Sunday, January 18, 2009

Absence makes the heart

Sam is showing new signs of stranger anxiety. It passes relatively quickly, but, for the first time, he's doing all the "I want Mama!" behaviors.

Is it screwy that I find this so gratifying, being needed so intensely? While simultaneously worrying that he'll be plagued by the separation anxiety that I'm told I had as a toddler...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Something fishy

I mentioned a few posts ago that in November, I had a run-in with something that felt all too much like post-partum depression. The sudden onset made it seem like a physical event, one compounded by stress and the waning daylight. When the waves hit, I felt like I was looking through a window at a happy life---baby, good marriage, good job---and wholly disconnected from it all. The P&L sheet of my life seemed heavy on losses; any gains felt insubstantial. And then the guilt! of feeling so ungrateful, when I'd finally gotten what I wanted!

So we went on a vacation, and that helped a lot, and it eased my fear that I was on some kind of downward spiral. And then, when we got back, I stumbled across Moxie talking about fish oil as the miracle supplement for new moms---the theory being that your brain gets depleted as the fetus/baby basically sucks the fatty acids from your brain---and remembering an old bottle in the medicine cabinet, I popped a few. They worked. They really worked! I just felt like...myself. More even and relaxed and sane. So I looked around at research exploring the relationship between EPA (fatty acids) and mood. Adam's uncle, a psychiatrist, told me that he recommends fish oil to all his patients, and takes 4000mg himself (I take 3600).

Why hadn't I heard this before? Could I have lessened the post-miscarriage crash if I had known about this then? All the therapy sessions, making meaning of the grief, fear, and pain -- it wasn't worthless. Spiritual growth and all that. But could I have skirted the worst of it?

Eh. No point dwelling. The point is that I've gone down another step on the Celexa without any problems. I hope the trend continues.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


The holidays were good, but so busy. For some reason, we agreed to travel three times -- first to my parents' house, which is less than 2 hours away. Then down South to visit Adam's family -- a three-hour flight. Then home for two days, followed by another trip to my parents' to celebrate the New Year with my sister and her family. By the middle of the second trip, I was cranky. By the third, I was resentful -- of my family, even of Sam.

Sometimes, especially when I'm tired, it seems so much easier to meet the relentlessness of motherhood by just erasing myself. It's so much simpler and more efficient -- not juggling, just giving in. No real decisions to be made or priorities to be weighed, just a quick response to the most immediate in-my-face demands. Throw my job in the mix and it's easy to spend all my time merely reacting. And there is something oddly satisfying about being self-less. You don't realize what a burden it is to be a full human being until you get a break from it. But then the burnout sets in. Then I remember that martyrdom isn't much of a strategy. Damn.

Sam has picked up some really cool tricks lately. He can transfer Cheerios and Puffs to his toothless mouth. It's an inexact process, leaving him with three or four puffs stuck to his drooly chin before he gets one in the goal. But he is so proud of it, and I'm even cocky enough to think that we might be able to go out for Chinese and both eat food at the same time.

He also likes to clap, sort of. He slaps his hand down on my hand, making a nice thwack sound. Doesn't do it with his own two hands yet. I think the payoff isn't big enough, since baby hands don't make much noise. We're all about efficiency these days.