Sometime in the early months of Little Man’s life I stumbled across one of Fowl Language Comics parenting gems. I felt like I was literally dying just to keep this tiny human alive, and I loved him, desperately, but he was usually unhappy with me and saved his adoration for when Daddy was around. Since I was failing miserably at parenting his brothers and Daddy travels a lot, I had put all my hopes for [whatever human connection I thought would heal me] into this little person who saw me as nothing more than a food source. I texted the comic to my husband who thought it mildly amusing. I wanted to scream at him through the screen. Don’t you see? I’m dying here and he hates me. [Everyone hates me.] Why can’t he love me?
I didn’t actually scream, of course, that would have awoken the cries once more. Besides, this isn’t my first rodeo. I know that the thoughts I have in the year following childbirth can veer far from reality. I know what it is to think these are not normal thoughts but accepting the abnormality doesn’t change the thoughts. It just allows me to give them space but also give them boundaries. This isn’t permanent but right now I am totally alone.
I keep them to myself. Sharing them would be like taking a Picasso to a NeoClassical exhibit or preparing a 12-tone Schoenberg for a Mozart concert. Besides, I don’t know how to make space for my crazy in other people’s lives. Frankly I don’t even know how to make space for my normal in other people’s lives.
But we are supposed to talk about these things to end the stigma or whatever. So here I am. I won’t link this anywhere, I will never bring it up in conversation even though when I’m feeling off I secretly, desperately want someone to notice and to care for me. Acknowledgement is a powerful balm. And if the two of you who actually read this dusty old blog ever text or email or otherwise ask me about it I will probably minimize it and change the subject because that’s what I do. But after everything we go through to grow and birth another person, and then try to keep that human alive while neglecting everything that keeps you alive, it’s understandable that we often don’t have normal thoughts. And that’s okay. We need space for that, we’ve been through a lot. And someday we will come out the other side more compassionate toward each other, and we will have discovered along the way that our little ones do love us after all.
(The problem is that we don’t all make it through and while my abnormal thoughts have never taken me there, I can see how it can happen and my heart breaks for those who have visited the dark place, and for their loved ones left behind.)