2 months: a new reality
I recently referred to The Biscuit as “my daughter” for the first time outside of the house and it kinda messed me up emotionally. In a good way, of course. It’s just something I never thought I’d say. I remember a similar existential tremor the first time I called Andy “my husband” in public. Two words created a new identity for me and with that comes a new reality.
While you’re pregnant, everyone is all coos and excitement and helpful suggestions about avoiding stretch marks. After the baby comes no one tells you how soul crushingly frustrating those early days are. They just come to hold the baby and ask if you’re getting any sleep when they know full well you aren’t. As a friend recently reminded me, sleep deprivation is considered torture as part of the Geneva Conventions for a reason. It turns sane, healthy adults into complete idiots.
Andy and I can’t work as much or as hard as we’re used to. We eat and sleep whenever we can. Thankfully, we’ve still been been able to go out occasionally but dinner out now includes a baby bag instead of a cute clutch. If we do go out, there are new conversations about the stroller versus the sling, is the place “Biscuit friendly,” is the bag stocked and keeping up with timing the feedings while we’re away from home.
Breastfeeding has been one of the greatest challenges of my life. Not the act itself; Parker got the hang of that pretty quickly after we left the hospital (despite the anxiety given to us by the lactation consultants). I mean the idea of feeding my child exclusively from my body.
I have to eat and drink a certain way to maintain my milk supply for her. Sometimes she empties both of my breasts and just spits it all up. It takes hours for my body to make more so she cries from hunger until we can get her to go to sleep. The Biscuit goes where I go or I can’t be gone for long before both of us become really uncomfortable. A trip to the movies with a friend can’t turn into an impromptu shopping trip because I have get back to feed The Biscuit before she screams and/or I explode.
I’m honestly not complaining. It’s just that being physically tethered to someone else is heavy stuff and is reinforcing the new universe Andy and I find ourselves in.
A born nurturer, he’s adjusting really well to fatherhood. He talks to her constantly and she coos and smiles. It’s really adorable. I knew what kind of man he was before (awesomesauce!) and all of that is being reinforced as I watch him in this new role. Through diaper blowouts, middle-of-the-night screamfests, voluminous spitting up and the rest of her messy baby-ness, he’s patient and loving and amazing.
Sometimes I look at her like she’s an alien; a stranger that just appeared here to teach me patience, love and unconditional understanding with a ton of utter chaos in tow. She’s starting to smile now and, honestly, those erase whatever frustration or exhaustion we feel. I’m inching ever closer to Acceptance.