Falling From a High
“Mommy, did you cry when I was born?”
Where did that question come from? Is it because I cry at most of our family meetings? Should I tell him the truth? Why wouldn’t I tell him the truth?
“No. I didn’t cry when you were born. (Feeling guilty for some odd reason. I expected to cry. I’d seen everyone cry after their natural births. Where were my tears?) I was actually in shock. I was really scared I wouldn’t know how to take care of you.”
(And mostly thinking, thank GOD that’s over…no more pushing, no more finger sticks 4 times a day, no more counting carbs and restricting my diet…)
I flash back to what was supposed to be the best time of my life, but turned out to be the darkest time of my life. The emotional rollercoaster was draining. I was used to a faster pace of life; running from errand to errand, checking boxes off like crazy.
I was shocked to realize I was moving at a sloth pace. Getting out of the car, walking across the parking lot to the store required I sit down on a bench for a bit to gather my energy. I leaned my head back against the wall and could barely keep one eye on my baby.
Once my husband went back to work, I didn’t think I could do anything by myself. I didn’t trust myself to take care of my baby and myself. I was overcome by fear that I never left the house. In the home, I was constantly reminded of the things I COULDN’T do. I had no energy to do them. I was sleep deprived and couldn’t satisfy the hunger in my belly.
I can’t wash the dishes, or fold the laundry, or cook, or clean, or shower. I can’t leave the apartment. I can’t get him to stop crying. My confidence was shattered, leaving me feeling ashamed, powerless and out of control.
At 5 weeks old, a childhood friend of mine became an innocent casualty of gang violence. H was at the wrong place at the wrong time.
He always greeted me with the biggest hugs. Though we’d gone our separate ways after high school, we’d meet up at home on college holidays and pick up where we left off. We’d get in my car and drive around our hometown late into the night, aimlessly, just so we could catch up.
I quickly went through all the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. Childbirth was one kind of pain I couldn’t fathom before, and now this. I’ve lost grandparents before, which was sad, but this was a totally different painful sad.