Tania's Words

here is an empty shell- a resonant shadow- waiting

Archive for Motherhood

On Postpardum Depression

You might have noticed that I’ve been absent for a while.  It started with my pregnancy; morning sickness wrecks havoc on the best laid plans, always. Then I had my son and was understandably tired.

But it’s more than that.

When my first son was born, I felt the most incredible rush of emotions. It’s hard to describe, the sense that suddenly everything is right. That you are exactly where you need to be. To understand finally, the depth and width of capacity for love that a human can experience.  The moment I heard Parker cry for the first time was the most profound experience of my life.

I worried constantly through my second pregnancy. How would I be able to love another person the way I loved Parker? Was I capable? I wondered if it would feel like dividing my love and grieved the idea that I might have to give up even an ounce of love I felt for Parker.  But I was reassured by other mothers. My best friend described it by explaining that it wasn’t about dividing your heart. Instead, she said, it felt like you grew a whole new heart for each child.

That sounded amazing.  I was signed up, I bought into it, I’d drunk the Kool-Aid.

Instead, the moment I heard Lucas crying I thought, I’m tired.

I tried to breast feed and felt nothing but crippling anxiety.

Our first day home from the hospital I stood, petrified in our family room, crying. Trying to assure my very worried husband that I was okay, but something was wrong. I was wrong. Everything felt off.

Where was that rush of love, that incredible feeling? That instant bond and the knowledge that this was what I was meant to do, who I was meant to be. Having Parker felt like finally finding my calling, motherhood fitting over me like a second skin. Only with Lucas it was like the skin was torn and shrunken, it’s warped weave making me vulnerable. And empty.

It’s been 9 months since I’ve had Lucas and for the first time, this week I was able to say, I have Postpardum Depression.

So I hope you don’t mind, because that is what this blog is going to be about for the time being.  Because we hear about it, we know about it. Moms say they’ve had it, but the reality of this kind of depression is like a dirty little secret. And no one wants to be the woman to admit, I feel nothing for my children. I know I love them, deep inside, somewhere I can’t feel it.  What kind of mother feels that way?

This one.

Post Baby Madness

Seems like everyone I know is having a baby right now. Dan’s cousin and my good friend who both blog had their daughters last Tuesday and already they are blogging. Granted, they blogged their whole pregnancies….and I did not.  But I still felt compelled to blog just so that I would not feel lazy.

First the great news, which is that on Wednesday April 27th, Lucas Xavier made his debut at 10:07 in the morning! He weighed in at a tiny 6 lbs 9 oz, and is absolutely perfect! Although I was and still am disapointed that I had to have another c section, this time the experience was much better. A very nice nurse held up a mirror so I actually got to see when he came out, and it was a lot less scary! I was also not as worn out and had a better reaction to the spinal- no shaking! Getting the spinal in was another story (according to the anesthesiologist, I have a very athletic back…since I’ve never been accused of having an athletic anything, I’ll take it!), but overall it was as positive an experience as I could hope for!

I think it was really good for Dan too. He remarked that it was a much more emotional experience than Parker’s birth, mostly because he was so scared and everything was such a whirlwind with the decision to do a c-section with him. Without that fear, he and I were able to focus more on the actual reality and experience of Lucas’ birth (ok, help me out here, I should know this but how do I do that in a grammatically correct way?)

We’ve been home for almost a week now, and so far things are fantastic. Lucas is so far an angel baby, very mellow and easy to please. He is fussy at night, but as long as he is with me he is pretty easy to calm down. Easy enough that I don’t mind being up at night with him. And and added plus is that he occasionally will latch on, so I am able to combo breast feed and bottle feed, which I didn’t think I’d be able to do, since Parker would not latch at all.

Parker has been a wonderful big brother so far. He likes the baby and he is interested, but not too jealous. He is very attached to Daddy right now, which is good but hard for me to see. I am used to him being my little guy. Dan says that Parker knows I am hurt and that I need time to heal.  It is nice having Dan home for the next few weeks, but I am anxious about what is to come when he goes back to work!  Anxiety has been the watch word in this postpartum time for me.  I am also struggling with feeling lazy when I know that realistically I need time to heal and to rest, but it is hard to depend on Dan for everything and not to be up and about doing things!!

Right now, I am feeling pressure to get organized and have a plan for when Dan goes home. I’d like to research making baby food for Lucas this time around. I also would like to form some sort of plan to get Parker to eat more than one meal a day!  Organization has never been my strength, so we will see how this goes!

Potty time!

