Tuesday, July 29, 2008

my new job

so i'll go ahead and admit it, i'm feeling a little down. i dunno if this is post-partum depression/baby blues, being tired, or what. i'm ok. it's not too bad, and sam and i have even had a good day today, i just don't feel so well.

right now i think i'm just trying to go through a time of figuring out who i am now. it's not that having a baby makes you a different person, but you obviously take on a different role. and when you decide to become a parent, you know it's going to be tough, but it's not like you can really anticipate how it will feel and what it will really be like. and i guess from my vantage point of only 2 1/2 weeks in, i still don't know what it is really like. but i do have feelings now, so that's all i have to go on, and that's what i'll ramble on about for a while...

from this point in time i feel like i'm trying to understand who i am as a mother, in a very physical way as well as a conceptual one. i anticipated the idea of being tired, and i anticipated feeling emotional attachment to my son that would keep me from doing some of the things i used to enjoy doing. but i don't think there was any REAL way for me to anticipate what it would be like to take on this new job 24-hours a day. and yes, for me right now, it is important to see this as a job. this is the hardest work i have ever taken on, and there really is no end to it. i grew up thinking that men and women were equal and all jobs could be shared but right now i'm starting to see the profound difference that motherhood reveals between the sexes. i don't know if it's just that i'm breastfeeding, but i am tied to this child in a physical way that my husband cannot be. and it seems he feels there is some understanding i have of our son's needs that he somehow cannot have, even though this could not be further from the truth. i feel as lost and confused about what he needs as anyone possibly could. but i do see that i am physically bound to him because i alone can provide him food, and therefore i alone can provide him that comfort. i can leave the house and have alone time, but only if i watch the clock and hurry back. even then, it's risky because you never know if the little one will need a snack or an early meal. and even now i feel self-conscious revealing that i might WANT to get away and have some alone time, that i might not want to be attached to him around the clock. does that make me a bad mother? it hasn't even been three weeks, after all. it probably isn't "natural" for a mother to be separated from her child at this point.

i find i'm constantly battling with this idea of "natural". the "natural" child birth. the "natural" feeding methods. the "natural" role of being a mother. it is true that our culture has redefined women in so many ways that motherhood is often taken out of the equation, or maybe a realistic concept of what a mom is is not very clear.

i have always thought to be independent was the ultimate goal, not that i have necessarily lived that way. self-sufficient with your own goals in mind -- basically, you have to look out for yourself because no one else will. i do not think this has made me a selfish or even self-involved person, but i do acknowledge that i tend to see things this way. so here i have entered into the most co-dependent of relationships. yes, my son depends on me, but in order for this to work, i must depend on him. so much more than a marriage, this co-dependency is not an agreement, but an obligation.

it is hard to want something so bad, but not know the tangible ways of getting there. i want so much to be a good mom. but what is it to be a good mom? how do i become one?

well these thoughts aren't connected, but that's what you get with little sleep and no time to re-read and make things coherent, heh heh. the little one is stirring so i must tend to him.

at least right now looking at this new role as my job i think i can put my head into an objective place of mind and not lose it whenever he cries. i am just still in the training part of this job, and i will continue to feel a little awkward for a while still. at least it will be the most rewarding job i have ever had.


Not Heather said...

your questions mean that you already are an excellent mom. you really are the best possible mom for Sam. Sending you an email.

Rachel said...

I hope you don't mind a non-mom weighing in, but the fact that you can name your feelings and express them is huge. It's not getting you to the point of silence and dread, which is good. As long as you keep observing and taking note of how you're feeling (mentally, physically, etc.), you can definitely do this. Just keep writing and don't let it pile up on you. Sorry that's all I have, but I wanted to show some support. You're both doing a great job so far.

AnneJ said...

I'll just comment this here. I thought of you Liz, when I read this in the AA News last week:


Mom was quoted as saying (before the baby was born) "..."I was going to be the first woman who never has the baby," she recalled with a smile. "It would just go on and on."

But, everything was just fine. And it will be with you guys, the best parents for little Sam!

AnneJ said...

Yeah, what Heather said! It's true!