Thursday, April 23, 2009

What is wrong with me?

I don't think I'm suffering from post-natal depression. Even if I had any tendency to get depressed, I've had to fight so hard to be a mother that sheer relief that it finally happened would have overcome any such tendency. For me, this really is living in a dream come true.

Not particularly hormonal either. Am not irritable or overly anxious these days. At least not anymore than usual. I don't feel I am. And no one else has told me I am.

So what IS wrong with me? What is it that I think I saw that day? What? My husband having an affair?

No. If I thought that I would be angry with him. And am not.

What I feel is not anger. I am scared.

Maybe he wasn't in the middle of an affair when I saw him up there. And maybe he wasn't going up there everyday necessarily for that. But he would have enjoyed the attention. He would have felt attracted and flattered if she seemed to be attracted back.

What man wouldn't? That's just human nature. Even if he didn't take it any further than that, and I wouldn't expect him to, he would still get a kick out of it.

That's what scares me.

There was a time when this sort of incident would have made me think, yeah isn't he hot? And he's with me. I loved to show him off that way. I would have found it funny actually.

But now I can't find that feeling anymore. Possibly because I had it back when I felt as sexy as any of those girls. Because I knew I could flatter him and excite him anytime I wanted to. Because the chemistry between me and him was always so good.

And now I don't feel fun or hot or energetic at all. I feel fat and overtired and unattractive. I feel like I'll never be interested in sex again. Ever.

And then there was a time when K would never have let an incident like that pass without rubbing my face in it. He would have tried to tease me, to make me jealous, maybe to score a few points by drawing parallels with things I had done that made him jealous and saying you see how it feels?

This time, he didn't. Why?

I am scared that things between me and him will never go back to normal again. In that one minute standing there by the pool, I was infused with all his fears of how our lives would change if we had children. All the concerns he was expressing for years, all his reservations about starting a family too soon.

I am scared because if things don't go back to normal, there will be other girls at other poolsides, who are fit and viviacious and have no stitches or bleeding. And who DO want to have sex with him.

I am scared because I don't want my husband to fall out of love with me.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What do you do?

Got up pretty early this morning. I heard the baby crying from the other bedroom where he was sleeping with Mama. When I walked in, she was rocking him back to sleep, half-asleep herself. She told me to go back to bed, that he probably just had a bad dream or something.

Do babies have nightmares?

He did go back to sleep as I stood there watching. So did she. But I couldn't stay away. I wanted to hold him. So I picked him up. He sort of whined and stretched a bit more and then settled down again on my shoulder.

Walked around with him all over the house until I started to tire. So I went into my bedroom and set him down in his crib. Mama was right, as usual. It wasn't time to feed him yet and he didn't need a change. He was fine. It probably was just a bad dream.

It was only then that I realized my husband wasn't home. His cell phone was on the bedside table. Apart from the mosque, the only other place he would go without his phone was up on the roof, to the swimming pool.

Had a quick shower and changed. Then I went up to look for him. In the lift on the way up I realized that - apart from my time in the hospital - this was the first time I'd been out of the apartment since about a week before the baby was born.

Walking past the changing rooms and the health club on my out onto the poolside, I could hear her. A woman laughing.

She was on her way to the changing rooms so we practically ran into each other. A neighbor. One of a group of cabin crew who shared an apartment about 2 floors above us.

She stopped, said hi and congratulations on the baby etc....She told me they would stop by and see me, she and her roommates. And I said all the right things.

Then she left and I continued out a bit further onto the poolside until I caught sight of my husband in the water.

He was swimming like I know him. Doing lengths. So grim in determination. A man with a mission. You'd think he was training for the Olympics or sth.

It made me smile. But then my mind went back to that girl. No one else was there. They'd clearly been in the pool together. And she was laughing. Unless she was crazy, she wouldn't have been laughing unless he'd said - or done - something to make her laugh. She can't have been laughing by herself.

And once my mind started on that track, I couldn't stop. She was so tanned and fit and gorgeous in her bikini. And watching him, I was reminded of how good-looking he was. And how long it had been since we'd had sex. And how fat and sexless I felt these days.

In my head, I started counting how many times he'd been up to the pool lately.

I was reminded of something else. Something stupid I'd ignored at the time. A woman at the hospital had told me that this was her 3rd baby and she never lets her husband attend the birth because it puts men off sex with their wives.

And I thought how my husband had witnessed every gory minute of the birth of our son.

I felt so frightened. Cold, shivering, sickening fear.

Don't know how long I stood there before he saw me. He waved from the water. I didn't wave back. Just stood there staring, while he got out of the pool and walked over.

He looked so worried. And I found myself thinking why? Why was he worried?

I couldn't say anything to him. At that moment, I was afraid of him, of what I was thinking of him, of the horrible visuals I was suddenly having. And then I couldn't even look at him anymore. I had to turn around and get out of there.

I was practically running back to the apartment - and back into the safety of my bed. I just hid under the covers.

I heard him come into the bedroom and check on the baby.

And then he asked me what was wrong, if I was feeling ok.

I didn't want to tell him. Some things you fear so much that you can't bear to say out loud because saying them might make them feel more real.

So I just didn't say anything.

He went and woke Mama up and told her to come and see what was wrong with her crazy daughter, I guess.

I didn't tell my mother either.

He went swimming again this morning.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Just Thinking

1) Happy to be home at last. My hospital room was starting to feel like a prison cell.

2) Overwhelmed: Mama is so good with the baby. I don't know how I can ever be as good as she is. She never panics and always knows exactly what to do. And I still panic at the slightest sign of distress from him and have to call her.

