Tuesday, August 29, 2006

To have a child is to forever accept that your heart will walk around outside of your body

I was talking to a coworker today who is about seven months pregnant. She was telling me about a dream she had last night that starred her new baby. In the dream he was older and they talked.
This seems pretty common, as many of my other friends with kids also experienced dreams where they were hanging out with their "future" kids around 6 or 7 months in.

When I was almost six months pregnant with Darian I had a very interesting dream. It was the day before my appointment for my first ultrasound. They said they would give me a due date and tell me the sex of the baby. At that point I had decided that if she was a girl I would name her Charlotte but I was convinced she would be a boy because I really didn't want a boy. (And up till then I didn't consider myself to be very lucky)

I was taking a nap in the middle of the day after a long morning of work. (I was working two jobs throughout my pregnancy trying to save enough money to pay rent when I took time off after she was born.) During this nap I had the most life changing dream I've ever had.
In this dream I was hanging out in a beautiful open field and a little girl with blonde curly hair came up to me and said hello.
I asked her who she was and she answered "I am your daughter."
I asked her, "Well if you are my daughter, what is your name?"
To which she answered, "My name is Darian."
I said, "But I was going to name you Charlotte if you were a girl." Then I asked, "When were you born?"
She answered, "My birthday will be October 18th."
I said, "Well right now your due date is October 2nd, so if you are born on the 18th I will name you Darian. Is it a deal?"
She said, "Yes it is! But I will be born on the 18th!"
I woke up from the dream and told my boyfriend at the time that if we did indeed have a girl and if she was born on the 18th I would name her Darian. He didn't really like the name but thought the odds of her being born that day were slim so he agreed to it. I circled the 18th on my calender and wrote "Darian" in the square.

I went in for my ultrasound the next morning where I learned that she was indeed a girl and they moved my due date from October 2nd to October 10th.

She was 8 days late and born on October 18th. That is how she got her name.

I like to tell her that she named herself before she was born.

The strangest part of being near the end of pregnancy was that I became acutely aware of the fact that there was an entirely separate consciousness living inside of my body.
You don't notice it so much in the first few months, but around six months on you really start to feel it physically and emotionally.
I believe that a huge part of postpartum depression has to do with mourning the loss of that connection. A person who may have felt a certain level of emptiness and loneliness before pregnancy will feel more complete while they are pregnant. They will get a lot of positive attention from the world around them due to their expanding belly and the "glow" they get from basically being two people in one.
After the baby is born, the new mother is not only physically exhausted, she is empty and separate from the life force that she grew accustomed to being a physical part of her. It is no longer the perfect being who doesn't cry or need or sleeps through the night. It is now someone who has their own personality and is completely dependant upon you for everything regardless of what is going on in your life.

I remember getting the worst flu I've ever had while Darian was barely a month old. Since I was a single mom and I chose not to ever bottle feed (why go against nature?) I could not just stop and rest and be sick. I had to make sure she was taken care of first and foremost.
I was set up on the couch with a fever and had her in a bouncing chair pulled up next to the couch. Around the clock, for days, I would reach out and rock the chair when she would fuss and I would nurse her when she cried and tried not to throw up while I was changing diapers.

She, of course, caught my flu from me and got really fussy from feeling as bad as I did. There was a point where I remember sitting on the couch holding her and we both cried together. That was the day it really sunk in that I was in it for the long haul and as exhausted and sick and tired as I was at that moment, I didn't care. The only thing that mattered to me was making her happy.

That day I made a commitment to her and to myself to do right by her and since that day I have spent my life trying my hardest to keep that promise.


Mira Manga said...

Wow, that's one of the best things I've ever read. You should do this professionally, get your damned book written lady..PLEASE!

Anonymous said...

damn fitting, don't you think? that made me cry you know.

Michelle Auer said...

oh no! Don't cry. :-(

Anonymous said...

My little baby went to school for the first time today, all small and little in her uniform. Thanks for the blogg, you often make me smile and think twice and then again. Kate


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