Mama's Blog

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Letter to a friend...

So, choices. Family. Right now I am having a really really really hard time-- an epic battle between wanting to the be the type of parent that meets her needs, as messy, unschedule-able, relentless and suffocating as they may be, and in conflict with that, wanting some semblance of independence. I do want to be her womb, her nest, her umbilical cord and her front porch that she can sit on and look out from or run back to -- my body as the site of her home. I love taking her swimming- supporting and making safe her desire to thrash her body about-- to just have utter fun with it. And then to gather her up when she gets still to hold her and wait for her next impulse to take over and then to support that. I love being quiet enough to listen for and hear her wordless needs. I love breastfeeding her, connecting with her as well as being the source of her food-- the one thing in this fucking culture that is not mediated by some corporation, thank you very much. But at other times I feel tethered, confused about and enraged by her dependency on my breast to fall asleep. Tonight, it took a record two point five hours to get her to stay asleep-- partially because my impatience screwed up the timing, partially because trying to accomplish anything but being with her today screwed up some napping time and partially because she is just stubborn and if she finds herself awake and not nursing she gets all worked up. My world is very very small. Claustraphobes need not apply. I have convinced myself that most of my discomfort is my husband's fault, that he is totally unaware of my world, that he doesn't help enough, that he should never leave the house but, while staying here and being my right hand, he should also manage to have a full-time job so he can pay all the bills and I don't have to even think about working. I realize that some of my expectations are unrealistic, but so what. He and I are not able to rely on traditional roles for parenting and running the family, so we are running into all kinds of trouble right now in terms of trying to share duties. I told him that he isn't in charge of anything and is just a glorified babysitter, which is a horrible thing to say but my god I think it is totally true. So this is how ugly it is, I am either completely nuts or am with an self-absorbed twit, or something in between. But I am so sleep deprived that I cannot make heads or tails of any of it. And the support out there is really useless. There is the La Leche version, which is basically, there is only one way to do this and it is to stay at home, do it all yourself, get massages and wait it out-- basically meet all those baby needs and survive to tell the tale and look down at other women. Or there is the even creepier versions that insist that babies are trying to manipulate you, that they need to be independent because we live in an industrialized society and they can and should be programmed to sleep on their own provided you cut out your hear and stick it in the freezer while you let them cry. Something like that. So I am stuck, some days feeling like Superwoman Deepmotherwisdom Goddess, and other days I feel like a Mad Cow Listmaking Paralyzed Slasher. I think I'll have a beer now.

The nice thing for me is, having been pregnant, I feel like a virgin whenever my husband and I make love. I feel so sweet and vulnerable and like it is all for the first time, which is really terrific for me because my first forty lovers were all horrible losers that I wouldn't loan my car to. Now I feel very precious as if my sex organs, having created Ruby, are too important to be careless with. Kind of cool.


At 9:48 PM, Blogger Lee Bradley said...

dear tracy,
I'm sorry I wasn't here on wednesday. just saw this now, and don't have the wherewithall to call just now, but one thing has helped me recently. when speaking to a dear dear friend in new york who knows me from my pre-marriage pre-motherhood pre-everything days, I'm telling him about the fears of not being a "good mother" and all that entails. after a while he asks, is the baby happy? I say, she's so happy. she's the best baby in the world, so sweet, so funny, etc. etc. he says, then maybe you are a "good enough" mother. and I hold on to that, and I beat myself up a little bit less when I haven't been there 100% for her, and haven't been everything I think I should and want to be to or for her. and it gives me strength, and I keep working on being "good enough," which is somehow much more manageable than just plain "good". my love and thoughts are with you. let's talk soon.

At 11:12 PM, Blogger Ex-Blogger said...

Oh, so good.

And Lee, I don't mean anything by it, but I don't have a happy baby.

I have a concerned, sometimes haunted, sometimes this-must-be-a-reaction-to-feelings-of-abandonment clingy, sometimes winge-ing trooper, who doesn't cry at shots because, I'm convinced, she just takes physical discomfort as a fact of her life due to the first two weeks of it being in the NICU with tubes & tests & pokings & irregular visits from mama, and I still let myself off the hook because... because I have a present child who is startlingly aware of her surroundings, who tells jokes and understands some pretty complex cause-and-effect stuff already and can play by herself for prolonged periods of time.

Writing this breaks my heart. But these are also all the reasons I believe I am a good mother.

(Maybe only because I am her mother... ) I'm living proof that it's not enough to love your daughter, but I'm also living proof that it is, if that makes any sense.


At 10:25 AM, Blogger Homebirth said...

Hi Tracy! (And Stephanie!)

I see your blog here didn't continue... but hopefully you'll still get my comment.

I've lost your contact info, Tracy, and would love to get in touch again. And I know someone who's looking for an accountant :)

Diane West

At 12:37 AM, Blogger Alex Smith said...

Hi, Added a new value add to my blog this weekend - a news widget from . I always wanted to show latest news for my keywords in


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