In the beginning I was sick, so sick I couldn’t leave my house even if I wanted to. I was healing from all 80 stitches… and what felt like a broken pelvis. I couldn’t walk …or stand. And I was tired…so tired I’m still not certain which parts were real and which were a dream. If we spoke in the weeks following labor…I have no memory of it…which is probably a good thing because hormones are like tequila. They make you say and do some crazy shit. They make you think things are appropriate to say…when they are in fact definitely not appropriate to say. I couldn’t speak to anyone without horrifying them with my birth story and gory TMI postpartum details. Frankly…because I was traumatized. And I didn't leave the house because I was scared... Scared of breastfeeding in public…scared of changing a diaper in public…scared of momming in public. Leaving the house gave me anxiety. Home was safe. It’s where the boppy pillow lived…and the changing table…and the diapers. So home is where I stayed…and stayed….and stayed….
I locked my doors and spent half a year hanging out with one friend…my son. Occasionally someone would stop by, but each time…I would hear myself rambling on and on about Killian’s poop and my cracked nipples...and like I just couldn’t stop myself. In my head I’d be like “OMG Kristen…stop telling everyone about your hemmoroids!”…but it was like a compulsion…a train wreck happening in slow motion...only it was my life. Not sure if I was subconsciously trying to warn everyone to not have kids or if I was using them all as my personal therapist, but I was embarrassing myself. So eventually I stopped inviting people over.
Nearly 6 months has passed now… 6 months living in the lonely FTM trenches. The retreat was on me…but now that I find myself ready to join the human race again, I have a new problem….I have nowhere to go and no one to go with.
I don’t have family that live near by… and I don’t have mom friends that live near by. The nearest one is a 45 minute drive…and K doesn’t have the patience for that car ride on a weekly basis. So what now? Don’t you have normal non-parental friends, Kristen? I’m sure I still have a few that I haven’t scared off with the story of my vacuum extraction….but I can’t for the life of me think of a reason why they’d want to hang out and here’s why…
- I don’t drink. And people don’t like hanging out with other people who don’t drink, because it makes them feel like they can’t drink. And people like to drink.
- I can’t be out past 6:30PM, because that’s bath time …and bath time with K is more important than you.
- I go to bed at 8:00PM because I like sleep. So if you thought I’d be hanging out with you after I put him down….unless you’re my eye mask…you sir, would be wrong.
- I only talk about K. I will talk about poop…and spit up…and my boobs, because that’s all I know anymore.
- 95% of you have jobs….which makes you unavailable during the week. So work hours + bath time = I can only hang out with you SaturDAY or SunDAY. And if we do….
- I’ll be bringing my baby with me. Anthony works on weekends too, and I don’t have childcare…so it’ll be me plus one.
- I breastfeed my baby. I realize how uncomfortable this might make you all, but my child has to eat and I have no time to be washing bottles 24/7. So you’ll have to tell me about that amazing night you had in Vegas while my son drinks from my nipple…
- K doesn’t care about your problems, so he’ll most likely be asking for my undivided attention if he’s not on my boob. So you’ll have to tell me the rest of the story about Vegas while I’m bouncing him up and down and looking at you through my peripheral.
I could go on and on, the reasons why a sane non-parental human would not want to hang out with a FTM…because I’ve been there. I’ve been that person talking to a woman obsessed with her kid…and trying to pretend like I cared. Before Killian, I had no interest in children. It’s probably the great divide that happened between my sister and I over a decade ago. She was 22, talking about colic and reflux and I was in college, dancing on bars and getting wasted. We started speaking different languages …and drifted apart. 20 years of friendship…and we just…faded. I wish I had done things differently with Jackie and been there for her all those years ago. It’s only now that I realize how much she needed me. Probably about as much as I need her now. But she lives across the country and my nephews are 11,9 and 6 now. She’s a mom vet and no longer in the trenches. We’re forever in different chapters of our life...and I'm the asshole who missed a decade of memories. The point is I get it. It’s hard to remain friends with someone who hasn’t joined parenthood. Know what's harder? Trying to make new friends as an adult.
