A New Mother Freaks Out

I just finished reading Vicki Glembocki's freak-out on new motherhood (Salon.com) and I really felt for her. The Salon.com piece was excerpted from her book "The Second Nine Months: One Woman Tells the Real Truth About Becoming a Mom. Finally."

I can remember starting to panic (just a little) when it was time for Husband and I to take our little bundle home from the hospital. Husband joked with the nurse, "Doesn't he come with an owner's manual?" Ha, ha, ha. No, really. Where is that book anyway? Yeah, I know, we all read "What to Expect," blah, blah, blah, but books are just that. Someone else's experience, and we know that that's just not going to cut it.

Poor Vicki describes waiting with her screaming baby while her bedspreads dry at the laundromat. She calls her husband, who's at work, for guidance, sustenance, words of wisdom. Anything.

I remember back to those times when my angel screamed while out in public, God only knows the reason. I just wanted to hide, sink down into the pavement, disappear. Everyone, I mean everyone, stares. Reproachful stares. You know; you've been there.

Since one of my strategies for coping in life is to take the path of least resistance (I'm very Zen), I quickly learned to adapt. Grocery shopping was always better alone, or all three of us, so one of us could deal with angel baby crying over nothing in particular. Don't try to reason with a baby, by the way. This does not work. Tyrants rarely listen to the voice of reason.

We didn't go to church for the first three years (Easter and his baptism only) because I just didn't want to have to carry him out, disrupt the service, and so on. Besides, this gave us a great excuse to sleep in Sunday mornings.

I was lucky those early years; Husband and I both worked from home. We didn't have many of the same concerns as so many parents out there do. We could always hand Baby off to the other (most of the time, at least). And we didn't work all the time. The one thing we were able to do was enjoy our son at every stage. Not having full-time punch-the-clock jobs gave us that luxury (although certainly not without its financial consequences).

Now, I say this as the mother of one (1) child. For those of you out there with more than one, I've got nothing. Won't even try to give advice as I am in awe of anyone out there with more than one child. (I saw Super Nanny last night. The mother, slim and trim and beautiful, had seven (7!) kids in eight (8!) years.) I'm still trying to wrap my mind around that one. She needed help because, for one thing, she was too tightly wound. Hello? If I had seven kids, I don't think I'd be able to become wound again. I'd be permanently unraveled, reduced to mumbling incoherently in a corner. But I digress.

I hope that Vicki was able to overcome those early bumps in the road. New moms should be able to enjoy their babies as much as possible. That's what it's all about. Get some help! (I don't mean professional, neccessarily) but a friend, neighbor, family member, somebody. No one should do it alone.

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