This morning I woke to falling snow, and I almost started to weep. I don’t know what I had been thinking, but it went something like this: I will have a baby, and we will be in the hospital for a few days, and when we are discharged, it will suddenly be spring. I was born and raised in Minnesota, so this line of thinking is obviously delusional, but I had really convinced myself that it was going to happen this way, so snow now feels especially brutal.
But even if it were warm (I’m only talking 50 degrees and sunny), where would I go? I still can’t drive, and it’s still cold and flu season here, so I don’t really want to take this baby out in public anyway. And I can’t walk very far (no more than around the block) or my incision begins to hurt. So I’m trapped inside, watching the snow cover rooftops and the ground, wishing away this weather, and wishing I felt normal. (How I would love to put this baby in a stroller and walk for hours along the river with the sun on my back!)
Tell me, how does one feel normal after giving birth? I’m disgusting, people—milky and bloody and sweating so much at night that I’m convinced I’m going through menopause. On days that Stella is in preschool, it’s easier. At least I can nap when Zoe naps (something I was never able to do with Stella, who never slept and who I had to hold 24 hours a day), but then Stella comes home and throws a tantrum and/or breaks my heart with one of her big-sister adjustment phrases: “You don’t love me anymore” or “I wish I were a baby so I could always be with you.” She’s killing me, and I spend half the time feeling guilty because I’m irritated with her and the other half of the time feeling sad because I know how hard it must be to have to share her parents’ attention for the first time in her life.
Oh woe. I also feel guilty because I do feel depressed. How in the world can I be depressed after that birth? How can I be depressed with a baby who is such a stellar sleeper and eater? Oh, I know about the hormones raging through my body. I understand their power. And I wish I could just be happy to spend the day sitting inside, watching the crows gather on my neighbor’s rooftop, pecking at the fresh snow. The problem is that I have never been good at sitting still. I want to walk, to breathe fresh air, to look up at a blue sky. I want to lug this baby around town, to go biking with Stella, to run again.
I know these things will come in time, but I want to be well enough to do them now, and I want the weather to cooperate. Even if I could sit outside for a bit under a sunny sky, I think I would feel better. Damn hormones. Damn snow.
That I feel this way now makes it seem impossible that I made it through 5 months of winter trapped inside after Stella was born. I almost went crazy, true, but we made it through that, so certainly I can make it through the next few weeks without losing my mind, no?