Hallo Wean Us From Our Childhoods

Here we are!! The weekend before Halloween; let the parties begin. Annnnnd here we go-

 A). I hate these underwear costumes that  make me want to rip off my own flesh and probably jump off a first floor balcony. Why is this the gold standard of Halloween now. 

Hi! Yep… I’m dressed as a hooker. We live just down the street. This is my daughter, she’s four. I know, so hard being a good role model for our girls these days.

B). I’ll be someone I admire. Who do I. admire. Who… do I…. admire….

C). Ok I need to just pick something. This one will make me so hot and sweaty and angry all night, not happening. This one would fit, but I really didn’t want to dress up as a giant tooth. Giant hot dog, no. Giant banana, no. 

D). Wouldn’t be able to sit down.
E). Wouldn’t be able to stand up. 
F). This part I would have to use safety pins for because, safety. 

G). Who are they kidding with these tights? Where is Wonder Woman already, I need to kick her- 

H). Wait am I in the underwear section again?

I). Oh no, my bad. My bad. I’m in the youth girls section. 

J). Alright I’m done. 

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Get a Little Mud on Your Forehead

Has writing deleted my sense of humor? When I decided to start doing this, I figured some of what I write about will be funny, and some of it would be introspective. Basically me, on paper. But it’s like the funny is shut down. Like someone draped a big gray cover over top of it. Closed for the season. Thanks for your business. See you next summer.

Which is fine I guess. I like introspective writing. I don’t have a problem with that. I guess I’m just surprised. Maybe disappointed. Introspective writing feels more journalistic and less for an audience, like I’d intended. The funnier stuff writes itself long before my fingers even hit the keys. It’s a box. It fits nicely. If a word is wrong or something doesn’t sound right; I can usually snap it back right away. Clean that up, andddddd done.

But this quiet, voice inside my head writing is like digging through mud. Up the wrists and almost to the elbows in mud. And it’s slowww. And the mud keeps falling back down into the hole. And right now I just face-planted on top of the mud pile. It’s kind of gross. But it’s cool here, down closer to the earth. And if anyone was to happen by and catch me with my forehead stuck to the ground, I’m not even embarrassed, bro. I feel like it’s the perfect expression of where I’m at. I’m at face stuck to the mud. Hi. My name is Lisa and my face is stuck in the mud.

I’m guessing some people get their feet stuck in the mud sometimes right. But your face. Man that’s like as intimate as it gets. If your face is literally embracing the earth’s guts in such a way, you might be an adult. What’s the worst that could happen anyway. I mean mud getting up your nose, right. I’m being serious. Like mud in your mouth or your eyes would be awful, but mud up your nose would be awful AND panic-inducing. Because, breathing.

What if though, I laid down. Fully. In the mud. What, I can shower after. And anyway, it’s IMAGERY. So then would laying down (fully) in the mud mean a). I’ve lost it or, b). I’ve… found it. It’s sticky and thick and you can crumble it or lather it. It’s cool and the sun is kind of leaving me be. You can dig or make mud snowmen, or maybe even bowls like with pottery. I think I’d just want to crumble it; the parts that are kind of drying up on the top, but still moist enough to manipulate. I think those would be my favorite. Once I got past the fact of this whole thing.

But wait what is it about the concept of the mud face-plant that doesn’t actually feel all that unusual? Have I been here before? Is it possible I’ve actually been here my whole life? And is it also possible it’s actually becoming this really engaging metaphor for feeling life?

Is anyone else forehead down in the mud with me? Come on. It’s actually not so bad. We’ll make mud snowmen and make sure to keep it out of our noses. The sun’s still up, albeit on our backs.

Let’s go #teammud #adultmoments #okaydontleavemeherebymyself

The Truth

The moment our daughter was born was the greatest moment of my life. The physical pain of labor had started to subside, I saw that she was healthy and adorable, and I realized that I had survived. They cleaned her up quickly and laid her down on my chest. I looked down at her and rubbed her little back. “Oh, it’s okay baby. Don’t cry. You’re okay. Hi! I’m Mommy!”

Then I sank. At the time of course I didn’t realize I was sinking. A few seconds after they laid her in my arms I said, “Okay, baby, the nurses are gonna have to take you now to get you all measured.” The baby nurse smiled at me and said, “Oh, no, mama! Not yet! You can hold her for a while longer!” And I froze.

I… didn’t want to hold her.

