Posted by: emjb | December 3, 2005

The healening, or not, of it all

First; new baby pictures.

I feel more and more myself these days, with bad moments; whereas before it was Mostly Bad with occasional good moments. This is to be preferred.

It’s a Friday night, which my brain takes as permission to let me not stress out about sleeping or not, so I’m awake at near-midnight while Nathan takes his first nap of the evening. When he wakes we’ll go watch some bad cable tv in the huge recliner in the living room and have a bottle.

I love the way he sleeps with his arms flung above his head, an anti-swaddling activist from the getgo. I love his little sighs in his sleep, that sound like soft wordless questions: “aaah? aaah? huh? ahh.” Of course on bad nights, those little sighs make me even more wakeful. But that’s not his fault. He makes the same sounds when he eats, and I like to think they mean he’s happy. It’s as close as he gets to talking yet. I can’t wait till he’s talking. I am so eager to see him develop his personality. I want him to be old enough to get stories read to him and be able to enjoy it. I want to walk down the sidewalk while he holds my hand.

Like I said, I still have Bad moments. I still have panics where I think of running away. And yeah, if it gets dark enough, I start to understand a little too much about why people end it all. If you believe those kinds of feelings might stay with you forever, and never leave, death starts to look like an escape. I don’t follow that path, even on my worst days, you understand, but I can sometimes see why others do.

I am better, in all the practical senses of the word, physically and mentally. I am not the same, though. I know birth always transforms you; it was, ironically, one of the things that made me want to give birth and raise a child. It just didn’t occur to me that that transformation would be such an ordeal. What pain I have left mostly comes from that knowledge, that Nathan’s birth was also a death in many ways of parts of myself, or of how I saw myself. It’s a little as if he had been a twin, and the other twin died. Maybe. I’m not sure if that’s a good analogy. But as much as I celebrate him, and know his entry into the world is a good thing, there’s all this grief associated with it too, and I regret that. I’d rather just feel the happiness of having him without all the sorrow. I would like to be able to tell him his birth story without having to tell him why it makes me sad, but that isn’t possible. I will have to tell him how wanted and loved he is, but also that some sad and scary things happened when he was born that weren’t his fault.

It’s hard to hold those two emotions together inside; the joy and the sadness. They are so close together when I think about him that one segues into the other.

I sometimes wonder if that’s why he has such a serious expression so often, if he doesn’t sense some of what I feel when I hold him. He looks at me so intently with his dark blue eyes. I hope I’m not worrying him. He’s too young to do much smiling yet; I want him to do a lot of smiling in his life, no matter what my memories may be. I’m grateful they aren’t his memories too.

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Responses

  1. He’s gorgeous. Those cheeks!

    My baby made these little bird-like noises at first — “eh-eh, eh-eh.” Within a couple of weeks he moved on to different noises, and I got all teary about the fact that he was already changing. Eventually the huge tub of sloshing hormones I was bobbing in started to drain and I became (relatively) sane again.

    I know what you mean about the seriousness. I was (and am) worried about passing my depressive tendencies on to my son, and the fact that he was a worried-looking infant and a late smiler made me even more concerned. Man, was I glad to see that first real smile. He is still a very intense kid, not happy-go-lucky AT ALL, and I feel a bit guilty about that, but more because I think he inherited it from me than that he’s picking it up from me, since I’m doing well in that department at present.

    Clearly babies evolved to be outrageously resilient (and clueless) at the beginning of life, because no matter how it goes down, birth and early infancy have to be an incredible shock to their systems, after the simplicity of the womb.

    Did you get a new car?

  2. No new car yet, they told me to wait until some new rebates came in on Tuesday. We’ll see; I don’t go back to NY until next Saturday, so it gives me time to shop around.


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