No one told me I would cry more than my baby…

June 11, 2013 ginginbonbon

People always say that squeezing out a bald puppy will radically change your life. I knew this, was prepared for it, sort of. But even though I was, and am, cognitively aware of these changes as I experience them, I’m continually surprised by their strength, their flavour, and how unsettling they are.

It’s not just that I don’t go out and enjoy all of the same activities as before, or even the new, additional responsibilities and considerations. Before I became a parent, I wasn’t able to anticipate how drastically my perception and focus would shift, or what that would be like. Yes, doing things both inside and outside of the house requires more planning, certainly, more time, more energy, etc. But it also doesn’t feel the same to do all of these things. They are qualitatively different.

By far the biggest challenge for me has been social. I had a friend over the other day and it was the first time since I gave birth, maybe before, that I didn’t feel supremely weird just hanging out. She has a baby that is two weeks younger than ours, and we mostly just sat around, breastfeeding and going over to the potty to hold our babies over it. It was a relief to be able to give my baby most of my attention and know that this was okay and normal and to relate so fully to someone else who is living the same thing and who has a very similar approach to my own.

I couldn’t quite put my finger on it before, what it was that bothered me about my interactions with friends over the past months, but now it makes more sense. People don’t understand how immersive the experience of having a kid is, and those who do are uh, submerged in their own situation. It’s super difficult to make time for anything in a meaningful way, because a baby’s needs are around the clock. You are always splitting your attention, with everything else taking a back seat. Even when she is actually asleep, I have to be able to drop whatever I’m doing, and there is so much that I would like to do during those few, fleeting moments, god, it makes me want to cry all the time. And I do.

I am blessed to have such lovely friends, people who want to come over and spend time with us, and ask if we need anything. They are wonderful. But some people are more monopolizing than others. No matter how well-meaning they are, concentrating on a conversation and tending to their thirst and hunger while they are over is tough, especially when I’m trying to put my baby down for a nap, for example. This is generally a really arduous process on its own and can take hours.

I don’t want to be ungrateful. People come over and it’s great, it’s just that it’s never helpful, not unless it’s my mom. She is the only person who plays with my baby, changes her diaper or helps with any other house or care work. Maybe it’s way too much to ask of anyone else. I don’t know. What I’m saying is, I don’t feel isolated because I don’t see people, I feel isolated because the precious little socializing I do mostly stresses me out, and that hasn’t traditionally been the way things work in my life. It’s not that I don’t appreciate it, that I don’t care about what’s going on in my friends’ lives or that I’m no longer interested. It just feels like I am on a distant planet. And it seems like it’s impossible for them to relate to what my life is like.


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