I looked forward to becoming pregnant my entire life. When my husband and I met and got serious, I squealed with joy (internally) at the prospect that the future was coming! The doors were opening! All the “you’ll just have to waits” were running close to their expiration dates. My life could now begin!

When I became pregnant I was so happy, so blissful, so relieved, so hopeful. I could not wait to meet this little one. It was the greatest feeling on earth.

So when I first realized I didn’t want to hold my newborn daughter, the first thought I had was Well. Okay. It’s. Just. Because. I. Am. So. Tired. My body was worn, as all of our bodies are after we give birth. I got myself back together (literally) and they placed her in my arms to and we were wheeled up to my room. I passed the smiling faces of nurses as we headed down the hallway. I felt their warmth around me; their pride for us and our little family; and for what they do.

Once we got ourselves settled into our room, I placed her down in the plastic crib next to my bed and ordered myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Periodically the nurses came in throughout the night to check on us. I nursed without a problem and properly documented when we did so, just as they asked me to. Perrrrfection.

My husband settled off to some sort of sleep in the corner of the room and I turned on the television. I didn’t hold her at all that night. I mean, I did what I needed to do, but that was it. The next few days flew by; visitors, information, and soon; it was time to go home.

We wrapped her tiny self up into the car seat and headed home; not without first stopping at Starbucks (husband). Woo hoo we made it!

I’m going to share some of the thoughts I had over the course of the next six months. Having worked in mental health my entire career, I knew these thoughts weren’t alright. But, I figured, I’m handling it. If it gets to the point where I can’t do what needs to be done, then I’ll ask for help. I’m alright. I’m alright.

What have I done; there’s no turning back now.

Why did I have a baby. I can’t do this.

I wish I hadn’t gotten pregnant.

If she doesn’t stop screaming, I don’t know what I’m going to do.

I don’t like holding her; she’s always pushing back and stiffening up. I don’t like to hold my baby.

She’s crying. I wish someone else would hold her. I don’t want to do this anymore.

I don’t want to go home. Once I get home I’m trapped with her again.

Is he (husband) kidding when he just walks in here while I’ve been nursing for six hours straight and announces he’s going to go to the store.

I’m literally trapped in this bed. She won’t stop screaming. I wish I hadn’t had her.

I can’t do this anymore.

I want to throw her out the window. Is it bad that I can actually imagine myself getting up right now and doing it. Am I losing my mind. Why am I feeling this way. I wanted this. I wanted her. More than anything. How horrible of a person must I be. I wish I hadn’t done this and now there’s no going back. And yet I’m looking at the window right now.

And that’s the truth. That’s the truth of how the first six months of my daughter’s life went. And I loved her. More than anything in the world; I loved her. I knew on some level that my thinking was seriously distorted. I talked to a few friends, family, and to Craig. I told them how I was really doing. I listened as they shared their stories with me, admitted their worst moments, and their vulnerabilities.

Finally I talked with my doctor and told him The Truth, and he prescribed me medication to help get through it.

See the thing is, I knew I *shouldn’t be ashamed.* I knew that post-partum depression was *common and needed to be talked about honestly.* But still, I didn’t talk. Still I felt weak, inadequate, lazy, selfish, and ungrateful. And those feelings I couldn’t stomach; the shame. So many people wanting babies who couldn’t have them; so many kiddos who needed strong, secure parents that weren’t available to them. And here I was, a gigantic ball, for no reason other than hormones and a driving need for perfection.

So, talk. Talk to me, talk to your friend, your mom, your sister, your aunt, your friend at work, your DOCTOR. Talk. You aren’t ruining your little one’s life; you’re recognizing your sensitivities. You can’t take the crying? Sister, I KNOW. Put the little one down safely in the crib on his or her back and take yourself a moment a few rooms across the house. Or six moments. Or call someone to come over and take seventeen moments. At Target. Or Starbucks. Don’t be ashamed. DON’T BE ASHAMED to ask for help. Oh, and also, if you haven’t felt this way, also don’t be ashamed. Parenthood impacts us all so differently. And dads too. Dads may need a hand or seven hands also. They know how to ask for help for themselves even less than we do.

It’s four and a half years later now, and the meeting of a newborn baby is STILL both exhilarating and really scary for me. Still. I love little people; they’ve been my life’s work. But newborns overwhelm me.

And that’s The Truth.

But four year olds? And their sass and their fierceness and their wit? Four year olds I can do. It does get better. It does get easier, and it has.

But it starts with talking, and asking for help.