The World of Emotions
Trying to distill postpartum emotions into only four distinct feelings is no easy feat. For one, where pregnancy looniness ends and baby induced brain fatigue begins is blurry -- there's a lot of overlap, and my aim in this was to capture all of the changes triggered by the birth of my little girl.
Beyond that, it's just a tricky exercise. As much as I long to live in a Netflix-like world full of overly specific genres, trying to neatly categorize the complexities of my perceptions is hard. The spectrum of emotions is like a gradient gently fading from one into another. P.S. If you’re curious, The Matrix has the distinct honor of being the only Critically-acclaimed Sci-Fi & Fantasy movie. You’re welcome.
I also tortured myself wondering if I was even justified in having these emotions. Are they real? Am I amplifying nothing? Is this valid compared to what other people experience? Ah, the chasms of my mind. Echo. Echo. Echo.
In the end what I landed on was a collection that included some real classics — worry, isolation, irritation, and guilt (so much guilt). The rationale: I figured I must be doing it all wrong, found the only long term company I could maintain was my daughter’s, stewed about it (and everything else), and then got down on myself for everything I was doing and wasn’t doing.
To my earlier point, these emotions weren't magically born when Edie was, or even emerge while I was carrying her. We’re actually old friends crossing paths via new circumstances, complete with an updated look. And because we seem to be in a committed dysfunctional relationship they’re hard to shake and tend to feed on one another -- in particular guilt which is a hulking beast continually powered by the buffet of my imbalanced thoughts.
As I write this I'm recognizing it's all a bit heavier than I have at times been willing to admit to myself. It truly has been (is) the hardest part. All these things -- wearing a new body, seeing some of it fall out, caring for a child for the first time, managing other relationships -- ultimately connect to an impression, a reaction, a way of internalizing, and then a need to understand how to make it better.
I became someone full of contradiction -- wanting help and to succeed on my own, fear -- of failure or failing because I didn't question my fear, and fatigue -- dreaming that the next sleep fixed the drain. In the months that continue to pass there is a silent untangling in moments of solitude, and I count on the day it will all evaporate and hope no-one will have noticed it was ever there. I need to recognize this part of the journey, but I’m not sure yet if I wear the badges with honor.