Ugly Sides of Parenthood: Worries Galore
And that's just the physical side of things. A friend of mine who just had a textbook vaginal delivery told me she felt so traumatized by the exigencies of labor and delivery that she's planning to start therapy just to come to terms with the emotions it all stirred up. Another friend has been coping with postpartum depression so debilitating she has been unable to return to work as planned.
Even in the best new-baby scenarios -- mine, for instance, if you discount the abdominal-wound factor -- there are moments of severe self-doubt and self-pity in the midst of the baby bliss. Is the baby nursing enough? Is he nursing too much? Why won't he go to sleep? Will he ever go to sleep? Is it my fault he won't go to sleep? You have to summon all your own inner strength -- and the help of your partner (if you're lucky enough to have one), family and friends -- to pull through the first few hormonally rocky, sleep-deprived weeks.
Get past them and you're hardly in the clear. The need to make a living can feel, as a friend who went back to work last week, leaving her 14-week-old daughter at home, put it, "like some kind of primal wrong."
Think the trouble's all in her head? Try in her breasts, swollen beyond belief with milk her baby is not around to drink on her normal schedule. Pumping only goes so far when your baby goes on a hunger strike, refusing a bottle and crying incessantly until you get home to feed her from your own body, only to wake you up every two hours all night long because she's starved from her milk-free day. But have fun explaining that to a boss who doesn't understand why you never work past 5:00 anymore or why you're too tired to take on extra work the way you used to.
See you on the mommy track, girlfriend.