Where have the days gone? Our little guy has been with us for nearly 8 weeks now and it all seems to have passed in a blur. I look around me and see jobs piling up and wonder when I will ever have the energy or the time to get on with doing things that before were a matter of course. It is the same for all new mothers I am sure, but when it happens to you, it seems much more intense than you imagined. I am feeling a new sense of shame daily for the ways in which I may not have been too sensitive to the new mothers I was friends with or lived with/near in the past…
So we start each day in a bit of a daze, but needing to get fed, showered and ready for Dada to leave the house for work. Then it is a cycle of crying, wriggling, squirming, puking, pooping, sleeping, eating… and occaisionally wriggling on one’s tummy, or listening to stories or songs. If we are lucky (and I am making a real effort to make sure we are…) we leave the house for a few hours on some kind of outing… to the shops or for a walk in the neighbourhood.
On the weekend, after a massive spring clean, I spent an hour at the laundromat with our duvets while the little man and Dada went for a walk to the university. I realise that was the longest time we have been apart since he was born. Weird! So the next day, after much haggling, I left the house again for an hour or so to go get frozen yoghurt with a friend… and we survived both separations! It helps that Dada has been hands on from the start and really loves spending time with the wee squirmer. So now I just have to be a little more chilled out about getting time to myself.
This is work for me now… and a labour of love. It is not a coincidence that they call the birth process labour. And even if not all of us go through active labour to bring our wee people into the world, the work of nurturing and sustaining them stills falls rather heavily on our shoulders – by accident or design. In my case, due to various rather disappointing circumstances at the time, I am rather more free than I had originally expected to be to leave our little guy in the care of others. But since my husband is the principle immigrant upon whose status our work permits depend, we do not have the luxury to reexamine the caregiving for now. And we do not see any benefit in leaving him with others so I can return to paid work just yet. So I am ‘choosing’ this work for now.
It is isolating being so new in a place that we do not know any other women in the same position. I would love the company some days of people in similar circumstances. No-one prepares you for the isolation and frustration of being at home daily, with the same mundane activities to perform in the company of someone who does not talk to you, but expresses their intense neediness in often ear-splitting cries… all of which are apprently calibrated finely to communicate the exact nature of the need… sadly these cries are virtually indecipherable to the untrained (adult) ear!! So most of the day is spent trying to intuit the needs… until one magical day when you realise you have become the expert at this little fellow, and by a process of elimination can usually figure out what he is trying to say after all!
This is the point at which one also realises that one has become that dreaded thing… the woman who talks of nothing other than her baby as that is all she does all day! So I am going in purusit of things to distract me… though at present, finding time for anything other than the work of motherhood still seems elusive… but I guess I shall then just have to stop talking!!