Her Bad Mother

Saturday, October 6, 2007

I'm Mean When I'm Angry

I don't write here, much, about my moonlighting gig as a gossip blogger. Mostly because, I figure, if you like celebrity gossip, you probably already read Famecrawler, and also because there's just not that much to say about it, most of the time. Britney's flaming out, you knew that; J-Lo's pregnant, you probably knew that too. Unless I feel like waxing philosophic or feminist on the cult of celebrity in the context of the postmodern condition - which I do, from time to time - I'm not going to say much about it.

I could say much about a post that I wrote today for Famecrawler, but I'm not going to, because a) I'm still too mad, and b) I would probably just rant on and on about why I felt the need to get nasty about this particular 'celebrity" - scare quotes totally intentional - and that would just get boring.

You can go read about it here, if you want. (If you want to read the stuff where I don't get all red-faced and angry - which, I know, isn't very attractive - you can check out a list of my less ranty posts here.)

Otherwise, I'm going back to my nauseated miserableness, made all the worse for the fact that it is Canadian Thanksgiving and I'm just going to barf up the turkey, so why even bother? Bah.

(Thank you for all your awesome advice, by the way. Some of it has helped me survive whole minutes out of each day, which is - I shit you not - saying a lot. xoxo)

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Elegy, Redux

WonderBaby came into this world with her eyes wide open, silent but for a few obligatory shouts. There had been complications, so they whisked her away for a moment, but within a very few minutes she was pressed against my chest, a tiny, fierce life-force, clutching, grasping, straining for the breast.

She found it. Within minutes of having burst out of me in a gush of pain, she was latched to my breast, sucking hungrily, pulling from me what she needed. Eyes wide open.

This was our start. Skin from skin, skin to skin, tiny new body pressed to big strong body, tiny mouth, little bird mouth, clasped to swollen nipple.

I remember thinking, her skin is my skin, the very same skin, the very same flesh, where does my breast stop and her cheek begin?

With every tug and every pulse of every suckle my heart stretched. Is it really possible that we can love so much? So deeply? So primally?

And that such love can burn through pain?

Because, the pain. She ravaged me. She pulled at the breast, tore at my tender skin. She made me bleed. It made me cry. For days, when she nursed, I cried.

But we soldiered on. One day at time, Husband said. And: It's okay to stop.

I didn't stop. It got better, slowly. Finally, one day, it was easy. I rejoiced at the easy: she bent her head to the breast and suckled hungrily, suckled lustily, and it didn't hurt. I cradled her in my arms as she drank and it felt good. Easy. It was working. We were working.

I held my child to my breast and nourished her.

I held my child to my breast and I nourished her, night and day and day and night, and when she reached for me my heart sang because I could do this. I could do this for her. Nourish her.

I nourished her for months. Eight months. Eight months and 16 days. Give or take a day. Sometimes it was tiring. It was tiring. Often it was easy: pop out the boob and baby drinks. No fuss, no muss. But sometimes it pressed upon me, the weight of the thing, the need for me and only me. Me and only me at bedtime, at waking. The need for me, or, rather, my breast. Only me.

We knew that I was going to go away for a few days. I tried to express breastmilk; there was never enough. Hours I spent, dutifully pumping, hoping to store enough to sustain her in my absence. Every trickle of milk was a victory, and a failure. Liquid gold, captured in an Avent bottle. But not enough, never enough.

The coupons for formula were unearthed from the bottom of the pile of maternity propoganda distributed by well-meaning public-health nurses and prenatal class instructors and baby store salesclerks. The formula was purchased, and mixed, and offered to baby. She refused, refused, refused, refused, wavered, wavered, sampled, flirted, drank, welcomed.

And then I was gone. She took her bottles. I fought engorgement, she took her bottles. I struggled, she took her bottles, she thrived. And when I returned, it was over.

She came to me, she lunged at the breast, out of habit, and suckled, briefly.

And then she turned away.

She hasn't been back.

