So much has changed. The things I used to do, I don't. I don't have time to walk with friends, follow my favorite blogs, read that book for book club. And yet there's much being accomplished around here. For one, I'm making lots and lots of milk. Out it goes by one tube and into baby by another - the most unnatural thing. Also, our house is clean, the laundry done. It's strange to accomplish these mundane things and with them the appearance of wellness and order, when at the core all seems most horribly undone.
Sometimes I enjoy hanging a string of colorful cloth diapers on the line. A little bit of sunlight and fresh air. I've kept up with a little sewing and a little blogging, just enough - I hope - to keep my business afloat. I'm mostly getting enough sleep, just not enough life. Where are the happy anecdotes? Or, even just smiles? Where is the joy that babies should bring?
Instead there is worry. Am I doing enough for her? What can I do for her? Have I researched enough to find the best answers? Have I passed by a time when she could have interacted, could have turned her head to my voice or moved her eyes to mine, could have let me stretch her tight muscles, could have been enticed to move in any way. And what about doing for them - the other children, the husband. And then for
myself. I wonder, am I OK? Who am I now with so much changed?
There is worry enough for today, and mountains of worry for the years far ahead. But that I won't look at, not today. It is nothing, I say NOTHING like the worry you have for a presumably healthy child. I envy those parents who worry about a difficult sleeper, a colicky infant, a late talker. They are blessed to carry so many happy assumptions that would be, for me, just wild, unfounded, vulnerable hope. And I do hope. My hope feels like stepping out on thin ice. I can't even see the shore.
I feel tricked by fate. Trapped. Alone, even though I am not.
I have friends who do anything they can to help. Anything. I have family who come to lighten my load several times a week. I have children that pitch in when I ask. I have a husband who has given me this day to catch up on some work. I have monies gifted to cover some of Eleni's out-of-pocket therapies. I have a beautiful, growing baby girl.
But when I pick her up, and she does not look at me...
When my milk nourishes her, but she does not know my breast...
When I smile and sing to her, but she has yet to smile back...
Then it does not matter. We are together alone.
Yes, I am aware of postpartum depression. Yes, I have shared my heart with friends and family and am even able to contact someone who's gone through a similar tragedy. Don't fear for me, but only allow me to express some of the pain I'm experiencing. I will follow up later this week with an update on Eleni's progress, along with her 3-month photos. I just could not go on to do that without acknowledging, for reality's sake, the heartbreak I also feel. Life is smiles and tears. I have struggled lately to know how or when to share the hard side. Today this felt right.