Well, I mentioned the thing about moving to the house while pregnant and our first baby so I guess I have to get into it a little. But I don’t want to do a major flashback. Then again a flashback isn’t as bad as a dream sequence. And a memoir is one giant flashback, so I’ll go for it.
The gist of the flashback is that: 1. I didn’t know anyone in the neighborhood when my daughter was born. No one. And I sat in the house with a new born baby every day and had no idea what I was supposed to do. 2. I’m a pretty anxious person anyway. 3. I never met a newborn before. I mean, I’d seen them on the street, but that’s not exactly the same thing. 4. I was depressed. I would burst into tears. I cursed. I felt inside my own head with the same thoughts going round and round. “I don’t have anyone. What am I supposed to do.” It’s just what happens with me. It’s why I take Paxil on and off. And of course, while pregnant and nursing, I was off.
So that was the start of all the problems, or at least that was what surfaced the underlying problems. Even though we had a beautiful, perfect chubby baby with huge blue eyes and fat folds at the wrists. She wasn’t colicky, but she was a kind of whiney. And I was so fragile that I would get a surge of anxiety chemicals when she whimpered or cried. Hence, everyone had to everyone to be quiet when she took a nap!
“Shhhhhh! The baby is sleeping!” I would whisper-shout at Maxime. “Stop moving around!” The look I would give him if he sneezed!
You must remember that this was the time of “attachment parenting,” which was of course invented by a man. This Dr. guy had the nerve to say your baby wouldn’t be well-adjusted if you didn’t strap it onto yourself at work. You had to nurse or else you were doing emotional damage. You were supposed to sleep with the baby in your bed and nurse peacefully in your sleep! Well, my little sweetie, spit up prodigious amounts every time she nursed. Change of sheets, pjs, and swaddle clothes—every time.
Lack of sleep is not a good idea for a depressed, hormonal mom off her Paxil. Even though going back to work was the best thing for someone like me, this attachment nonsense made me feel like crap. I went back part-time for many years, which turned out to be great. But at the time, I dreaded the days at home. What would I do if I couldn’t find a library story time. Or another activity. Die of loneliness. My poor baby. She deserved better. I truly hope I kept a stiff upper lip for her most of the time. I remember wearing her in the Bjorn and kissing the top of her warm, awesome-smelling baby head as we walked and walked the streets of Brooklyn.
Let me try to remember where Maxime was during all this. Oh right. He was “working late.” When did it start? It’s hard to pinpoint. We met in a bar, so what did I expect? I guess I expected him to quit his pool team when the baby was born. That was my second mistake. Telling a man to quit his bar pool team.