It’s not like when you were in school and literately hung out with hundreds of kids your exact age going through the same things as you in life Monday through Friday. No. When you’re an adult you close your eyes, cross your fingers and just have to pray that you might meet a friend of a friend at a BBQ who's not voting for Hilary Clinton. Its hard. Making friends as an adult is awkward. Because it’s not socially acceptable to just walk up to someone in the grocery store and say, “I just overheard your hilarious joke…and can see you struggling with your new baby...and that you're purchasing J Lohr Merlot….wanna be friends?”
So how do I make this mystical friend? A woman, with a husband who gets along with A...and with a kid who's close in age to K...and who isn't politically correct all the time, likes dogs, lives nearby, and watches The Walking Dead...
I don't have the answers, but I also don't wanna be a recluse for the rest of my life…So I’ve vowed to leave my house 3 times a week and make an effort to “go make friends”. I’m gonna strap on the confidence I had as a child…and start saying the words, “Cool baby, wanna hang out?”
My diet has been atrocious. I blame A. When it’s just me, I’m healthy. Sooooo healthy. I chug water and eat fruit and vegetables….But when A’s around its a food f$%k. He’s been off work for a couple weeks and turned into this cheese demon on my shoulder tempting me with all kinds of take out and booze. Every time I turn around he has some delectable piece of diabetes in his hands asking me if I want some. Just yesterday, there he was waving a spoon full of Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream in my face..and then there I was…eating the entire tub.
I do have to say…after not eating dairy for almost 6 months, eating pizza and ice cream made me feel worst than I’ve felt in a long time. Made me lethargic, bloated and overall just feeling disgusting…and I’m still paying for it. The way it’s made me feel has only affirmed my choice to go back dairy free…and once I’m done breastfeeding…back vegan. Food shouldn’t make you feel that way. :/
I worked out for the first time since giving birth. Well I took K to a Baby and Me Yoga class, so it was 30 minutes of me “working out” and 30 minutes of me trying to entertain K when he was no longer amused with me doing sun salutations over him. If you’re wondering how out of shape I am, you should know I can barely walk I’m so sore…from stretching. Because that’s what yoga is..its stretching. Oh man. I have a long ways to go
I think my body found its home at 117 lbs.
ME AND MY BODY…AND BREASTFEEDING/FOOD:
I met several moms at Baby and Me Yoga. Two of them had babies 2 weeks older than K. One of them had a big fat baby like mine. First time I’d seen another baby give K a run for his money. #BreastfeedingMedalForHer? In fact, she popped a tit out half way through yoga when he got fussy…and it gave me the confidence to do the same.
The other one…before class she was talking about how her baby had gotten constipated because she stopped breastfeeding and switched him to formula…and I have to confess. I secretly judged her like some asshole. I ALWAYS give a mom the benefit of the doubt. Always. If I see you give your child a bottle...I assume its pumped milk. If they happen to mention it's formula...I assume its because they didn't produce enough milk, or their child had an allergy to their milk and got colicky, or wasn't gaining enough weight, or they had to go back to work and pumping didn't work out and they dried up. I will always assume they did what they could and formula was the best option. But this was different. She breastfed for 6 months...and stopped...out of choice. She was so flippant. "Oh ya...we got to 6 months and I'd done all I could do." She spoke as if she'd clocked out of work. And judged her...in my mind. And I'm ashamed of it...and couldn't stop feeling bad that I had. I kept bringing it up to A and he was like, why is this bothering you so much? And then I realized...I was jealous.
She had the strength to say enough is enough. She was free. She took her body back... and besides the constipation, her kid looked happy. It's been over a year since my body has been mine. And here was this woman before me... wearing a normal bra and looking rested. I was jealous, because I know I can't do that. I've said I'M F&*KING DONE BREASTFEEDING!! a million times...but then he looks at me with those eyes and magically my nipple appears. Can't help but feel like a slave. I know that, statistically speaking, he'll wean himself over the next 6-12 months...and I'll be devastated...but in that moment I was jealous.. I'm proud of myself for staying strong and still going...but I'm also proud of her for doing what she needed to do. And I'm proud of any mom...for breastfeeding even once...or hell, just surviving the day.
