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I Didn’t Know I Would Feel Like This

I knew the day was coming. For some stupid reason I decided to let it sneak up on me and now it has sneaked up on me and I am not ready.

I’m not ready to be done mat leave.

I didn’t expect that. In the very early days I was looking forward to going to work, to talking to adults, to using my brain for adult problems, for adult responsibilities. I didn’t want to spend my days playing on the floor. I didn’t want to keep cleaning her tray three times a day. I didn’t want to tidy the house every day at noon. I didn’t want to wear only casual clothes. No, wait. I always want to wear only casual clothes.

But, today was my last day at my favourite play group and it was one the hardest mornings of my year. I got to sit down and watch my baby kid try to climb up to sit in a chair, wander around the room looking for books, get too much stamp ink on her hands, and then give me a huge smile when she spotted me from across the room. We had a nice time. They even sang her Happy Birthday because she turned one on Monday.

I made friends this year. I like them and I like their kids. Which is huge and surprising. I’ve never really liked kids I wasn’t related to but now I’m going to miss them.

I’m not ready for this to not be my day to day. I’m not ready for a new routine. I’m not ready to not be her immediate source of comfort when she falls too hard. I’m not ready for someone else to be the one tickling her and making her laugh during the day.

I’m not sure I can drop her off that first day week without crying. Not because I think she won’t be ok – she will be great – but because I want to hang out with her. I want to get her her lunch and tickle her toes when she’s done eating. I want to play hide and seek with her. I want to help her chase the dog around the house.

Instead I go back to work and someone else gets to do all those things while I… do my job.

The worst part is that I like my job. I like my job. I think that’s what’s hardest about this. Even if we could afford for me to stay home I would then miss my job.

It’s not quite fair that I have to go back to work right when she is getting to be the most fun she’s ever been and I can only assume she’s going to get more fun as she gets older – I mean, look at who is raising her. Is it going to get harder to leave her with someone else as she gets to be more fun? Will I feel like I can be more present with her when I am home because I’m home less? Will I ever be ok with someone else being the first to note when she accomplishes milestones? Will my heart ever not break when I drop her off at daycare?

I don’t know. And maybe that’s just my new motto when it comes to parenting. Who the fuck knows?

 

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Anger was a Surprise

“You are mean to that dog”, my brother said hesitantly.

And, holy shit, I’m so happy he did. Those words made me think hard about how I was acting. I was yelling at my dog. I was short with my husband. I was struggling to maintain my patience with my baby. The smallest things were making me angry. So fucking angry. Adam didn’t do all the chores even though he was at work all day. Traffic was bad so he was 10 minutes late coming home. My pizza was reheated too hot in the middle and too cold on the edges. The dog was asking for too much love. The dog was being a dog. Beans was being a baby. Beans was sleeping too long on me and I really had to pee.

I had this seething anger sitting in my belly, glowing red hot and trying to escape. It was exhausting trying to keep it down and be patient. It was heartbreaking to see myself blow up and snap when all I wanted to do was laugh and hug. I was faking my happiness and I couldn’t keep up with it.

So, I called my doctor. And I cried in her office and told her honestly how I didn’t know how to feel happy anymore. How I was angry at every one except Beans. I only had patience for Beans and that didn’t feel like me. How I missed smiling without feeling that sadness behind my eyes. How I wanted to make her laugh but didn’t have the energy because all my energy was going towards staying calm.

She listened calmly and talked openly with me about what help I might be able to find. She gave me a prescription for hormonal birth control and, best of all, she gave me a referral for a counselor and made me an appointment to come back and check in with her.

I filled that prescription. I have always struggled with a balance in my hormones which cause me to be extremely emotional so it was no surprise when after only a month I was able to laugh without feeling like it was forced. Within two months I was smiling regularly and making my baby laugh again. I was loving my dog instead of just dealing with her.

I also saw a counselor but that was a fucking bust. She was not well equipped to deal with post-partum or baby issues. She actually suggested I give my 9 month old baby a time out and punch pillows to get my anger out.

It’s been four months now and I finally feel like myself again. I re-gained my energy, lost the last 20 pounds of cake I gained while pregnant (that’s another story all together), and when I looked in the mirror I saw myself again. I saw the joy in my eyes, the love for my husband, the happiness that sits in our home, the beautiful chaos that is our life.

I was looking out for sadness, depression, exhaustion, dark days. I did not know to look for anger. I didn’t know I could even feel as angry I did. I’ve never felt that angry before. I’ve never treated my loved ones like that before. Thank god for my doctor. I’m so happy to be me again.