Monday, May 19, 2014

baby delights and my enormous thighs

Every minute spent on this blog has a soundtrack of TYPE FASTER; THE BABY IS STIRRING, in the manner of SWIM FASTER; THE KRAKEN IS RISING. So revisions are tending not to happen, and you're getting just my stream-of-consciousness and its attendant excessive parentheses here. Lucky you!

Perdita's not, by any means, always screaming when she's awake; sometimes she just lies there with her huge eyes open, happily looking around or eating her hands. I actually feel the guiltiest about neglecting her during those times, because I should be shoving educational toys in her face or singing her counting songs in Spanish, even though it's clear she's perfectly content to stare at me or the dog or the wireless router (we finally figured out that one of her swings calms her not because of the swinging, or the mobile, or the various sound effects, but because from it she can see the blinking lights on the router and they hypnotize her). And she knows very well I am not the singer in the family (or the Spanish-speaker, for that matter). 

I have twenty pounds to lose, and am being as rational and self-caring about that as you can imagine: in other words, a lunatic. I am eating normally, because I will hopefully never be insane enough to not know that adding hunger to hormones, and sleep deprivation, and an occasionally inconsolable infant, and the discombobulating experience of not having been to my job in a month, is the shortest route to sobbing in the fetal position on the bathroom floor (okay, maybe not there, since housecleaning has sufficiently fallen by the wayside that you could probably contract polio from our bathmat at this point). But when I went to the Chain Baby Store yesterday, I looked at the women buying equivalent-sized clothes or diapers to the ones I was buying, and they were all thinner than I, and I hated myself for it. (Berowne pointed out later that someone buying a newborn-sized onesie could, in fact, be buying it as a gift, and not be the person who gave birth to that newborn. This was far too logical for me to accept.) 

(Yes, although we keep her in cloth at home, we use paper diapers overnight and when we take her places. And we are still supplementing my breastfeeding and pumping with formula. We're monsters and they should take her away!)

The twenty pounds is especially frustrating because it's largely not in the belly (that's actually shrinking pretty quickly): it's in my thighs, hips, butt, and love handles, meaning that I can't wear any pre-pregnancy pants yet. And I know that all of you are saying, "Well, of course you aren't your old pants size at four weeks postpartum; have some damn patience, lady," but I'm so discouraged by still wearing maternity jeans or yoga pants all the time. And I can't afford a whole new wardrobe, so I need to be able to fit into my old work clothes by early July, when I go back to the office. 

I know, I know: this body grew a person! It's amazing and beautiful and should be honored! On the other hand: I am wearing yoga pants in public. I have enough love for working out and for symbolic transformations in general that I honestly think I'd be excited about a twenty-pound challenge, in a weird way (for a couple years pre-pregnancy, I was exercising to maintain, and it got a little boring), if only it were distributed differently enough that I had wider wardrobe options in the meantime. But such is the nature of the beast, and I'll manage. 

She is wonderful, and this experience is wonderful, and Berowne is wonderful - I knew that already, but going though pregnancy and labor with him by my side, and watching him with our daughter, have made me love and appreciate him even more. We make a good team. 

The books:

It Sucked and Then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, a Breakdown, and a Much Needed Margarita, by Heather Armstrong. I used to enjoy Armstrong's blog ( about five years ago, before it became all about home decor and how much money she has and how many people work for her (lately it has been, even more unfortunately, about her "paleo" diet, which she proselytizes fanatically), and before her sense of humor became repetitive. I decided to check out her book about postpartum depression, because it's from seven or eight years back and so might be interesting. Her depression and breakdown, despite the title, are only addressed in about two chapters of the book, and I found that I quite liked the book as a whole, possibly because her experiences of pregnancy and labor were exactly like mine (huge, uncomfortable, infuriated by "radiant pregnancy" tropes; induced, epidural, episiotomy) and she was funny as hell about those things. I whipped through it in the brief breaks from the baby screaming, alone with her on a Friday night (Berowne's band had a show), and it was the perfect mix of solidarity and humor to get me through the evening.

Gracefully Insane: Life and Death Inside America's Premier Mental Hospital, by Alex Beam. A history of Massachusetts' McLean Hospital and of the trends in mental health care throughout the centuries. Fairly interesting but not overly memorable.

Weekends at Bellevue: Nine Years on the Night Shift at the Psych ER, by Julie Holland. Too much about Holland, who is pretty smug, and not enough about actually working at Bellevue. Also her writing is nothing special. 

The Quality of Mercy, by Barry Unsworth. The sequel to Sacred Hunger, which I thought was a pretty amazing novel. This one is not as good, though still very well written and intriguing. The infodumping is just done so clumsily that it distracted from almost everything else, though (not a chapter passes without some character given supposedly informal dialogue about the slave trade or the legal system or coal mining which is basically a paragraph lifted entire from a series of very dry history books, and which lands like a ton of bricks). 

And now I really must run because, according to Perdita, hiccups are the Worst Thing in the World (as are being dressed, being undressed, and having one's hat fall over one's eyes, among many other things), and I must put on some pants of shame so we can go for a hopefully-distracting walk. 

1 comment:

  1. hiccups. dip wet bottle nipple in sugar bowl. This works.