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Marisa's Pregnancy Journal

Entry One - November 20, 2008
~ Oh Boy . . .

Oh boy . . . I can't believe I'm even writing this.

I guess the baby's almost 4 months old now. I stopped counting by "weeks" a few weeks ago . . . that sounds silly, but that's exactly how it went. I woke up one day and couldn't remember if she was 12 weeks or 15 weeks. That is totally odd to me. It has been one big blur.

I didn't know how to start writing this part of my journal. I am a perfectionist, and as any of you who share this trait know, it doesn't mean (by any stretch) that you do things perfectly. On the contrary, what it really means is that if I'm going to actually TRY to do things, I hope they're done perfectly . . . and if it doesn't come together that way I am upset with myself.

The problem is that I'm not directly upset with myself. I'm not upset enough to diet to lose the baby weight, or to refuse to go back to work, or to ask for help when I need it. The problems arise because I am too busy to think about what is healthy (low-fat Cheezits or pudding are much simpler than Lean Cuisines . . . and even simpler is Jack-in-the-Box fish filets), or to keep grading, planning, and assessing (as I still devote pumping time during my prep period and try to rush home to nurse).

I have, quite honestly, been a royal mess. I don't know how else to say it.

I have trepidation as I write this because I've seen recent things in the news about people being held accountable in one way or another for writing what is online. I worry that one day I will go to a job interview and some thoroughly brainwashed, entrepreneurial parent will say, "Hey, weren't you the over-sensitive whack-job who tried to teach my kid a few years back? I read your blog. You're a mess. Ok, so, let's get started . . . describe one way in which you used a specific assessment to guide your teaching."

SophiaI love the breastfeeding, but I hate the pumping. I got started on a great pump because we got it with no co-pay since the baby was in the Special Care Unit, but I have had it up to here! I'm planning to have next week be the last full-week of full-time breastfeeding since I have it off for Thanksgiving, but I feel guilty about that no matter how logical it is. Twenty-five minutes of my prep time daily, rushing home after school . . . much of my potential work time is lost to pumping, or something associated with it. I hate to have that be the reason I stop pumping, though. I hate thinking that if I wasn't working, if I was home all the time, I'd keep breastfeeding . . . it makes me feel so selfish. I know logically it is ok, and that plenty of formula-fed babies are wonderful humans (including my mother, and many family members), but it is an obvious expectation of my family that I would breastfeed exclusively as long as possible.

I am still dealing with the depression that has always wracked me. I see a doctor every two or three weeks for this, but it is ongoing. I am messier than I let on to anyone, which is a problem. My loving husband, my parents, my sister . . . no one hears the whole thing. Just parts.

People no longer ask how I am doing. They only ask about the baby now. The baby is wonderful, thriving, bright, beautiful . . . no one asks about us parents anymore.

Our parents help us watch her once or twice a week, and that is helpful, but not therapeutic. I am still quite messy!

How do I say this? How do you explain this to people who see you as capable, and only fulfilling your capabilities when you are doing too much?

How do you apologize for still feeling fat and forgetful twelve weeks after the baby is born? And how do you behave when no one expects an apology from you except yourself?

How do you tell parents you can't grade their children's papers for two weeks because you are simply too busy? No one buys it. And if they do, they don't care. And if they care, they can't do anything about it anyway.

Sophia is beautiful and healthy and happy. She coos at us and smiles when we're near, and sucks on the smaller stuffed animals in her already-sizeable collection. But I am struggling, and I'm afraid that will lead her to struggling. This, I think, would be harder than anything: to see your child struggle through adulthood, and potentially make poor enough choices that make them feel stuck.

~ Marisa

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