There are a great many things I miss about life before parenthood. Lately, I’ve been thinking about, several times a day, how much I miss hot coffee. Mind you, I’m surviving off coffee – it’s the only thing that’s keeping this train running – but I cannot, for the life of me, remember the last time that I had a hot cup of coffee. I suppose, along with the laundry list of other things, the luxury of hot coffee is something sacrificed upon entering the privilege of parenthood.
I miss hot coffee. I miss being skinny, and not worrying about if my organs were put back into my body the right way. I miss sleep, to be sure, but I think I miss my previously untouched-by-pregnancy/childbirth/csection/breastfeeding body more. Not all the time, but sometimes. I miss the simplicity of a shower and peeing alone.
Since having Fox, I’ve been struggling to not let myself go – to not just say “fuck it” to the things that make me feel like me. I love washing my face at the end of the day. I’m obsessed with taking good care of my skin, and it feels phenomenal to clean off the day and put on all my delicious creams and oils. It’s the one thing I always do every day, no ifs ands or buts about it. Nevertheless, since Fox was born, it’s been the one thing I’ve struggled to be consistent with. I’ve been doing the bare minimum with my skin – a simple wash and throwing on argan oil. What about my precious scrubs? The eye cream?? The fucking masks? This is the one thing I do during the day that’s mine and only mine. So why have I been letting it go?
I’ve been suffering from anxiety and borderline postpartum depression, going mad as I am quarantined in my home, being an utter bitch to Alex for even breathing in my direction. Postpartum shit is such a drag this time, different than after delivering Johncarl. It’s absolutely plausible I’ve been experiencing postpartum depression but towards my husband, not my baby. I read an article yesterday that was titled something like “why do I hate my husband right now” and thought YES, WHY? TELL MAMA WHY! It made me feel better (sane, even) knowing that this is normal and totally common – to be perpetually irritated with your husband during the fresh postpartum period for literally everything he does/doesn’t do. My husband has done nothing but help and serve my boys and myself, yet I can’t help but be irritated as shit at him before 11am. Poor guy.
Talking about these feelings with him has brought some relief, and yesterday he said to me that “we have a forever love” and that he “understands I’m going through some shit.” This man, you guys. He gets me. Today I woke up feeling brand new, and even if it only lasts the day, I’m thankful. I know it will all get better, the funky fog will rise and I will be able to see clearly again. Once we can get out of the house to play, see our friends, even run errands, and I physically feel better, things will balance out. Fucking hormones.
Until this last week it’s been a struggle to force myself to complete my skincare ritual every night, but this last week I finally did, and it’s made a big difference in how I feel about myself. The self-care is huuuuuge for my morale. Yes, I’m covered in milk and all kinds of other shit (literal and figurative), I haven’t showered in days and my poor husband has been smacked in the face with this falling-apart top knot on my head that at the exact height of his chin when we hug. However, washing my face and treating my skin feels like heaven, and I know I’m ok, or at least getting there, if I’m keeping it up.
I put on makeup today, even though the only place I’m going today is to pick up food. I thought it would make me feel good, maybe even pretty, and would be a little blessing to my husband who, though he reminds me daily of his regard for my beauty, surely deserves to see me looking like a more put together version of myself once in a while.
Being a parent is as excruciatingly taxing as it is rewarding, and even though I’m struggling with this idea, it might be incredibly freeing to admit that it’s insanely hard and it’s ok to not always feel like moming/dading. These feelings don’t make us heathens who don’t love our children or don’t want them – it makes us humans who sometimes struggle to take adequate care of ourselves, let alone not fuck up tiny, precious, wonderful, challenging humans. I probably say “Jeaus take the wheel” fifty times a day, but that’s ok. I’m not perfect and can admit that I need divine intervention to make it through my day (grace is pretty amazing). Through the myriad of emotions, however, we soldier on as parents on those particularly excruciating days because of love. We love our little people, our innocent (yet very intentional) children.
We parent when we don’t feel like it because of love. We make it through the dark and dingy depressive feelings because of love. Alex puts up with my hormonal bitch-face moments bcause of love (Elective Love by BORNS just came on, how fitting).
I really hesitated to share this simply because it’s a little dark and a bit of a bummer, but whatever – the entire point of writing for me is honesty and I wouldn’t be honest if I projected a facade of happy/totally-not-going-through-something bullshit rather than just being forthcoming about this rut I’m in. Anxiety and depression, no matter how temporary or long-lasting, deserve more than to live secretly in the shadows of our lives. Fuck the stigmas. Let your dark flag fly if that’s where you’re at right now – you might be surprised who embraces you because of it. Pour yourself a cocktail, because you deserve it, and just remember that love – Jesus-love, self-love, little-love, partner-love – is there for you.