More friends

Today was a really nice day. It had all the makings for a really difficult day, in that Frederick was up every 1.5 hours to nurse and I was beyond exhausted by the time his Daddy and big brother left this morning (although not before thoroughly waking little brother).

Fortunately I was able to get him settled down and we both napped on the couch for a couple hours. It saved the day! It’s probably the slippery slope into the never-neverland of only falling asleep in Mama’s arms, but hey, it saved the day. We live in moments, not months, at this point.

I’ve been anticipating the visit of my friend, Jeanette, and her new baby girl, Madeline. Madeline was born in early July and the family lives on the East coast, so I haven’t seen Jeanette or her husband for a long time. And I was anxious to meet their stunning baby girl. But Jeanette’s text at 10:30 am caught me off-guard because she said she was ready. I had like a movie moment. How much could I get done in 20 minutes???

But fortunately, Jeanette and her cousin Robin weren’t in a big hurry and they arrived after I had showered and managed to sweep away most of the clutter and what-not. It was great to see all three of them. I still can’t believe she was up, dressed, hair and make up looking perfect and her baby was equally well-dressed and they both smelled so good by 10:30 am!! Frederick and I were clean and had on clean clothes, but make up hasn’t touched this face since the last day I worked. And I don’t think a half-dry bun counts as “doing your hair.”

Not only that, but Miss Jeanette is in the middle of selling her house and buying a new one in a different state while her husband starts a new job. Did I mention that she and Madeline travelled by themselves on this trip? Truly amazing!

Jeanette and Robin brought over lunch and it was just really nice to hang out like that. With two empathetic ladies whose arms were open to holding the little guy when I needed to wash my hands.

We talked briefly about how moving away from family for jobs or other reasons can make having a newborn especially trying. How the weird hours that you sleep makes well-intentioned friends shy away from disturbing you. How the short maternity leaves makes for little overlap, if at all, with other friends’ leaves. How little value our society places on women supporting women in these times. And I think one of the biggest problems of all, the *mythology* that women (and men) perpetuate that this newborn experience is so joy-filled that it should melt away all the anxieties and cares and sleep-deprivation and loss of self and lack of connectedness … That it will be this cosmic lovefest and nursing and motherhood and all that should be second nature. I bought into that line of thinking after Henry was born. I just didn’t know any better.

I was hormone-addled and sleep-deprived. I slept too much or not at all. I cried a lot. I was totally overwhelmed and had many many symptoms of post-partum depression. But I didn’t have the faculties to do anything about it. And I felt shame about asking for help.

But I digress. Jeanette seems to be handling all of her stressors well and I’m happy to report that this time around I am feeling significantly better and that fear of repeating the past made me put together a strategy before I needed it. More about that another time. But part of my strategy was to connect with friends in person on a regular basis. And so I really appreciate all those who we have seen and those we will see and those who support us through email or phone calls or Skype or Facebook… We thank you!

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