So many things to talk about. Life has been an absolute whirlwind of random stuff. First, Parker started “school”. Really, he is at a preschool/daycare. He only goes for about 6 hours a week, just on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The decision to send him kind of came to me all at once. Dan and I had already talked about sending Parker to preschool in the fall, the 3 year group. He’s a bright kid, and I think that the social interaction will be good for him, as well as some independence from Mommy, as he has been super attached. Once I realized that we wanted to send him to school, I had to think about the fact that we have a new baby coming. I was concerned that if we sent Parker after the baby comes, he’ll feel like we’ve banished him, or somehow link the two events together.

And so the search was on! Really it was the worlds shortest search, as we ended up putting him in a daycare that my two best friends had used. Once we’d picked the place, there was no reason not to go ahead with it, and so in three short days, I was dropping Parker off for his first day. I struggled with feelings of guilt, and worry. I felt guilty for sending him away, even though I knew I was doing it for all the right reasons- for him. Because I believe that it is important for kids to socialize and to become independent. Although he cried when we dropped him off, he stopped almost right away. Yes, I called to check, and was gratified and proud to hear that he was fitting right in and enjoying himself. By his second day, he didn’t want to leave when I came to pick him up.

Now that Parker is in school, Dan and I decided it was time to potty train. I know, we must be gluttons for punishment! Before we took him to school, I had asked Parker if he wanted to go, and he’d gotten very excited and said yes. So I told him that if he went to big boy school, he’d have to learn to go on the potty like a big boy. Ms. Rose (his teacher), said that it would be a good time as well, since he adjusted well to school and he is around lots of other kids who are learning to go potty as well. So starting Friday morning, potty bootcamp started.

From the get go, it was rough. I had a lot of doubts about whether or not we were doing the right thing, and the right way.  Parker got a new duck potty that sings when he makes it into the potty. The first day of boot camp he was put into big boy undies right away and we had a duck alarm sounding ever 15 minutes, and when it went off he’d have to sit on the potty. There was a lot of resistance, tears, and assorted meltdowns that first day. Sometimes being a parent is so rough, you never know if you are doing the right thing for your kid, or if you are just scarring them for life! But the second day went better, and twice he asked to go when he needed to. The big breakthrough was during dinner when he asked to go cause he had to go #2, and he did it! Any parent out there who has been through potty training knows that that is a huge success! Dan and I were so proud of him, and he got a cool prize which he loves, a dollar store fishing pole with magnetic fishies to catch. It is his favourite toy right now!

And of course, last but not least, I threw my back into spasm again last night. I am so tired of this, I cannot wait to be done with pregnancy. I’ve been in bed all day, listening to Parker and Dan downstairs feeling lonely, useless, and completely lame. I hate depending on Dan to do everything for me, I hate not being a part of Parker’s day and all of his successes with the potty, and I really hate not knowing when I am going to feel better and not have to depend on others to help me with Parker and everyday stuff.

With all this stuff going on, I’ve not been finding time to work on editing the book. We recently refinanced our house, have been shopping for new insurance, and I’ve been very busy trying to find new teams for Relay for Life, drum up sponsorship, and somehow, find time to fund raise for my own team. I am hoping that things will settle down a bit in the next week, and that before the baby comes I’ll get some solid work done on the novel. Here’s hoping right?

On a slightly more creative note, while I haven’t had a chance to write, I have been reading 100 years of Solitude, which I am really enjoying this time around. This is my second try reading it and it is going much better. My biggest issue is that the book features a huge cast of characters who all have the same name or a slightly different names. Oy. I also recently read Water for Elephants, which was AMAZING. I recommend it highly. Highly.

Reflecting, reliving, relearning.

Well it is a new year again, and here I am again, wondering what the heck happened. You may or may not know (or care) but I have never been a particular fan of New Years, or of resolutions. In fact, New Years Eve found me in bed by 9:45, wishing I’d gone to bed an hour earlier.

Ok, so that was probably 78% baby and 22% Tania, but still. I have never really cared for the whole, new start, ball dropping, counting down fiasco that is New Years Eve. I do enjoy a nice get together, when I have a baby sitter and am not pregnant. Next year…yeah!

Since I am not a fan, it would follow that I have no resolutions, and I don’t.

I’d like to resolve to blog more, but with a baby coming in April, this doesn’t seem realistic.  No new baby this year and I didn’t even do that.

I’d like to resolve to lose weight, but again, that won’t be a possibility until April. And even then, I know I’ll do it. I always do. I may not have lost all 70 Parker pounds, but I lost a good 65 of them…it just took two years 😉

I’d like to be more organized, more scheduled, to conquer the constant struggle that is getting my toddler to eat…but those are daily desires; they don’t change just because one day marks the end of an arbitrary time period and another starts.

And, I’ll be honest, I could go on and on. But I am so hungry, it is hard to concentrate. So I’ll move on. Both to a snack and a new topic.

