Some postpartum philosophising..

I will get to Labour Day. Part 3. I will. Soon. I just can’t believe that this all happened a week ago today. A week ago she was still inside of me, I did not know what she looked like, I didn’t even know her name and now I can’t imagine life without her.  This baby I had so much trouble believing was actually coming.  Throughout my pregnancy, right through labour, up until the moment I felt her warm slippery little body, I just could not get a grasp on the reality that was her.  And now she is the focus of our reality.
The hormones have been predictably rollercoaster-ish. I am on the verge of tears for no clear reason a good chunk of the time, and then laughing in pure delight over something adorable one of my children has done or said. I am struck with wonder and awe at the slow but sure unfurling of dark eyelashes and the appearance of downy eyebrows in one moment.  In the next, I am in utter despair over the passage of time, and my inability to keep my baby teeny tiny, so effortlessly lifted to my lips for kissing, fitting into the crook of my arm so perfectly, snuggled under her daddy’s chin so cozily, oblivious to anything bad or sad in the world. 
Today I had a small panic attack when I walked past the fish bowl. The fish seemed lackluster, it is an old fish. I am afraid he will be going to the happy hunting grounds soon. I have a phobia of finding a fish floating at the top of the bowl. I have a phobia of discovering any living creature dead actually.  I’m sure I’m not alone in this.
Then,  I walked past the beautiful tulips our friends Joan and Chuck let the kids pick out when they came to meet their sister. They are wilting.  I hyperventilated. The fish is dying, the flowers are wilting, the baby is almost a week old!  Time! I can’t fight it! I sat on the couch in a fetal position.  Aaron was flipping through channels. A really perky Australian guy on the weather channel was promoting a show.  He was under a clear blue sky, surrounded by rugged mountains.  “What a privilege it is to be on this planet!” he bellowed as only a perky Australian can. “But we are here for such a short time! We must enjoy every moment! Get up off the couch and enjoy your life!”  Nothing like having a newborn to show you how true this is. How fast and eventful one week, one day, one moment can be. And so I got up and took a shower.   I put on pants with a zipper.  I tried to ignore the size of the pants with a zipper, and just focus on the zipper part. And then I breathed in the moment.
We can’t fight time, this is true. But we can choose to savour every moment. Hormones willing…hormones do create a challenge in this regard at times. I’m not going to try  to pretend it is always mind over matter. I am trying though.  To focus on the joy of what the future will bring and the little perks that come with time passing. Like breastfeeding not hurting as much as it does now. That will be nice.
I have a recurring nightmare the last few nights. I am in a play but I can’t find my script. I know that I know the lines, but I have forgotten how it starts, if I could just get a glimpse of my script and quickly reread it, if I could just see how it starts…..I would be able to do my part.
I’m pretty sure I can interpret this dream. It doesn’t exactly take Freud. I am not sure what my life  is supposed to look like now. It has been so long since I did life with a newborn. For the last week my husband has been here catering to my needs and the needs of our other kids who are actually remarkably self sufficient but still….they are kids. I am the food source and not much else.  It’s been great.  Tomorrow, (Happy Birthday Aaron!),  he goes back to work.
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Tomorrow I will be called upon to be a functional mother of five, and I can’t find my script! I am going onto the stage cold. I would not say it is terrifying, since I have a very forgiving and helpful audience. I’ve been in this position before with a much needier audience, but that was a long time ago and so it is bewildering. The hormones don’t help.  I remember after I had Benjamin, wailing to my mom that I felt like “a stranger in a strange land”.  I knew how I fit into the world when my role was that of happily expectant mother. I had my routines, my people-they were centered around me being pregnant. A pregnant, working, full-time student. And now I was no longer an expectant mother. I was a mother. I was no longer working or a student.  I no longer went to prenatal exercise classes. I did not know where I fit into the world.  Since I am already a mother this time, I don’t have quite that same sense of adjustment, but I do find that my world has shifted dramatically. I had a lot of freedom a week ago with all my kids in school.  In some ways it was reminiscent of when I did not have kids at all.  I can’t do the things I did last week at about this time though. I can’t go to the gym, or hop in my car on the spur of the moment, and run errands, I can’t throw myself into a cleaning or painting project for hours at any time of the day or night,  I can’t just go wherever I want, whenever I want with my husband, I can’t go and volunteer at my kids’ school.  Life is so different than it was last week.  It’s a whole new play.
I’m not complaining. It’s not bad. It’s amazing and wonderful in so many ways. There is a part of me that is excited to rediscover what that play is all about. It’s just so different and I guess I find different scarier and more confusing than I realized or have been willing to admit to myself.  Or the hormones are making it feel that way…
If I could just find my script…

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Kate said...

Awwww <3 This is so well-written and I love the pics in the sunlight. Time does go so fast. Thanks for the reminder :) Maybe it's an improv play and you can write your own script. You'll be great!

Jules said...

No script, darlin', but you are so amazing at improv. Just remember that and it will all be ok.

I'm loving all the pictures. She reminds me so much of Kate at that age, but maybe it's just because Kate is so obsessed of seeing pictures of her. And now my baby is all of 12. It goes so fast, and so slow - but of course you know that. Much love to you as you go through the newest journey.

leah said...

Oh I hear ya. And on a side note, I'm living vicariously through you. I tell ya, she has my heart, and I... I... she... has no reason to, really. I hope you pick up what I'm laying down. ;) Easy to love! If I could just find my script - Hahah! :)

Brittany said...

I think I'm having anxiety for you....I'm remembering what it felt like the day Nick had to return to work. It's so awful that they have to do that sometimes. I used to think when you got married you got to be together forever (all the time). But this is not so. Bummer.

But you'll enjoy it, because you're Kirsty and you're so much better at finding happiness and enjoyment and the positive in your surroundings and your experiences.

I'll be thinking of you! Stop by if you want. On second thought, don't. We're sick.

Happy Birthday Aaron!

Jenny said...

Oh, you're going to make it... the lines will come to you. You know the script, you just haven't rehearsed in awhile. :)

Such a jolt isn't it? Life with a newborn? But you know how quickly it goes by... so very quickly.

Mr. Anderson said...

Awww man, I feel it all over again!!! Wow.

~ Keara said...

So beautifully put. So true. I remember feeling that panic at the passage of time with Lucas. It was if I was able to literally see the time passing by, as if I were standing still and it was rushing by all around me. Lucas was doing new things each day and I felt sick at not being able to remember each and every moment in vivid technicolor detail. And yet the worrying was robbing me of living life and so my mother's beautiful advice to basically get on with it, put down the parenting books and go with my mothering instincts calmed me down greatly.

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain! You have articulated it sooo well! That is absolutely what I used to experience. I only came right when I could get into a routine like before I had the baby.

Tooje said...

Gosh, how I miss reading your posts. I NEED TO GET MY COMPUTER FIXED. Ugh.

Time. Yes. Indeed.

Hormones too. And infants. Please.

I cannot wait to catch up with your posts. In the meantime...please accept my belated congrats. She is absolutely gorgeous. What a wonderful life. :)

Kate said...

I just loved this post. It was so honest and well written. I don't have 5 kids, but I felt like I could relate. You are an awesome, amazing, sweet person, and I really truly enjoy reading this blog! It's one of my favorites in my reader.