Thursday, July 31, 2014

Post-Natal Nihilism: The Liberation of Motherhood

Today I went through the drive-through at a nearby frozen-custard spot twice within a half-hour.

I say that not just to brag-- although, yes, I'm kind of a baller-- or to point out how good frozen custard really is.  I say that because I live in the fire now; the earth is my frying pan.

The apparently overwhelmed girl at the custard stand was not so flustered that she didn't notice.  Nearly out of breath from racing around the stand, she mustered what was left to say, "Oh, you came back!" as she ran my credit card.  There was no follow-up or pause for me to defend, and I just didn't. 

A super-cute picture, but oh god I looked tired.
A few months ago, I went to see my psychiatrist for the quarterly med-check, just after Evie arrived.  When I sat down with a nurse to do the initial paperwork, I passed on everything with a dead-eyed answer: "New mom."

Nurse: "How's your memory and concentration?"
Me: "New mom."

Nurse: "How many hours do you sleep on average each night?"
Me, wryly: "New mom."

Nurse: "Appetite?"
Me: "New mom."

Everything scatters by the wayside, in my experience, when you have a newborn.  Checking text messages, let alone replying, was completely out of the question in Evie's first few weeks.  Voicemail?  Fuck that shit.  I could eat three untoasted bagels in front of guests without offering or explaining.

Again, cute, with nursing top and tragic under-eye circles
Now things are settling down: Evie is napping for longer, happily nursing (so requiring less pumping and bottle-washing), operating on some semblance of a schedule, and able to entertain herself for 10-minute stretches.  I don't fear the moment she wakes up and cries hoarsely while someone rushes to warm a bottle.  When she begins to stir, I pull her into the bed, she eats, and I put her back in her bassinet.  Worst thing that happens is my back hurts.

The fearlessness remains, though.  If that custard girl thinks I'm disgusting and weird for getting custard twice, so be it.  There was a three-month-old sleeping in the back seat, so: "New mom."  If I go to the grocery store in a too-snug nursing tank and people think my boobs are showing: "New mom."

Heather has gone out to dinner with her homegirls, taking our wee tiny homegirl along, and I have approximately an hour and a half to myself.  (Yes, again, kind of a baller.)  When they went out the door, I watched the end of an episode of "The Colbert Report" at full volume.  Then I got in the shower.  It was amazing.  I stopped to put on lotion. 

It occurred to me in so doing that I used to be vigilant about showering each morning.  I didn't like to put clean clothes on a dirty body, plus short hair usually goes cattywampus overnight.  Alas, I can't think of the last time I went somewhere having showered the same day.  I've never been able to pre-shower for Mommy & Me yoga.  That I was able to put on a non-nursing dress to go to Costco-- a clean dress on a clean body-- is a special occasion akin to a miracle.  When I put on a black bra (albeit a nursing bra) under the black dress, I let my mind wander over the past, when I assiduously coordinated undergarments to outfits: nude, lined bras for white shirts; racerback for racerback; pretty straps if they're going to show.  I was lazy about it in my personal time, but going out anywhere, it was important.  Today, I only wear dowdy nursing bras and it doesn't matter if they show.

None of this is meant to be superior.  I don't think my life is more important now, or that I have a better sense of what really matters, blah blah blah.  I miss those trivialities.  I wish I could  both shower and put on clean clothes before interacting with the public.  I wish I could do that in the morning.  Instead, I take a 7pm shower and put on clean clothes for a Costco run and calculate how I'm going to take them off in time to prevent a hungry infant from crying. 

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