At our prenatal class back in November, we were told not to worry about anything other than simply surviving the first six weeks with the baby. Things would get better after that, the nurse said. We passed six weeks in mid-February, and I guess things are “better” in that we’re now more accustomed to having another little person in the house. It feels more normal than discombobulating, except for those times when it still is more discombobulating than normal.
At the beginning when it was all new, I was convinced I would remember every single thing because it was so radically different from the days before, but even those first days are slipping between my fingers. I realize now how dazed I was then. My body felt more foreign than it did when I was hugely pregnant. The c-section incision, breastfeeding. Something about labour made my vision temporarily blurry and my ankles, which had stayed their normal size during pregnancy, swelled up for a week or two afterwards. I was also afraid I would walk past the stairs and somehow tumble down them while holding Clara. How was I so sure that I wouldn’t trip and drop her? Those fears seem strange now; she’s sturdier and bigger and I’m sturdier too, I suppose.
This month we started giving her bottles so that Andrew could feed her and I could leave the house alone for longer than two hour stretches. I went out to dinner, I went grocery shopping, I saw Roxane Gay read and speak. Before all of this I wondered what it would be like to go out in the world without the baby. I would miss her, wouldn’t I? The truth is that I wasn’t sad to be away from her. I was happy, actually, almost giddy. Not because I was away from her, although the breaks did feel good, but because I knew she was there, at home and waiting for me to return. How amazing that was, this knowledge that my baby was now a part of the real world, that she was no longer theoretical, something that lived only in my head, but a separate creature who existed even without my presence. My body, though, recognizes the absence differently. If I’m away from her for more than two hours, my breasts start feeling full – my body knows its obligations.
- I’m back to reviewing cookbooks over at Bookslut. This month I looked at Prune and Twelve Recipes, and loved both of them, even though Prune is kind of impossible to cook from.