I’m hurtling toward parenthood at a pretty rapid pace, though the path to get there has been longer and less foretold than most. As it happens, I’m struggling hard in the space between where I’ve been and where I’m going. At play in this space: I will have spent 55 of the prior 68 weeks pregnant when my son is born in December. I will have spent all of those weeks fluctuating in and out of near-debilitating grief over the death of my daughter after the first 15 of those 68 weeks. I have been told, again and again, by men who are strangers or near-strangers, that I’m too angry, too bitter, that I need to tone it down, even by men who know what I’ve been through. Also: I have to learn the technicalities of taking care of my child, while understanding that I was not well-cared-for myself, and while the book I’m reading keeps referring to the hypothetical child in its text as “she,” so I keep imagining myself caring for my lost daughter, rather than the son on the way.
Then we have the misbehavior of the body. I haven’t slept a full night, uninterrupted, in weeks. Even with the Ambien my doctor prescribed, I get 4-5 hours, tops, before I wake up, toss and turn. The baby kicks all day, hard enough to hurt. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve peed my pants while coughing or sneezing, even when I didn’t have to go. Nothing fits. It seems quite possible that nothing ever will again. My ankles are killing me; my knees ache all day. I fantasize at length about some imaginary respite, just a half an hour I could spend outside my body, free of pain.
All this is to say that I am suffering. Not in a tragic, newsworthy way, but in a deeply personal, mentally and emotionally debilitating way. Ordinarily, I would bitch as goodnaturedly as possible on Facebook about some (though not all) of it, but between the men who think I should be cheerfully seen and not really heard and the number of people who seem to think it’s fine to delegitimize every post by boiling me down to nothing but a womb, I’ve significantly reduced my participation in that forum.
Which leads me here. In an attempt to focus, to think constructively and critically about what I’m going through, I’m going to start posting here on my little blog again. It’s public, and I’m happy if you want to come read it, but if you do, you must adhere to one ironclad rule: DO NOT PROVIDE UNSOLICITED ADVICE. I’m pretty adept at asking for advice when I need it. When I don’t, and you provide it anyway, you’re assuming that your experience and knowledge trumps mine, that whatever you think is best is more important than my own tactics to learn, grow, and cope. Moreover, unsolicited advice is not ever welcome.