Hey, y’all. Thank you again and a hundred more times for your comment on my sad post the other day. One of my blog goals is to start replying to more comments [sidebar: I've finally learned that if I reply using WP's email system, I can also cc the email you used when you left the comment, which means you might actually see my reply, assuming you left a working email]; I’m not sure I’ll manage replies to these ones, only because I feel them very deeply and am having trouble finding words, even after looking under the couch cushions. But truly, deeply, thank you all.
I’ve been doing some thinking about what made me fall apart so very much just then. Certainly, the things I mentioned in the post itself — sick, sad Bean; lack of sun and exercise; insomnia (WTF?); cetera — are part of the answer, but a few other things have come to mind, to whit:
- That pesky anniversary thing. Several of you have mentioned bad stuff coming up around a year after birth. For that matter, many of you (too many) have talked about renewed sadness and upset around the anniversaries of losses. How that part of my mind knows what time of year it is, I don’t know, but I think maybe this is part of what’s going on. Here’s hoping the outburst at 11 months is somehow protective and that the Bean’s birthday will be only joy.
- PMS — Okay, I did mention this one, but it makes the list anyway because I’m curious to know whether any of you who have had babies think your PMS has changed. I think mine has, and I’m hoping it’s partly because of the nursing-related hormone roller coaster and will therefore GTFH eventually. I’ve always…felt intensely about PMS. Feeling fat and moaning about same was, given the uncertainties of my cycle, pretty much how I knew it was time to buy pads; some light crying on the last day inevitable; weeping not wholly out of the question. But it did not used to ravage me so thoroughly. Crying, yes; sobbing, not so much until now. (And just in time to try not to scare another creature with unpredictable behavior!) These days…damn. Anyone else?
- Another thing that’s new is the kind and character of my period pain. It’s been creeping back. Every month I nurse a little less and I bleed a lot more and things hurt. I didn’t expect being pregnant to cure my endometriosis any more than it cured my mother’s or than adulthood cured the asthma of anyone in my family, but I can’t help having hoped a little. At least so far there have been no visitations of the dreaded GI/endo horrors which I positively cannot take care of a child during. (I remember thinking on the infamous cab ride to the hospital that, while what was happening was very painful, I had been in worse pain many times and survived. It’s like that.) I’m not surprised that the pain is coming back, but what I am surprised about is how it has changed. I’ve always been in pretty bad shape from the sternum down during my period, with belly, hips, back, and legs all hurting in one way or another, but the hip pain in particular has shifted from being something that I mostly noticed when trying to sleep on my side to being constant, beginning even before my period. It also feels different, like someone is standing behind me, digging curled fingers around the front of my hip bones and then pulling out and back. My hips and legs also get strangely tired and loose-feeling walking long distances during my period, the way they did at the end of pregnancy and especially after birth. It and the back pain are all-too reminiscent of giving birth, which I think makes me a little panicky and upset even before it’s strong enough that I’m thinking about it consciously. I’m curious to know whether any of you who’ve given birth and/or been pregnant have noticed anything similar. (I’m trying not to exclude anyone who’d like to answer but also trying not to be all trigger-y; please forgive inability to find a better way to ask.) And, you know, whether it ever went away. Also, pain med suggestions happily accepted. I was so happy, post the cervix-puncturing HSG, that my pain had gone down so much that I could use Advil instead of Aleve, as Advil takes a week to really tear up my stomach while Aleve only needs two days, but this month I found myself taking half a percocet one night, and taking the other half an hour later.
The other, happier realization I’ve had about all this mess is that it is not strictly true that, as I had been thinking, I’m stuck on this. It seems that way, but I think what’s really going on is that I’m slow, not stuck. I wish I were done turning this over in my head, that I had successfully turned the whole story into an empowering narrative of personal triumph and joy and unicorn poop
[pause for unicorn poop cookies. These Exist.]
…but the fact that I haven’t been able to do that yet, it has finally occurred to me, doesn’t mean I’ve been doing nothing.
It took me six weeks to even begin to accept that I was upset at all; that’s what the hysterical crying that began after Dr. Russian told me off in my post partum visit and continued for another day and a half was all about. (And that there was some Crying, let me tell you. People in midtown Manhattan do not stop crying people walking down the street to tell them it will be okay; it is just not done. But they did me. And then this weird subway con-artist regular manhandled my baby on the 42nd Street shuttle. Great day.) Until then, I was fumbling around, wondering why I felt ashamed of myself, assuming who suggested that I had Encountered Assholes was just misunderstanding the situation. I think that’s called denial.
Since then, I’ve gone through some valleys of despair, it’s true, but I’m starting to look around and think that maybe it’s not all the same valley. They tend to look the same — being so shadowy and all — but maybe I’m not going in circles but just on a very long walk, one that ends somewhere with unicorn poop cookies.
(Okay, probably not. But the disco dust part of those cookies isn’t really for eating, and I’d be much happier with a nice red wine and chocolate.)