Individual Results May Vary

I have been wanting to write about motherhood, as it is after being finally gloriously obtained after so many trials and tribulations.  Seriously wanting. And, I’ve had the time. Rex is in daycare (thankyou, thankyou, thankyou) and I am back at work part-time.  Partial sanity has been regained. While, I’m still oozing with bloggy feelings, something has continued to stop me, specifically my former infertile and childless self.  I would not have wanted to read what I want to write about. In fact, I would have un-subscribed from my blog tout suite after reading a few paragraphs and wouldn’t have come back for a while.

You see, I’m still struggling with this whole motherhood thing.  I’m not feeling those thunderbolts of instant love that feature so prominently on A Baby Story.  I don’t want to spend every waking moment with my baby and I certainly don’t want to keep him awake to play with him.  In fact, I think he is most attractive when he’s sleeping.  He is so peaceful … and so quiet.  When he’s awake, I am still a little on edge, waiting for him to get fussy either because he’s hungry or bored (or, worse, both).

About this time, the guilt starts setting in.  My Inner Infertile points out how much we wanted this child and how monumentally ungrateful I am being for having these thoughts in the first place.  Then I think about those who read my blog who are still trying to have a child and how I would have felt when I was there reading this (not particularly thrilled).  And, so I just couldn’t write anything.

The thing is, I remember so vividly when we were in the deepest darkest corners of infertility how much I would give up to have a baby and I feel just wretched that now I am so damn ambivalent about the whole thing.  I feel like I have let down myself and all of the other girls who have struggled with infertility. I always thought that once I had a baby, it would be so much better and to now have that baby – who is by all measures an absolutely wonderful baby – and not feel as if I am the happiest woman in the world is an incredible shock.

In a way, I set myself up for this.  I put so much emphasis on being ‘fixed’ once we had a child, that the baby would magically fill that gaping hole in my heart.  And he has filled it somewhat, but not the level that I thought he would.  Not yet, at least. So, I am left with a hole still, and what’s even worse is the sense that it should be full but I’m just too ungrateful, selfish, and plain awful to let Rex fill it.

It is getting better, though. Today, at lunch, he was smiling that whole mouth smile that just makes you smile too.  It’s contagious, like a yawn.  He’s started squealing, which we think is a prelude to laughing.  He’s even had his first walk facing outward in the Bjorn because he can hold his head up.  All of these are amazing milestones that seemed so distant not just a few weeks ago.  The good thing about an infant is that they change so rapidly so fast that the status quo, if you don’t like it, will change and pretty quickly (although, you may still not like what it changes too).

Today, I also felt, for the first time since he was born, like I was happy.  I was walking G with Rex in the Bjorn wearing this adorable hat and it just hit me.  I’m happy. In this moment, I am happy. Perhaps there’s hope for me yet.

image: paterjt

10 thoughts on “Individual Results May Vary

  1. My sense is that what you are experiencing is pretty common, even if not frequently discussed With IF, you spend years wanting and wanting and wanting. It’s such a crushing experience and you start to belive everything will be better after (bfp/baby). Of couse, life is still life and nothing magically changes. If anything, life just gets harder. All that just to say you aren’t alone. ((()))

    I’m glad you are starting to see some happiness. It gets better and better – my girl gives me the biggest smiles and clings to me for comfort now when she is in new situations or tired, etc. It just melts my heart!

  2. As someone else on ‘the other side,’ I just wanted to write that I’m glad you’re still blogging and writing about your experiences. Parenting a baby is incredibly hard, no matter how long you waited.

  3. Oh, how you can dig up memories I’d long since buried. Although we didn’t even scratch the surface of what you & Mr.X went through with infertility, I do remember some things I delt with prior to conceiving BabyGirl. I had a bit of an epiphany about 6 months before we got pregnant that if I couldn’t be happy without a baby, then having one wasn’t going to be the “fix” I thought it would be. That was my personal break-thru that (I think) helped me deal with the anticlimax of bringing baby home.

    I do not think you are ungrateful, selfish, or plain awful. I think you are human. I think you are a mother. I think you’re getting there. It’s not always a sprint. Sometimes it’s a marathon.

  4. FYI, those Baby Story things are so fixed. 😉 … Me and my sis were on it when I was a surrogate for her, and they made her say all this loving stuff, when really she was exhausted, miserable, and not feeling all love all the time.

    It’s so completely normal. I was the same way with my twins. I cried a lot. And even though I battled infertility myself, I found myself mourning my pre-kid life. Which is something I said I would never do. How could I be so ungrateful?? And then I realized, I was just human. Just because we are infertile, that doesn’t take away our right to complain, be tired, frustrated and need a break.

    Going back to work was just the sanity check I needed!

  5. You know, when an infant is sleeping, that means you have done your job properly, and he is wanting for nothing. He’s comfortable, not hungry, and has been entertained. Of course you’re happier when he’s sleeping – it’s called job satisfaction! 🙂 I do think you’ll find his awake times less anxiety-inducing and more fun as he becomes more interactive. So stow the guilt and save it for those days when he falls over and you couldn’t catch him fast enough. There are plenty of those coming your way.

    The hole in your heart, though – that’s not just an “I want a baby” hole. There are a lot more factors that created the hole, and the baby cannot fix the other factors. I think he will make it easier to live with the hole, though.

  6. It is good to acknowledge your feelings, both negative and positive, it’s much better than being in denial. There’s too much of this myth of blissful motherhood ideal in our society. It’s not an instant route to happiness and fulfillment that those people with 19 kids talk about. Now that you are consciously aware that a baby, your baby, cannot make you happy, have you thought about what would? Frankly, I always thought “happiness” was more about feeling satisfied with your authentic self than it was about feeling bubbly happy all the time.

  7. You rarely see the Baby Story people once they’re home… And remember that you wanted a child to raise. That didn’t specifically mean a baby in all it’s glorious cryie-pooie-grizzly-scratchyness. He’ll grow, get more rewarding, and more enjoyable. Who made the rule that just because you went through IVF you have to be a saint of a parent, while those that had no problems get a bye on occasionally struggling and wishing they were somewhere else? Never feel guilty, you’re doing the best you can.

  8. I think it makes sense. After wanting something so badly and being repeatedly smacked down. How could your feelings know WHAT to do with that? As someone still on the “other side”, though, it isn’t painful to read about and I don’t think you’re ungrateful or selfish. You’re just living a real life, a life that (if things were fairer) you would have started sooner and with fewer bumps.

    Thank you so very much for your comments on my blog. It means a lot – a whole hell of a lot! – to hear about women who have made it over that hill. Gives me hope.

  9. Every mother’s reaction to motherhood is different. Yours isn’t wrong or abnormal, it’s just yours. Your baby is safe, well cared for, and loved, so it sounds like all the most important bases are covered. You’ll hit your stride.

  10. I thought *I* was the only one who thought my child was at its most adorable while sleeping!

    I could have written this post. Loved going back to work. Felt guilty about not being more thankful.

    And was happy. Glad you are 🙂

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