Friday, July 07, 2017

let me unpack my baggage.

The inertia of antepartum/antenatal depression has sat deep with me for a long time now.  Come the birth of this baby in November/December, I will have lived with it for 54 months - over 4 1/2 solid years of my life.  As with any other kind of depression, it's impossible to adequately explain to someone who hasn't dealt with a swift and inexplicable identity warp.  Suddenly I'm not myself.  I become this whole other person, who is certainly less likable from the inside and must be reproachable from the outside.  My malaise and my self loathing feed each other ravenously, and I slink further and further inside my exhausted discontent, and look forward to delivery, and to feeling human again.

Years ago Stephmodo talked about how she lost friends during pregnancies, and I feel like this is a good way to frame the fact that I haven't been able to maintain friendships through mine.  I feel like such a worthless leech, that it's easier to just disappear.  Unfortunately this has the effect of shrinking one's support system when one most needs it and is thus super self-defeating.  Lesson learned, but challenge not overcome.  I am one of the more isolated and lonely adults I know. (For at least a dozen reasons).  For every time a desperate prayer for help or companionship is answered, there are hundreds of times they go unanswered.  Me and my bootstraps, we are intimate.

I don't know how to describe what it feels like to be so sick and drained that the effort it takes to care and intervene on matters that matter becomes too much.  You know how the world stops when you get a severe stomach bug?  And when you start to function a few days later there are pieces to pick up?  The world can't stop for 8-10 months at a time, especially with kids to parent.  So you drag your sorry behind through the muck of hours and weeks, mostly stumbling through it and stopping at the bare minimum bar to gulp for air and regroup and try to get your heart rate down and stop seeing stars.  The discouragement that comes from being such a shell of one's self breeds rabid and dogged self-loathing.  I am old and dog-eared enough to be a proponent of being kind to one's self, but I have not managed to clear this hurdle. There are very real consequences to such subpar parenting, housekeeping, and wife-ing, and I live with them and I see them and I hate them.

So it is, that other than the "break" I gave myself after Bunny was born to complete my Masters program, I have next to nothing to show for myself for the last 11+ years of my life.  I have yo-yoed between living in this perma-slump and doing damage control from it, and have not managed much of a momentum forward.

The point of all this being, I cannot go on gestating indefinitely. This really needed to be the last time.  My older children need some memories of a functional mother. And some better parenting, before they take flight. Wanting and needing to be done is not just me not wanting to do it again, or not enjoying hard things.  This is weighing the needs of all of our family members and finding that there's a limit to how much incapacitated mom everyone else can survive.

Plus prioritizing self-care, and treating myself like an actual human (one worth loving) seems like a good idea if I want to survive the coming teenage years.

But now I'm stuck without the closure I hoped for if I take that leap and close this chapter.  How many more baby boys would I have to have to get to a bookending girl?  If the largest concern was a peer for Bunny, how far apart in age would they end up anyway (defeating that purpose).  I can't help feeling (though is it just sour grapes?) that if God didn't want Vera to have a sister this time, he must not want her to have one at all (which decimates me) and I could try to the ends of the earth to birth one, but I would only bankrupt and alienate my family.

The best thing I can do is accept and adjust and roll. Not there yet, but headed that direction.

All while hopped up on hormones and nausea and anemic malaise.  Can't fail, that.  Bootstraps, bootstraps, bootstraps.

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