there you go with my heart: the start of the story

June 23, 2011

My Dad asked about postpartum depression yesterday. He asked when it usually sets in. I couldn’t clear my head to answer the question because I don’t sleep enough to have normal conversations. I don’t know exactly what I said, but what I meant was something like, “as soon as the baby comes out…or anytime after that. Or even while you’re still pregnant.”

I don’t know if it’s happening to me. Again. Maybe it is. It’s hard to tell without sleeping much at all.

What I do know is that this is hard and that I cry a lot. As much as I don’t want to cry, as much as I just want to constantly feel joy, that’s not my reality. Sometimes I cry because I sing to Elsie when she’s crying and I just can’t hold it back. I’m a horrible singer and I really really mean the words…

There you go with my heart, baby…there you go with my heart…I should have known from the start, baby…that there you’d go with my heart…

I am back in time, that’s how it feels sometimes, to when Asher struggled and struggled so much. And back in time is a scary place to be when I’m not sure I’ve gained the strength to do it differently this time, to experience it differently. To keep a different perspective, to live in acceptance, to revel, to not run from discomfort with wine or any other thing.

I’m only human. I still struggle with allowing myself to be just that. This was my third c-section and I’m 36 years old. Sometimes I forget that I’m simply in recovery, in so many ways.

I was talking to Ellie and we remembered how we used to handle things, before sobriety. We talked about how, in our pasts, the newborn phase was just a blur of anxiety and anger. That’s just the honest truth. With the boys, I resented not sleeping, not having energy, not having anything of my own…The truth is that I was so selfish, it took me a very long time to embrace the sacrifice that is motherhood. I embraced them, as people, but not the life I was living.

I’m working on forgiving myself for that while I’m fighting to not do it again. To keep my head from getting the best of my embracing motherhood heart. My mind so incessantly tries to steal my heart’s thunder.

:::

In the evenings, Elsie struggles. It carries on through the night–she’s restless and uncomfortable and is currently fighting off thrush. Ryan is with her so I can sleep a couple of hours before the true night and then he brings her to me when it’s time to eat. She’s generally crying, arching her back, her crumpled face is all I can see with my heart in the half-dark. So I cry too, while longing for sleep, my body aching in every way.  But mostly I cry because I want to fix it and right now I can’t.

Then in the daylight I struggle to locate any patience for the boys. I can’t have an argument about why we don’t put tape over our mouth and nose three times in a row in ten minutes. I just can’t. Then I kick myself as if I’m not trying hard enough.

Next I realize that we’ve already been through a lot and my humanity comes back to mind. Of course I’m tired, I’ll think–I didn’t get to be with Elsie when she was born and that took a toll on me. I was brought to see her at 3 in the morning…just put me in a wheelchair and take me to her. Please…


And they did and there she was, in the special care nursery, with an IV and oxygen, under the lights for warming, her tiny chest caving in and out with labored breaths.  I could hardly move, I could hardly think, but I could feel. They took down the side of her little box home so I could reach her and then they took her out and handed her to me and Ryan will tell the story forever…

She quieted. Her eyes opened and she stared up at me. Her breathing slowed to a peaceful pace and there we were.  We were okay. I felt more than human, in that moment.

 

This was the beginning of our story. And just think of it; that chapter is already gone.

In the next days, Elsie finally joined us in our hospital room…

The page we’re on right now will turn faster than I think it will, too. And then strangely enough I’ll want parts of it back, no matter how hard it can be.

This is family life–so overwhelmed with opposite clashing emotions. I just do the best that I can and sometimes I can’t even do that.

This. All of this. This is about surrender. I’m learning.

Each of my children have run off with my heart. Sometimes it’s like a tearing, in all the things I can’t control…and sometimes they make me more than I’ve ever been, as they surrender to their mother’s power to bring peace to their hard times.

Either way, I am all in pieces for the rearranging, and this is good.

 

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