I once read that Stephanie Meyers got the idea for her Twilight novels from a dream- she dreamt (is that even a word?) of the meadow scene from the first book (I believe). I was a bit irked when I read this, as I’d already had my own amazing vampire dream years before- honest, it was an incredible dream, the kind that stays with you for days and really resonates with you. Unfortunately for me, Stephanie Meyers proved to be more motivated than I. This is why I am freaking out about a $500 plumbing bill and she is probably counting her cashes and laughing.

Good news, kids! I had another dream. And no it was not about vampires. I doubt I would have what it takes to write a good vampire story anyway, and who would want to? Everyone and their mother are jumping on that one already. I’ll stick to what I know…nice middle of the road women’s fiction. Thrill a minute people.

Sorry, self deprecating moment has passed…I think….ok.

Anyway, I had the most amazing dream…in fact my sister woke me from it (Thanks Pilar). I can’t begin to describe it- I think I need to write it first on my own privately, so that I can remember it more clearly.  The really great news is that I believe this is my NaNo story for this year. It’s only January, so I might be jumping the gun, but I’m pretty psyched. I’m not the kind of person who is flooded with novel ideas…I generally only get about one a year, and use NaNo as an excuse to make it happen. Mostly cause I love a deadline, and my husband respects the one month time limit and is very supportive during that time (Well he is anyway, but during NaNo he helps me out with the house and the baby quite a bit so I can get it done).

My only tiny, insignificant little caveat here is the story of what happened to me during NaNo this year. I’d come up with my story in July, and for the entire month I was obsessed with it. I ate, breathed, dreamed that story. But I refused to write it, saving it for November. Of course, by the time November finally rolled around, the fervor had passed. I got it done, but I don’t know that the story is as good or the same as it would have been, had I written it when I was really in it. I don’t want a repeat of that this year, but at the same time, I have to trust that I can do this, and that I need more than the frenzy of sudden inspiration to create. I have a kid, and another on the way. I have a house to care for and my niece (for now) to watch.  I’m not always going to have the luxury of time whenever I want to write.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I need to trust my skill as a writer and know that I can craft a good story, even in the moments when I don’t feel absolutely struck by inspiration. If I can’t, then there isn’t really a point is there? Because editing is so much slower, more precise, and so much less about the initial lighting strike moment in which the story comes out. And this is the skill I am trying to hone and to strengthen; I am great at banging it out during NaNo, not so great at working on it consistently. And all that mumbo jumbo about trusting my skill as a writer…that’s all talk. But I am working on it. Right now I am at the stage where I am still to embarrassed to tell people that I consider myself a writer, or to tell people what my books are about. Not a great way to sell yourself. If I should ever get to the query stage (which I hope to, but that means I have to get back on the editing wagon), I’ll probably want to do it will a little more confidence than….well it’s a story about a girl…it’s dumb really, you won’t like it…

So, at the end of the day, what I’d really like to see from the New Year is this. A little more confidence, a new book in november, and the will to keep editing. And I need to find a crit group. Anyone know how I can do that?

I fall off the wagon, I get on…

Oh the circle of life. How it turns.

Ok so that makes no sense, but hey, Parker and I watched the Lion King (again) this morning, so I have it on the brain. Now we are watching Finding Nemo. Poor guy inherited my immune system. Which is to say he got nothing good. Thank goodness he got the de Sostoa hair, or I’d be feeling pretty guilt, especially as he’s coughing up a little lung right now.

So, I am back. Morning sickness is over, NaNo has been defeated yet again. I made it in the nick of time- I was only 4,000 words short at about November 21st, and then for some reason I stopped writing and just…stopped. It might have had something to do with the death cold I’d contracted, but details, shetails. Finally, November 29th, I camped on Maura’s couch, cementing my bony butt into her cushions,  and declared I would not leave until I was done. Unfortunately, her family expired before I got to the goal, and at 9pm, I left, with only 500 words to go. Motivation being my middle name by this point, I settled on my own couch and made it work (A la Tim Gunn, of course).

I won’t pretend this book is anything as good as I’d hoped, or even really somewhat like my vision going in, but that is what NaNo does to you. It makes a mockery of all your carefully laid plans, spits on your hopes and dreams; and just at the moment when you are curled in the fetal position, quivering and crying for your mother, shows you the light. Did that make any sense?

Ok, it is obvious NaNo has sucked the life and intelligence out of me at this point. I am mostly here to update you all, get back into the swing of blogging, and talk about the future.

I’d intended to keep track of all the books I read this year…which I did for about half the year. I have no idea when I stopped really, so I can’t even guess what I am missing. Which is a good thing, actually, since I haven’t read a single thing of substance in months. I don’t know why, but I guess I just decided to read easy stuff and skate along for a while. I never read Dangerous Liasons, and now I really would like to get that done, if only that, by the end of the year.

