Saturday, April 20, 2013

Motherhood is Surreal

Today I walked through the Eaton Centre, sans bebe, and revelled in the surreal experience of being 2.5 weeks post C-section with no one the wiser. It's so bizarre to have a baby at home, after having undergone major surgery to have him, endure a serious infection that lands you in the hospital, and then mosey around a mall like nothing ever happened.

Jack stayed with the Dude today while I dropped my aunt off at the bus station. Her time here, spanning two weeks, has come to a close. I feel far more prepared to handle life now. Before I was a dazed mess, in pain from a large incision, weak from my delivery and recovery and unsure of what to do with a baby. Now I feel like I can read some of his cues. I can change him quickly, I know a few ways to comfort him and I know his hunger cries.

I was so lucky to have my aunt with me. She made bottles, did dishes and relieved me from the constant care of my baby when I needed rest or a nap. It was also nice to have someone to talk to about what I was going through. I had a lot of feelings I needed to work out about breastfeeding and bonding and it meant a lot to me to have her as a sounding board.

I won't be exclusively breastfeeding. I just can't and I'm not going to beat myself up over it. The C section delayed my milk, then the infection and separation reduced my supply, and Jack's large size meant he needed bigger feedings that I had no chance in hell of producing, not starting from scratch when supplementing with formula was mandatory to keep him alive.

So he gets a couple breastfeedings per day and I'm satisfied with this. It's not the free food situation I had in mind, but then my entire introduction into motherhood hasn't been anything like I planned. So be it. Life is unpredictable.

My bond with my baby has been slow. I think he's a great kid. He's mellow and cute and an easy guy to care for. I'm lucky. He slept five hours straight last night. I enjoy him more and more each day and I wouldn't trade him for anything. But love hasn't been instant. It's been growing slowly over time. It'll continue.

So after I dropped my aunt off I decided to have my first bout of me time. I was wearing my pre-pregnancy clothes (Which I fit into now. I'm 3 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight. My muscles, however, are all entirely gone due to all the bedrest I had after Jack was born. Also, my tummy is scary looking at present.) and I wanted to do something frivolous.

So I got my nails done and had a half-hour chair massage. I feel more like a woman and a human being. It was nice to walk around unencumbered. I didn't worry about my baby at all either. He was with his father, and anyway, I spent two nights away from him in the hospital and he did just fine. Humbling knowledge that my baby doesn't need me, but there you are.

And I don't mean he doesn't need me. He does. He just doesn't need me all the time and to the exclusion of other people. I'm not the only one who can care for him. The Dude is super competent. And with this knowledge I wandered somewhat aimlessly around the mall, like a normal nondescript non-pregnant woman. Almost back to normal, at least on the outside. So long as I'm viewed with clothes on.

I suppose I'm sort of floored how similar I feel. I'm still very much me in every way. I just now have a baby.


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