Wednesday, May 5, 2010

How to Deal

There is something deeply satisfying about singing Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now while doing dishes. If a tear or two falls for your lost angst-ridden youth, so be it. The salt will not hurt your dishes. The echo of your angst will be palpable.

I seem to be going through some kind of postpartum mid-life crises wherein I ordered a pair of 1460 Greasy Black Doc Marten boots, and actual CDs of bands I listened to in the late 80s when I wore Anarchy T-shirts and a pissed off expression of exasperation at all authority figures. Bands like Joy Division, the Smiths, the Cure, Siouxsie Sioux...well, you get the idea. I can say that being an adult mostly sucks what with the planning funerals-cleaning-paying taxes thing except that you mostly have the money to buy the things that satisfy your particular mood at any given time. When I was 16 and wanted Doc Martens, I couldn't afford the hundred bucks, and so I wrote it on my Christmas list. It was the year after my parents separated, and Christmas morning rolled around with two presents wrapped under the tree--one for my sister and one for me. I opened my gift, which was a boot. A used combat boot. My sister had the other one. There was a price tag on the bottom that read: $5.00.

I have given birth to three children in three years. One of them was dead. I deserve a new, greasy pair of shitkickers.

I wish I could say that the postpartum sadness never caught up with me, and that I am drifting along in my beautiful little bungalow in a state of perpetual idiotic bliss. But you know, we are experiencing the -BA factor, which is the result of this debilitating formula:

Sleeplessness (S) + Daughter Death (DD) + Postpartum Hormones (H) + Not Eating Chocolate (-C)+ being alone all day with a newborn and a very independent minded three year old dressed like "Wonder Woman Girl" (AAD+NB+WWG) + Perpetually Bad Hair (PBH)= Blubbering Angie (-BA)

I cry because Thor's tootsies are just so damn cute. I ask myself incessant painful questions about Lucy's feet. Why didn't I photograph them? Did I kiss them? I cry because Beezus' insane rambling stories reminds me that I will never hear anything so long and drawn out from the urn that sits in my secretary. When anyone asks about Mother's Day, I feign impending sickness. Sunday I will be mostly feverish with an acute case of self-pity. I kiss my baby until I cry. I listen to the windchimes. I remember that my life is good even if my daughter is dead.

I think I am a psychological hypochondriac. I fear the crazies at the first good weep. "Is this finally my hidden borderline personality disorder coming out? I could be exactly like that woman on Law and Order SVU, you never know." I google "Excessive Crying." "Postpartum Depression." "Psychological Hypochondria." I google "grief." I call my Blackberry a judgmental little bastard. Throw it across the room. Focus on television. Chew my fingernails. Pick up the blackberry again. Apologize. Google "Impulse control."

I am really sorry if I owe you an email. I'm sorry if I have been a shitty friend and support. I am sorry if I was supposed to walk you and opted to lay on the floor tearing up instead (that one is for Jack the dog). I'm sorry if I didn't kiss you goodnight. I'm sorry if I was supposed to call you and forgot. I'm sorry if I asked you what color the unicorn was when you were telling me a story about monkeys. I'm sorry if I forgot your birthday. I'm sorry if I ranted about something unrelated to our conversation. I'm sorry if I talked too fast from having a third cup of coffee. I'm sorry if you want me to carry something large and I said no. I'm sorry if I was supposed to take out your trash while you were on vacation. I'm sorry if I nodded instead of stopped to talk while I was weeding the other day. I'm sorry if you wanted me to read another bedtime story, and I said that it was No Third Book Night, which happens once a week. I'm sorry if I forgot to mail your thank you note. I'm sorry if I was blogging when you wanted to go for nap and you fell asleep on the chair in your Wonder Woman costume and the skirt is itchy.

I've been busy and sad.


  1. Oh my love.

    I'm out of helpful thoughts. All I can say is enjoy those boots. Good boots, strong feet, feeling rooted to the earth, feeling stable through your ankles: all good and lovely things. Also, those boots could crush the crap out of your blackberry. Might be worth threatening the little sucker when he starts getting all judgy on your tired, postpartum ass. Stupid phone. x

  2. You know, you are so damn good. You are a badass and I hope your Docs have steel toes and pity to the unfortunate soul who gets in your way.

