I’m on the watch for it because according to the cloying commercials, depression hurts everyone. I went for a check-up yesterday with my OBGYN. He is such a gentle warm man. With my feet on the floor and my bare ass on the papered table, he asked how I was doing. Looked into my eyes and waited. And I couldn’t speak. I just started to cry. The nurse handed me a fist of tissues. “Well maybe we should do something about that, what do you think?” he asked. The thing is, I explained, I’m not like this every day. Some days are good. I get up, run errands, surf for children’s books and clothes and nursery decorations. I cooked a fucking rockstar lamb stew with cinnamon and parsnips just the other day. “It would just be easier if they were home with me.” And that’s when I realized I was full of shit.
Every new mother finds a reason to get depressed. Every new mother feels like a failure at some point. Every new mother, somewhere deep inside, wonders if she’s doing it right and if someone else could do it better. Someone else would know how to stifle their cries. I worry Phil will think I suck. I worry the beans don’t know me or need me. I worry because Lucas looks like a complete stranger to me. He doesn’t look like mine. I worry I won’t spoil them enough. And I’m so fucking lazy. I don’t want to visit them at the hospital some days. When I was iced in, I was relieved. I didn’t want to walk through the hallways. And I cried in bed because I was a selfish horrible mother. I don’t deserve them.
I cried to my father. He made me feel better. It felt good to admit how I felt aloud, to someone who wouldn’t judge me for it. Phil went to the hospital without me, bringing home new photos (I reminded him to please take the camera), and when I saw their new expressions, they looked like someone else’s children. I couldn’t tell who they were, and it makes me feel like a stranger, not a mother. Those babies are supposed to need me, their mother, but they don’t when they’re being so well tended after by a team of professionals. I know, I know, “I’m there and they can feel it and sense my love.” But really, I don’t believe that. Either way, I will continue to hold and love them, every day. But I’ll do that mostly because that’s what a good mother does. It’s what I should do. But most of the time, I don’t want to. Until I do.
Once I’m with them, holding them, I’m in love again. And I cry to them and sing and talk to them as if they’re my sweet bean Linus. But when I’m alone in my bedroom with Linus sniffing at my nipples through my t-shirt, I feel like nothing has changed. It’s still me and the bean, only now we’re waiting for the kids to come home. And once they do come home, Linus will have to go (he has a history of biting people–and not strangers, people he dearly loves, like my sister, and Phil. And even if Cesar Millan came to our rescue, I’d still fear just one slip up). And this just breaks my heart. Linus has been through everything with me. Pregnancies, dates, boyfriends, Hamptons, tears, drunken nights, marriages, an engagement, divorce, broken hearts, falling in love. I’ve slept with Linus nearly every night of his life, in all the beds of my life. With my ex-husband, with Oliver, alone on my own, in Phil’s bed, and now in our bed. But he has to go, mostly because I’d be far too stressed out with him here, terrified he’d go after one of their toys and snap at one of them. Take out an eye. Disfigure one of their faces. You can’t undo that kind of thing. Even if he changed and became their protector, a part of me would always fear just one slip. I can’t live like that.
He’s used to spooning with me, taking up a third of our bed, a half some of the time. And it’s all my fault for raising him like my child instead of my dog. He’s my little lover dog and deserves piles of affection and love (and exercise and dominance) the kind I can’t continue to give between the pumping and the two babies in bed. And even with a muzzle, it won’t stop him from racing and bounding into the bed, perhaps crushing one of the babies. We’ve read the books on how to introduce your dog to babies. We’ve brought home their worn clothing. That’s not the problem. Lea, thank God, loves him just as much as I do. And she cannot wait to love him in Montana. “Dude, I’m totally going to put him in a doggie ski suit, with goggles, and pull him on a sled.” And I laugh until I snort, which is what happens with Lea. At least he’ll be with her. But still. He’s my real baby.
I have the baby blues, not a full on case of PP depression. “You’re allowed to feel sad once in a while, as long as it’s not every day, which wouldn’t be fair to you, to the babies, or to Phil.” And I’m not sad every day, but when I am, I AM. Mostly I think Phil deserves someone better, someone thinner, someone who fits into her own fat clothes. And all that thinking is a product of crapass self-esteem and assbackwards hormones. Exercise will help. I’ve at least been eating healthfully the past three days, which feels like a start. And when I read these words, I want to smack myself. “YOU SOUND LIKE SUCH A KNUCKLEHEAD!” I am rockstar and loving and passionate, and quite frankly, he’s damn lucky to have me in his life. But the small girl inside looks up to him and thinks, “how can you love me, when I can’t stand myself?” This isn’t the kind of thing I want to discuss with friends. It’s the kind of thing you keep to yourself, or to your blog.
So now we’re (my boobs and I) keeping an eye on it , my depression, making sure the good days still outnumber the bad. And if that changes, I’ll make some.