The forth nap is completely gone. Down to 2-3…depending on how long they are. He’s sleeping through the night…or waking up once. Thank you baby Jesus up in heaven with your big angel wings…for hearing my sleep prayers.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK:
For those of you who don’t know…I love science fiction and fantasy. I’m unhealthily obsessed in fact. Name a show or a movie…and I’ve seen it. Buffy, Doctor Who, X-Files, Supernatural…I’ve seen every series…every movie. If you’re a movie about artificial intelligence taking over the world or time travel between dimensions... I will 100% watch you.
Rewatching the Harry Potter series with A was the highlight of my week. Somewhere between Maggie Smith enchanting the statues to guard Hogwarts, Neville using a Petronius charm, and Drako hesitating to join he who must not be named…I started crying. Not a sad cry…but a “this is freaking awesome” cry. The magic of it all…was overwhelming. I’m 31 years old, but I was instantly a kid. When you watch sci fi…it’s an adventure…it’s magic. Watching HP, I had flash forwards of reliving it all with K. Taking him to Gallifrey to meet a quirky Doctor…learning life lessons from The Chosen One and the Scooby Gang…and understanding true friendship and sacrifice from Merlin…I hope that he loves sci fi as much as me…and that he dreams big…and always believes in the magic of life.
RIP Alan Rickman …the bravest wizard I’ve ever known. :/
LOW POINT OF THE WEEK:
Since K has dropped the 4th nap, I have now been introduced to my new nemesis. He goes by the name “witching hour”. Dear 5:30-6:30 PM, go eat a bag of dicks!
He decided to start working out in the mornings at 6AM…soooooo he decided to go to bed super early like I do. It was nice not going to bed alone…
There was an 8 month old baby in my yoga class, crawling in circles around K. I watched him…watch her crawl…and try his best to imitate her. It was captivating…he’d look at her hands and then at his hands…and I could see him trying to put the pieces together. In that moment…holding chatarunga and trying my best not to fart amongst my potential new friends…I realized how important it is for him to be around other babies…so with some great advice from a friend…we are now signed up for Gymboree Music class…starts on Thursday and I’m excited. #MoreMomFriendsForMe?
*A second tooth emerged! He now has two bottom teeth, which brazenly graze my nipple…as if to say…”i’m here…just in case you thought you were safe.”
*A whole new bag of consonants got added to the mix this week. He’s added W, Y, J and TH. Which is on top of B, L, M and D. Sooooo he’s been making all kinds of new sounds which is funny.
*He keeps saying “Whoa”…not sure if he means it, but he seems to be using it within context. Has to be because that's all I say...ever... since I'm constantly amazed by my child lol
*He now signals to you from across the room if he wants picked up…both hands up to the sky plus a whine.
*He’s laughing a lot these days. Laughs at the dogs, at his bouncer, at me…
THINGS I DID NOT KNOW, BUT YOU SHOULD DEFINITELY KNOW:
*I guess it’s ok to drink wine while breastfeeding. Everything I read says no, but the people spoke…and I didn’t need much convincing. I sipped the sweet nectar....and it was nice to feel human.
*Apparently a fart burns 72 calories, which explains a lot regarding my postpartum weight loss.
*Scientist predict that every time you pass gas, you add 85 seconds to your life. I mean...roll on 2084!
END OF THE WEEK THOUGHTS:
I've learned more about myself and life in the past 6 months, than I have my whole life. Having a kid removes the bullshit and keeps you honest. Honest about everything. I wake up each day with purpose and I try things...and sometimes they work and sometimes they don't. A lot of this stuff must seem so elementary to a lot of you...like duh Kristen...of course you need to get out...and make friends and this and that. But its easier said than done...Cheers to my journey and all of you watching me figure it out one week at a time.