It’s been seven weeks since I crossed over to Mother and I’ve felt every minute of it—even the ones I might’ve had an eye closed. For months and months I studied books and articles, I dreamt and imagined the future, I conjectured and dialogued in every direction I could—I researched the fuck outta pregnancy and birth. Finally, fifty days ago, biology pulled the trigger and made me a flesh and blood, “this is not a drill” Mother responsible for another life.
Responsible 24/7, all shifts, all the time.
It has been seven weeks of being inside my house in an effort to protect Dotty from germs and the flu and figure out what the hell I'm doing. New Mom hypervigilance has kicked into gear and tells me this is the right thing to do. In these confined times I’ve been given the chance to learn my little girl’s insides and outs. Literally. I pick at her skin like a monkey. I clip her tiny nails. I decipher her cries, I soothe her, I entertain her. I pump, I breastfeed, I massage, I ooze and I leak. I’ve developed a single titty system of sustenance—one for nursing, one for pumping....and leftover nursing. I guess piercing your nipples three times before 20 years old makes 'em a bit of a crapshoot for breastfeeding. We bathe, we dance, and I sing so she’ll crap her pants. We go from nuance to panic in a few hours and even consider the possibility she’s already cutting teeth. (A trip to the Ped snuffed out that worrisome thought) I stare at her at all times. I take one billion photos of her and then as I’m staring at her, flip through the photos of her so I can stare at them too. I marvel in her alertness and wonder. I marvel in everything... We go from being worried she’s sharting in every diaper to not sharting at all.
Here is an actual internal (that was probably half external) dialogue I’ve had multiple times over multiple things the last fifty days—this one happens to be shart related:
”This diaper is too clean. It’s been two hours. Why isn’t there more in this diaper? Why isn’t my baby sharting anymore??? How’s her sphincter control?? Is she ok? Constipated? How’s the color of her poop? How's the color of her poop been the last four poops? How’s the texture? The odor? What’s the quality of her bowel movements? Does she seem relieved? Is there more? Do I change her or wait? Did she empty both boobs? Is she too full to shit more? Is that even possible? I’ll google it.”
This has been my life for seven weeks...now, imagine this...this...lovingly strung-out Mom reentering society for a few hours, expected to converse and socialize.
Like Wednesday Addams.
Like a soul sucked Dark Crystal Podling.
Like I haven’t slept more than four hours in any twenty-four period.
Like I’m drunk on baby and meth’d out on Motherhood.
I have nothing to say that’s remotely relatable to the non-Mom population right now.
I can’t even relate to my best friends. The only thing on my mind is the stinging of my nipples, the load of laundry still in the washer, and the fifty-five things I need to do while I have both my hands free. I don’t drink, I don’t go out, haven’t seen any movies, certainly haven’t met anyone—I’m a blank face of unamusing. Sure, I can listen, but I have nothing to add to the conversation...unless my social audience wants to hear about milk ducts and baby bouncers.
How do I articulate the changes?
That I went from being literally unable to hold my pee to only holding my pee cuz I’m in baby jail.
That the pooping alone days are over.
That a half glass of wine is not worth the sweat.
That I sleep sitting up.
That my feet are even more neglected than they were nine months pregnant.
That I’ve forgotten deodorant for at least a week.
That I love being alone with my child.
That I think about having more children.
That I don’t miss life before.
That I’m happy and complete in her company.
That how I look is secondary to her comfort.
That the weight I’ve gained only matters when I’m gearing up to leave my house.
I went to a play today and the notion of having to talk to people shrouded over every syllable I barfed out actually talking to people.
I’m even more awkward now and the Prozac isn’t hiding it anymore.
Mallory Kate is a blogger, artist, single mom and funny girl outta Nevada.