It's stupid to compare, I know. I mean, this is my first baby while my mother has raised 5 children AND she is a doctor. Of course what is overwhelming to me will be a piece of cake for her.

And it doesn't help that I still can't be as active as normal.:(

But still, she will be leaving sooner or later and she is one hard act to follow.

I hope I will pick up enough from her before she leaves.

3) Circumcision is awful. One of the few times in my life when I wished I wasn't born a Muslim. I mean, the way it felt. He's my baby. I just half-died giving birth to him. And they HURT him. And I had to let them when what I really wanted to do was to just BITE all of them until they bled.:(

Anyway, he seems ok now so I guess this is best forgotten.

4) My son has mascara eyelashes. Mashallah. I mean, I wish I could get mine to look like that with mascara. They're so thick and long and dark and beautiful. Guess they're his father's but they show more on him because his face is so tiny.:)


Sunday, April 12, 2009

He's sleeping again

Are babies supposed to sleep so much?

Mine is only awake when he's hungry or needs a change.

I can't seem to leave him alone though.

I noticed if I tickle his little feet with my nail, he'll wake up right away.

It's so cute. He's ticklish.:)

Same if I kiss his ear. Or the back of his tiny neck.

I keep finding new ways to wake him.

But he wakes up crying. Not happy that Mommy wants him to get up and play.

YOU won't let HIM sleep because you want to play, my husband asks? Which one of you is the child?

Good question!

I AM a little like a child with a new toy.

Hopefully I'll grow up soon.

Speaking of growing up, I can't wait until I can do everything for him myself.

Don't like that I need so much help with him.

I still haven't bathed him once. Or changed him. Or breastfed him.

I am missing so much.

I wanna get better already!


Friday, April 10, 2009

I feel......

1) Relieved because against all odds,I gave birth to a healthy, 3.8 kg baby boy. And I mean against all odds, because for a while in there, no one was sure the baby would make it. Or that I would make it for that matter.

2) Cheated because my pregnancy was so easy and pain-free in so many ways that I was completely unprepared for the way things went so horribly wrong in the last 48 hrs.

3) Traumatized. I was in so much pain I passed out. And didn't come to again until after the C-Section was over.

And I am still in a lot of pain. Everything hurts. Holding my baby hurts. Moving hurts. Laughing hurts. Coughing hurts. Going to the bathroom. Even now, lying in a hospital bed on my side, typing on my laptop, I hurt if I make a sudden movement. Nothing in my world is pain-free anymore.

Suffice it to say, I will never again believe the hype about the beauty of birth. The only beautiful thing about it is lying sleeping next to me right now. Other than that, it is the most brutal, bloody, ugly thing I have ever experienced in my life and anyone who ever told me otherwise was lying to me.

I don't know why I am so shocked by it. After all, I had a miscarriage before. That should have prepared me. But you see, I thought the miscarriage was so painful because it was a failed pregnancy as opposed to a normal, healthy birth. I let myself believe that 'normal' and 'healthy' also meant the pain would be less, or that, like so many people said, I would be so overtaken by the joy of motherhood that I somehow won't feel the pain.

For 48 hrs I hurt so much I never thought of the baby or motherhood once. The only other human being I had any awareness of was my mother. It was so surreal. My husband, the baby, it was like they didn't even exist. I was a helpless, broken child and I just wanted my mother to make me better. Thank God she was there. Without her, I think I would have just given up and died.

Whatever. I always said I only wanted one child. And now I know for sure. Alhamdulillah one million times that I carried to term this time because now I know what is involved, there is no way I would ever willingly put myself through it again.

4) Glad that I only became aware of my son after the worst was over, that I wasn't awake for the actual birth and that no one tried to hand him to me or expected me to want to hold him in the middle of it. I am forever grateful that my first memory of seeing him was not ruined with all that blood and gore and pain.

More importantly, I am glad he wasn't hurt by the complications of the birth and that he is too little to remember it or be as traumatized by it as I am.

When I had my miscarriage I couldn't get over the feeling that I was a bad, unnatural mother somehow because my body couldn't sustain that baby like a mother's body is supposed to. Now there is joy because this time, even though I went through hell, HE came through it ok.

5) Humbled that the first time I held my son, he stopped crying, that even now, he cries if anyone else is holding him and only quiets down in my arms, that he recognizes me somehow. This means a lot especially because I am not able to breastfeed him yet because of all the painkillers and other medications I am on. I was afraid he wouldn't know I was his mother because of that.

Or strangely enough, that he would bond with my mother - or my husband - first because since I am still not able to carry him unless I am sitting down or in bed, they have to carry him around for me so much. Isn't that crazy? That I would be jealous of my husband or my own mother?

I feel like I've known and loved my son for 9 months already. And it's good to feel he knows too, on some level.

6) So much in love.

This morning, as my husband helped me out of bed to keep me moving around like the doctors said I should, I heard - from others, not from him - how he never left my side, how because he was a surgeon, he insisted on being allowed to scrub in to be with me even inside the theater. Standing there, leaning on him, I had the thought that he'd seen the whole thing, even the parts of it that I wasn't awake for. I thought what that must have been like for him.

I swear, it was like waking up from a dream. I hadn't really thought of him for days. He was just there, in the background. I don't think that until that point, I'd even looked at him properly or said anything to him that wasn't said on auto-pilot since the first few hours of labor.

And suddenly, this blurred picture comes into focus and becomes crystal clear. I have a man who loves me and takes care of me even when I can't love him back or even be aware of him. I didn't know what to say. All I could do was squeeze him so tight I nearly hurt myself.

And he laughed and said hey be careful, your stitches.

He went home to get some sleep a little while ago. And I'm in bed with our son sleeping next to me. I can still hear him laugh. It makes me smile.:)