My brother and his wife had a baby about 3 weeks ago. I went and saw them a few days after the birth, and then yesterday I learn that my brother was in a car-accident.

He has been drinking again.

And apparently taking her prescription pain pills.

And they have been separated for a week.

My heart hurts so much. I am looking at pictures of him holding his sweet daughter and I can’t help but ache for him, and his daughter, and his wife, and the pain that addiction brings into our lives here on Earth. To be honest, their relationship is tumultous at best, volatile at worst, with a combination of her bi-polar and his addictions, but it’s always been the two of them working through it. They’ve been separated more times that I could probably count in the short 5 years of their marriage.

But now there’s a baby involved.

A sweet, innocent bundle of dark hair and love, that is here on Earth experiencing turmoil from the beginning. I feel sad. And angry. Angry at my brother for his choices, at his wife for hers, at God and the World for all of the pain we must endure in this lifetime.

I look at my sleeping boy and think back to times when Post Partum Depression has raised its ugly head within me, and the stress that Boof and I have been in, and under, with work and life and love, and yet this pain we have experienced in our own little world does not seem to compare to my brother’s pain.

Not to mention, I go to work everyday with families on the brink of collapse or implosion or explosion. It all seems to much to bear at times. Like I want to curl up and sleep forever, with the sweet breath of my baby on my face, my dog curled at my feet, and my love holding my hand.

Will I ever stop crying for all the pain I see around me and in me?

Body Image

With my smart phone glued to my fingers, especially during nighttime nursing, I have noticed myself compulsively reading new mom forums. Some of the posts or questions I find humorous or insightful, but others I find downright annoying. I am especially annoyed by young twigs who whine about their post-partum body.

Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t really want to be 250 during my pregnancy, for even at 6’1 that felt quite heavy and WELL over what my normal heaviest was. And despite the fact that I only lost a quick 25 and am would love to weigh less because it feels so much better, overall I am not condemning my body for the metamorphosis it went through to make me a mother.

Overall, I have always seen my body as rather functional and not something to hate, so when I read breastfeeding mama’s refer to their “gumball pink” or “floppy skinny” nipples disparagingly, I get annoyed…and then actually feel sad that is their perspective. When they complain about stretch marks I wonder why, as I had a growth spurt in HS and have always loved to touch my fading stretch marks on my love handles because it is a reminder that I grew from a child into a woman. Perhaps I am a unique woman in this way, that very rarely have I had any body image issues, least of all now postpartum. Of course I am not perfect and think it would be nice to have skinner jeans or perkier breasts, but overall I feel good inside my skin. My legs are strong to carry me. My hips wide enough to birth a child. My breasts full of life-sustaining milk for Potamus. It’s all beautiful, really…

Love and loathing

Love and loathing must be cut from the same cloth, they are so similar in intensity. I get caught up in the moment to moment of it all and when the pendulum swings to the dark-side, I wonder what the help am I doing in this situation? When did I want to be a mom, and now that I am here, the trapped scrambling-to-escape feelings come rushing back…predictably strong, like¬† stormy ocean waves. I am beginning to dread the darkness that falls so early in these winter evenings, as it means feeding on demand in the warm, dimly lit cave of a bedroom with Boof quietly sleeping next to me. The thoughts race again…night has never been my friend, and when I can escape the danger by sleeping I am a good person. And when I am awake, left to my own devices, the thoughts turn dark and scary. And thoughts influence action, and only 16 days into this new relationship, a relationship imbalanced by such brute strength and tiny innocence. He is completely dependent and I both love and resent it. How can I hold such dualities within me? Same how do I keep the shadow-self from hurting my sweet child?

Helplessness

The worry is primal and comes gushing out of me in the form of wails and uncontrollable tears, which must be very confusing for Boof, who has seen me cry only a handful of times in our relationship.

But when your baby can’t take the breast without the aid of a silicon nipple, and the Dr says that his weight gain is a little on the low side, and the Lactation consultant refers you to an occupational therapist at Children’s Hospital because of his tongue thrust, the helplessness and overwhelm sets in and all I can do is cry. I stare down at this sweet cherub that I didn’t know I could love so much, and cry, because I feel so small and inadequate at this whole mom thing.¬†