I walk into the postnatal class, I thought I was late but time no longer means anything to these bitches. Unless we are talking about “tummy time” Then it matters a whole fucking lot.
I don’t get how exciting it is to lay your child down on its belly and watch it squiggle like a beetle on the floor. I also don’t get infant educational DVDS and baby sign. These are weeks old children, weeks new actually. They are technically not human yet- why so soon do I have to get them to do stuff?
The class is supposed to be focused on travelling with infants…
…which is why I am here. Because I want to believe I can get the fuck out. Out of my dirty underwear, my living room, the city, my shockingly new life.
I don’t think I have post partum depression but I did say in a fit of sobs this morning. “I’m not having any fun” which is why my husband told me to go to the postnatal class and try to connect with other mothers.
(to baby) “yum, tum, time, you likey mommy booby, huh, why you no likey booby, tum bum? You gots gassy in your bummy tummy poopy?…(to friend) so I really screwed up this morning I missed her third sleep cycle and now she is cranky as heck…what a silly mom! (to baby) Yes, you have tight bum bums in your poopy doopy. (to friend) Did you notice this rash? On her neck? maybe it’s from heat? Mommy is a bad mommy. Mommy got you too hot on your necky.”
I think to myself “Do you want to know what a bad mommy is?”
The woman who has not bathed her 7-week old kid in 2 weeks because the smell doesn’t bother her enough yet and she’d prefer to sleep.
The woman who collects Ativan prescriptions just in case things get really bad.
- The woman who wonders if adoption is an option “ because we don’t seem to be getting along today.”
Looking around the room I’m reminded of horses, neighing and pawing at the ground, chewing on their oats, sticks and burrs in their mane, swaying from one big ass cheek to the other as they belch and sweat.
I am not removing myself from this imagery by the way. My husband asked me if I was making cheese the other night because my breast pads were so full of old milk they had started to ferment.
This is my life now and I’m not doing very well in it.
I’m noticing a pattern with moms. We seem to think because we birthed a human we now rule the world.
“My baby cried all the way to Boston and everyone around me was annoyed. But I mean if you can’t deal with a crying baby on the airplane, don’t fly! Babies cry. They are cuuute little babbbbiiiesssss. Get over it!” one says.
I know I am a shameful new mom cliché. I am a mom judging other moms when really I should be…but…
..how are we supposed to bond with strangers simply because we all had babies? I’m now obligated to see your tramp stamp every time you bend over to pick up your little overachiever? You have to pretend to care about her pre-baby teeth? Yes, that’s right, some babies get teeth before their baby teeth.
I pop my little boy in his $200 carrier and sneak out.
I drop the boy off at his dads work for an hour. I go to a café by myself, order a cappucchino, a kale wrap, an organic grapefruit juice and a gluten free naniamo bar and I stuff myself full.
It’s not like I don’t love him although in the tub this morning I did sob “I don’t feel feelings of love for him.” I do love him, like I love all members of my family, difficultly and deep.
It might be because I’m tired.
It might be because it’s my first time.
It might be because I feel like my life is over yet it never really began.
It might be because I want to be honest about the darkness I feel without being placated or silenced.
But I feel very lonely.
I sit back in my chair in the cafe and I imagine myself in a circle of women.
We are all topless, feeding our kids.
We are laughing, speaking from our hearts. We tell the truth, even if it’s messy.
I imagine some tears.
I see a little boy scuffle off and chew on an old cow bone for a while and we all clock him but keep the conversation intent. The sun is hot but no kid is wearing a protective UV suit. Spit is used to soothe bug bites and as the stars come out someone lights a fire.
The babe’s drift in and out between smiling and resting. There are no toys or softies. We do not know about sleep cycles and we have nowhere else to be but now.
No one is leading. No one is following.
A mother falls asleep.
A question is asked. There is silent contemplation.
A mother smacks her kids butt.
There are no criticisms here. There is no right answer and we are kind…
…because we know this is hard, it is the hardest thing we have ever done and the road is long.
We do not expect to be understood or empathized with or recognized as special in any way. We don’t expect for anyone else to care but we like spending time together because we all know now, secretly, that we rule the world.
Where is a mommy group like that?