I'm free. Freedom's lovely, in its way.

But I miss it, a little. I miss her.

I clutch her a little more tightly every morning, and every night. And then I pass her to her Da and he clutches her tightly, and she opens her mouth, a little bird, and her cheek presses against his arm and they curl into each other, skin to skin...

It's good. It's all good.

(Dammit but I cried like a baby re-reading this. It stays with you. It always does. It is always, always, the sweetest loss, and you can always taste it.)


Despite swearing to myself that I would never do a re-post, I am re-posting this particular piece from last year, because a) it describes what was, for me, one of the most challenging and rewarding and amazing parts of motherhood, and I want to share that experience again, now, as mothers everywhere fight to make the point that breastfeeding is many things, but it is not obscene, and b) I am too sick to write anything original, and you don't really want to hear me bitch about vomit, again.

Our right and our freedom to do this thing - to love our children, to nourish our children - openly, without shame, and without fear of sanction, is something worth fighting for, hard. Join the League of Maternal Justice in their effort to celebrate the superpowers of mothers everywhere - and join in the Great Virtual Breast Fest by sending LMJ your breastfeeding pics or video, or by writing about it on your blog. Get your pics to us by tomorrow, and we'll include them in a breastacular montage video. Then, post pics or vid or words on October 10th at 10am and we'll rock the boobies. Because we can, and we must.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Knocked Up And Knocked Down

Last pregnancy, I had no morning sickness. This pregnancy, the morning sickness is lasting ALL DAY. I've been curled up in the fetal position on the floor, eyes squeezed shut to stop the endless waves of sea-sicky vurp, moving only to take position by toilet, for two days now. (Last week, it was only lasting through the afternoon.)

The doctor prescribed Diclectin, an anti-nauseant, but it knocks me out, which is great, except for the fact that I can't appreciate the absence of nausea from the condition of unconsciousness. I'm not totally averse to unconsciousness - some of my best naps have involved unconsciousness - but I really do like to have some awake time on any given day.

The nausea is a good sign, I know. It's all those crazy hormones, throwing a party for that embryo down there, and the crazier they are, the better the party is, and a better party usually means a more robust guest-of-honour. Last time around, there was no nausea, but there were also lots of scary hormone tests that indicated that things were too quiet down there, which was scary (Wonderbaby, as it happened, waited until the third trimester to start throwing parties, and she never stopped.) So, yes, I get it - the nausea is good. But still, yuck. It feels craptastic. I feel craptastic.

What do I do? Any magic remedies? Something that takes the edge off the sick but doesn't make me unconscious? I'm no fun when unconscious (well, mostly.)

(crawling back under blanket with bucket now...)

Sunday, September 30, 2007


My sister, finishing, in competition-rank timing, the Toronto Waterfront marathon.

She ran for her son. She ran her heart out. She's my hero.

These are heroes, too. Walking their hearts out for a little boy that they don't know, cheering on a mom that they don't know, just because they can. Because their hearts are so, so big.

Heroes, all.

I'm compiling a list of everyone who pledged this cause (you can still join in, by the way - the pledge site is open for a few more weeks), and everyone who answered Kristen's call to scuffle for a duck and a vibrator for the cause (it's not running or walking, but it serves the same end and is no less invigorating.) It'll go up this week, this list, my list of Tanner's Heroes.

Thank you. From the bottom of MY heart.

(PS - The doctor's visit was fine. I barfed and passed out - actually, if you want the particulars, which you don't, I passed out and then came to and barfed - but I think that that means that a good time was had, if nothing else.)

(Also, this morning, at 5:30am, as I prepared for Tanner's Walk, I discovered something that I'd like to share with you, for your own personal edification and enlightenment: If you have only one pair of sports socks, and you discover that they have not dried adequately in the laundry during the night, and you're in a rush, do not microwave said socks in an effort to dry them. You will only steam them, and steamed sweat sock do not smell good. Just thought that you'd like to know. Pass it on.)