--A bit scared to hit "publish" on this post, but figured I need to come clean with the nitty gritty and down and dirty of my parenting after loss experience.--
I am totally and completely overwhelmed.
With love for this little peanut that entered our life four weeks ago today.
And with sadness for my little big man who left our world one year and five weeks ago today.
And with fatigue, with confusion, with feeling like a total and complete and utter failure - I was talking with a friend today and agreed with her when she said she feels like every mother deserves a HUGE FUCKING MEDAL for making it through the first weeks (months? years?) with a newborn. I don't know how so many of you have done it/are doing it - competently even - I am barely keeping my head above water.
(This is not an exaggeration. The extent of my "successes" for the day were: calling my therapist and getting an appointment to see her on Wednesday (haven't seen her since two weeks before Owen was born); calling my doctor and getting in to go to a peripartum depression group and a consult appointment for possible meds evaluation; calling our health insurance and trying to deal with adding Owen to our coverage (why is that not automatic, seriously, paperwork with my level of brain fog is excruciating); getting my tortoise to finally eat (he's been on a hunger strike for like a week or two?), feeding myself a burrito at 4:30 pm (my first meal of the day), changing a zillion diapers and nursing a very fussy baby a zillion and two times. I am still in yesterday's yoga pants, I can't tell you when I last showered (Saturday?), my neighbors can probably smell me at this point. I haven't slept more than an hour or two in our bed in days (Owen seems to only sleep if he's held, so it's the big easy chair in our bedroom for the two of us every night lately.))
Anyhow, lest any of this be seen as complaining, it's not. I know how lucky I am to have this little beautiful being here at home and in my arms. I stare at him and marvel at how amazing he is. And yet, I can't seem to pull it together to leave the house, to get dressed, to find a way to sleep, to take care of basic self-care right now. I cry a lot. A LOT. I become anxious about doing anything new with the baby - I worry he's going to suffocate in his moby wrap. I worry he's dressed too warmly, too coldly. I worry that he's got a fever. I worry that he's eating too much, or not enough. Same with sleep. He's got a bad case of baby acne, but I keep worrying "what if it's not baby acne but actually some rare disease that's going to kill him?" I see how exasperated everyone is with me and my anxiety - I see how paralyzed I am - but I'm not sure how to break myself of it. (That's why I enlisted help today, calling the doctors and my therapist, btw. Pay someone who is makes a profession out of helping women in my shoes to help me.) I know what a treasure I have here with me right now - I just can't quite access the joy that I think I'm supposed to be feeling about all of it.
I feel so overwhelmed, like such a phony, like an impostor who doesn't really deserve to have a living baby here at home with her, and who is failing miserably at this parenting after loss gig. At it's worst, which it was the other night, I sobbed to E, "I feel like maybe Otis knew what he was doing, deciding to leave us..."
(Note to those of you panicking about me: I know Otis didn't "choose" to leave us. I also am safe, I am not interested in harming myself or the baby (yes, I was asked this question a few times today by a few different professionals) and I know I will survive this.)