What to Do With a Full Vessel

Either my son’s pediatrician is just as awful as I think she is or this is a brand new thing baby doctors do but I just barely passed my postpartum quiz at my daughter’s check-up yesterday. Regardless, my son’s pediatrician is awful. I’m negotiating a switch to the new guy. But that’s besides the point.

The point is that I would not at all have passed the quiz after my son was born. I think I’m surviving a little better this time around because my daughter’s birth was very well medicated and not in the least bit difficult. My son’s birth? I think they call it Acute Stress Disorder. It can happen when a child rocket ships out of your undercarriage before you’re full aware you’re in labor. Apparently.

I’m also less afraid of breaking my daughter since I know now how resilient babies are. I’m less afraid of taking her out in public or putting her in a car seat or, you know, her not getting enough food or not breathing unless I’m watching her. It really is easier the second time around.

And yet…

My mental health is still touch and go. I told my daughter’s pedi that it was probably just a fun mix of not enough sleep and desperately needing to go back to work–entirely true, by the way–but there’s definitely more to it than that. I’m just not willing to launch into it with my kid’s doc while he’s shining a flash light in her eyeballs with my husband barely containing my son’s hissy fit right behind us. Not exactly a good time to talk about me.

But when is it? This is what I’m discovering about being a mom of two: there isn’t really any time for me. Sometimes it feels very much like there is no more me. To quote my own book, because I’m conceited like that,

“Does it matter what I want or am I just a vessel for the wants of others?”

Toddlers have limited compassion. Not none but very… very limited. I was told last night that I couldn’t be sad because he was sad because only one person can be sad at a time? And if it’s a toddler, everyone else can suck it. At least until the next episode of Vampirina starts.

I have my own postpartum checkup in a few weeks and that, perhaps, will be Me Time. I will chat with my own doc and see if I pass her quiz. Could be I go back to work before then and find meaning in my life. Could be that I get caught up in whatever WIP I’ve got for NaNoWriMo and don’t have time for non-essential thoughts. Could be I hide under a chair until someone lures me out with coffee and a muffin. Who can tell?

Until then, let me give myself some insight, again from my own book:

“Maybe we are all a vessel for the wants of others, regardless of whether we provide for those wants. Conflict arises when we deny the wants of others. Conflict WITH others anyway. Conflict with ourselves arises when all we do is provide for the wants of others. There needs to be a balance.”

Yeah, the me who wrote that only had the one child. Stupid past me. You’ll learn.

 

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