I’d like to set a timetable for editing and querying for the first book, and get back to reading SRP books with Maura. I think those will be on my mind for next year. I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions, as a rule, but I would like to start the year with a plan. Of course, several things will be getting in the way of that plan….Relay for Life, having a baby. You know, the usual.  For now, other than reading Dangerous Liasons, my number one task is to pick a name for little baby boy. Any suggestions?

Tale of a disappearing blogger

Yes, I am once again guilty of disappearing. I realize this is a weakness of mine- I am terrible at making a routine committment to my blog. If I swore I have a good excuse, would you forgive me just this once? Cause, I promise, this time I really do have a good reason.

Morning sickness.

That’s right, morning sickness. Lucky for me, I’ve never been the throwing up type of girl. Usually, this is awesome.  Not so much this time. I cannot swear that this is accurate, but from what I hear from other friend, when suffering from morning sickness, once you throw up, you feel better. Until the next round of course. Not so much for me. Since I never throw up, there was a good two month period where I just never felt better. Unless I was lying down with my eyes closed, a little jar of pickled ginger close at hand.

I’ll acknowledge that I am a total pansy.  There is something about constant nausea and dry heaving that completely interrupts my life, ability to think clearly, be productive, and get anything done. Rest assured, this blog is not the only think in my life that fell by the wayside. Laundry, clean kitchen, dusted rooms and shelves, all a thing of the past.

As I am officially past week 12, I felt safer in finally letting the cat out of the bag.  I am slowly trying to get control of my life again, starting today with the huge mountain of laundry which has been multiplying in my basement. I haven’t edited a word of the novel in over two months, and NaNo is just two weeks away. My best friend Jenney is arriving in less than a week for a nice visit, so things are bound to get hectic, and I’d like to be on top of the ball, rather than smushed under it.  If step one was starting the wash machine, step two is this blog post.

We shall see what the coming months bring, to this blog and my life. I still have my niece and my son to take care of during the days- he’s just two and she’s only 1.5. They bring me so much joy, but many a challenge as well! Getting ready for the next little one, keeping true to my commitments as Relay for Life Vice Chair, and making sure my family is happy and healthy, all the while continuing my journey as a writer…this is gonna be fun!

In which she’d like to garden more.

Oh man, where to even begin.  Long absences should signal an incredibly busy and productive life. Unfortunately for me, they haven’t.  I have been feeling completely bamboozled and overwhelmed by my own life lately. Partly I think it had to do with the fact that I am now watching my ten month old niece Paige. Partly I know that my health has been a factor, as well as the fact that both Paige and Parker have been sick off and on for the last three weeks. But for some reason, I am just so behind and frustrated. It seems that every week I have a million things to do and none of them get done. By the time the weekend rolls around, I am already exhausted, and although I look forward to the weekend with just Parker as time to catch up on the housework and such, there is always something else going on. Relay for Life stuff, family stuff, stuff in general.

Saturday, I sat down with Maura and tried to figure out what I had done all week that my house was such a mess, my laundry was undone for the second week in a row, and my floors were filthy. I had no idea. By the time Saturday night rolled around, I was so overwhelmed I was crying all over poor Dan’s shoulder, feeling like a complete failure at life, motherhood, everything.

A tad over dramatic, yes. But there it was. I woke up on Sunday feeling marginally better. I had a wonderful Mother’s Day, which helped settle me down. That and the realization that I cannot beat myself up by comparing myself to other women, other mothers and other families. I tend to look at my sister and Maura, who are super organized, very efficient, wonderful women. I might be wonderful (you’d have to ask Dan), but I am not organized or efficient. It is hard to see women like these, who work, have kids and husbands, and their houses (no matter what they tell you) are always clean, organized.  Maura works out regularly, Pilar makes all of Paige’s food from scratch with all organic materials. I don’t ever want to work out any more because on my list of forty things to do, it is last. I never even considered making Parker’s food from scratch. Heck, most days I still have no idea what to feed him.

I am sure there must be some things I am doing right, but lately, it doesn’t feel like it. And the worst part is that when I feel like I have no time to do the things I must,  I know I must give up the things I really want. I’d love to be playing in the garden, and I wanted to plant a veggie garden this year. No time. I’d like to get back to working out, but honestly, I don’t have the energy right now.  I’d really like to be blogging more, working on my book, being active on my writer’s and readers page. But right now, there is dinner to cook, a porch to paint, hours of laundry to be done, and underneath the everyday mess, my house is dirty.

Well, at least I started the day with a massive to do list, and am trying to cross things off of it. I am hoping it will keep me focused and organized, if not forever, then at least for the week. As a reward, I also made a wish list of plants for the garden that I want to plant. Hopefully I will get this list done by the end of the week, and if I do, I’ll get myself some plants, and find a magical hour or two in which to plant them.