from all of my woes. Not even close. But “better” is not the same as “all better” and the former? I am. I am 3.5 years and lightyears away from that hospital bed in the ER, in an adjoining suite, staring at my sick 2-month-old baby.
My husband just got home from work and we were giving each other the rundown of our days.
“I had Chipotle for lunch and drove your dad’s car,” he said.
“I was really busy all day and then I told our son about my postpartum,” I looked down, sheepishly, at the apple that I was slicing.
“But, I told him how much I loved him. Do you think that was wrong? Did I totally mess up?”
“You mean how much you love him. And he knows that you do. You did not mess up at all,” he squeezed my shoulders from behind my back.
I have had a lot of blog posts formulating in my head, recently. Some have been light and fun; some have been funny-ish; some have been serious; some have been about gummies; all have been honest.
But today, they got put on the back burner.
(Oh, speaking of, one of the things that I had planned to write about was my crazy day last week and how just one of the things on the list was when I smelled gas from my stove, called PECO and found out that one of my burners was leaking gas so I spent the week with a huge “DANGER” sign hanging off of the oven.)
My son just walked into the room, as I am typing. Typing with trepidation.
“Hey,” I called to him. “Do you remember that thing I told you today?”
“When I was a baby?” he asked.
“Yes. What did I tell you about when you were a baby?”
“I don’t know,” he said. “Mom? Who was my big sister when I was born?”
“Boppy! You know that! And do I love you so much?”
“No,” he said, as he pivoted, walked out my door, and called downstairs for ice cream, smiling all the way.