    PS my 3 year old ... oy! 3 makes 2 look like heaven.

  3. I don't think you owe anyone or the universe any apologies...just be as you are, as you are doing. Love you Angie!

  4. Ah, I still have my high school doc martens stashed in the closet. Hope you enjoy them and kick the shit out of your hormones! Baby lost grief is overwhelming when a new baby comes along. It's exhausting and makes sense to no one else. I wish I could give you a hug. This will pass. And in the meantime, let yourself wallow in it and don't apologize to anyone. You owe yourself a break more than you owe anyone any of those things you listed.....seriously, who has time to write thank you notes when you are dealing with a newborn, a 3 year old, and grief?

  5. Blogger just ate my comment. Grr...

    I wish I could give you a hug right now. This will pass. It's your hormones wreaking havoc. Just let yourself be and don't worry about the other stuff. You don't owe anyone anything.

  6. Doc Martens are always, always the right answer. The world of happysad is, I would imagine, just plain effing exhausting, even minus the sleep deprivation. Here for you- and hoping to be there with you sooner rather than later. Long, long email to follow.

  7. Have you been looking through my window?

    It settles into something tolerable, eventually. In the meantime, wonder how it is those albums have stood the test of time. They still sound so fresh, and sooooo good.

  8. Here with you, though I didn't think to order boots. Maybe I will now. I wish I could send sleep, which would be useful. Instead I'll send love and hope more sleep finds you soon.

  9. sending you so much love angie
    wish i was there to cry and laugh with you and bring you chocolate

  10. Damn - I'm glad I found this blog. I'm a numbers gal whose writing is shit, and I love when I find someone whose words articulate exactly what I'm feeling, or in this case what I felt about 3 months ago. Thank you.

    (Mom to an almost 6 year old girl, a stillborn son, and a 4 month old girl)

  11. Oh Angie.

    I'll go with everything Jess has said. She's found the perfect words. Hope tomorrow will be a better day and sending loads of love! xoxo

  12. I have my old cherry Dr Martins here, on standby...

    It's hard. It's f%cking hard. We are out here, shoulders and ears.


  13. A gem of a post, Angie. I'll be joining you with the self-pity party on Mother's Day. Might go and dig my old doc's out while I'm at it. Yep, still have them too.
    Have another cup of coffee. You've earned this one, my friend.

  14. Deep breath. Great post Angie. I identified with so much. Be gentle on yourself Angie. You've earnt it with your blood, sweat and tears.

    I never got the 'doc martens' thing... Maybe I should go get a pair.


  15. Everyone has already said it, enjoy the boots and the music (I'm stuck on Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want....and have been for a while now.)and do what you've got to do. x

  16. oh my dear. i'm so sorry you are in the sh*t right now. no apologies, no no no apologies. what sophie said - be gentle with yourself. and buy twenty pairs of docs if you need to.

    and, oh my lord, the googling! the googling! so familiar.

    thinking of you every day. xo

  17. I am dreaming of the bereaved mothers who first gathered in protest of the Civil War, the first Mothers Day, and I am imagining them all in their corsets and hats BUT every single one of them wearing Doc Martin shitkickers!

    Just hugs to you, Angie. So wished we were on-the-ground neighbors coz I'd join you in the tears wondering about Lucy's and Kota's toes. Just much love from our house to yours!

  18. The Smiths are required at this time.

    In my life, why do I smile at people who I'd much rather kick in the eye...

  19. Sending love...I've always found listening to Iggy Pop loudly puts me in a better mood.

  20. ((hugs))
    I have no wise words, just my ears listening, eyes reading, heart loving.
    Love to you, sweet mama.

  21. It is so hard, after the birth of these, our new babies.

    It is hard because you feel so blessed at the miracle of having a living baby, and at the same time so robbed because of the lost baby.

    It is a constant life of dichotomy. So much happiness and so much grief all at the same time.

    Thinking of you and your Lucy.

  22. New boots and the Smiths. Yes. This is how I would deal with the happysad. And yes, mp3 downloads won't do. There has to be a stack of evidence. Something to show for your impeccable taste. And something to throw, if need be.

    And don't ever feel like you need to apologize for your own thoughts on your own space. Ever.


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