Tuesday, June 18, 2013

i always have a reason to be on edge


Here is the number one thing I've learned about parenting so far:

It's harder to take care of the things you took care of pre-baby. But it's also just as important as the new job of keeping a baby alive.

Going to the store is harder, but I need fresh foods. Conversations with The Foliage are interrupted, so we have to force ourselves to ignore her for a little while and finish talking. When she (invariably) cried while I'm mid-workout, I have to keep going. It's important to stay healthy, even if I'm incredibly distracted during the ab portion of the DVD.

OK, so that's part 1. That maintenance of my own health has become a lot more difficult, but maybe even more important than it used to be.

Part 2 is postpartum depression. Do I have it? I don't know. The symptoms of PPD are the same as regular depression, only with baby-specific stuff added (difficulty bonding with, thoughts of harming). I've dealt with regular depression for my entire life, so I don't know whether my feelings are just THAT or this new deal. Also most of the markers for PPD seem to be...things inherent to early motherhood. This shit is ISOLATING. Even though I'm around people every day. Even though I go out of my way to get out of the house and visit, I still feel alone most of the time. Changing and washing all of the diapers every single day and being responsible for all of the food will do that, I guess. This non-villagey child-rearing business is just sadness central. 

Also - and let's get this RIGHT out of the way - I love my kid. She's so great! She is incredibly squishy, and makes hilarious noises at me, and I experience palpable relief when she poops, and when she puts her tiny arm around my neck it's the greatest thing that's ever happened. But have I imagined throwing her in frustration more than a few times? Um. Yes. 

And I feel like that's not something you're allowed to say! All the other moms I know express only adoration for their babies, and are able to not take their babies' actions personally ever. I don't know how. I exclusively take her actions personally. Tell myself not to, but ugh! It's pretty tough.

But then on the other hand, I don't. There are plenty of times I look at her, and she's totally alien to me. I am acutely aware that she's going to grow up, and leave, and be a sexual person, who will experience things I wouldn't have chosen for her. And for now I'm totally fine with that. I don't feel like she's MINE - she belongs to the universe. I'm just her guardian. And most of the time I respond to her, not because I have a biological imperative to make her life OK, but because I don't want to get in trouble. Like CPS is listening with a glass up against the door. If there were no risk of people hating me for being a bad mom? I don't know. I really don't. This being the center of someone's universe stuff is so intense and draining. And I have a pretty easy baby! She sleeps so much! She doesn't mind noisy places! I can't imagine dealing with a kid that has actual issues.

So I'm thinking I'm on the precipice of PPD. That's my self-assessment. And the very best way I know to stay afloat during depressed periods is to eat healthily (Paleo or Weston A. Price), so I've been doing a Whole 30 for the past month. I started working out (Barre) 9 days after AL was born, and 6 weeks ago we started doing Insanity

It's been intense. I've gotten into maybe the best shape of my life, but it's also unsustainable. And we're about to go to the beach for 2 weeks. Vacation = all work lost. Every time. Which means I'm analyzing photos of the beach house's living room to see what workouts will be possible there, and noting where all the grocery stores are and what kind of products they carry, and debating whether or not to bring the crockpot with us.

But. You know. Necessary or whatever. So.