Thursday, March 9, 2017

3-month interview with mama Liz

1. How much does Julien weigh now?
Last I weighed him, he was 15 pounds. That was over week ago...

2. That's pretty big for a 3-month old. Do you feed him formula or breastmilk?
He gets milk from the boob. So far, he's had my milk, my sister's milk, my friend's milk, and donor milk (from when we were at the hospital the first week). Julien doesn't discriminate. As long as it's milk, he pretty much takes it in any form. As Samuel says, "He loves those chi-chis."

3. Any notable moments this month?
He's better able to fart on his own. He had his first tears this month. We got him a crib and he slept in it for the first time. He had a friend come over and they sat in bouncy chairs next to each other. I pumped 10oz of milk for the first time! We elected to get J's tongue tie released. I went on my first solo trip with J. We met Winnie for the first time! LOTS of firsts.

4. OK, I'm going to try to steer this interview about you Liz...not all about baby.
Good call. This isn't called "3-month interview with baby Julien." :-P

5. What would you say is the main thing you worry about these days?
That J won't ever chill out and he'll always be high maintenance. The second thing I think about (not so much worry), is what kind of work will give me back a sense of creativity and meaning outside of raising baby. I think about what it would be like to go back to work and it really piques my curiosity.

6. What would you say you are most confident about these days? 
Two things: (1) that my body is producing enough milk to feed my babe (as long as I keep eating food and drinking water); and (2) I'm confident in the women in my life and their willingness and capacity to care for and/or carry me when I can't. 

7. I heard baby cries a LOT. What is that experience like for you? 
He certainly cries less than he did a month ago (thank God!), but it is really hard when I'm trying to console him and I'm pooped. Sometimes he won't even let me sit. The moment I start bending to sit down, he lets me know it's not going to happen so I keep bouncing on the yoga ball or walk around holding my heavy sack of potatoes. Sometimes I have nothing in me and he's just wailing, so I put him down, look away, and take a couple breaths before I can pick him back up again. And sometimes I feel so much compassion towards him because I know he's having gas issues and can't control what's happening; he's just in pain/discomfort. All around, baby crying is torture. 99% of the time, I want it to end as soon as it begins, and 100% of the time, I start sweating.

8. You've been doing this "keeping it real" thing by posting photos of him crying. What's that about? 
It's totally okay if you someone has a happy content baby. It really is. But it's so tough for me to read about these "perfect" babies who smile and giggle and play by themselves when that has not been my experience. My reaction is almost always, "WTF?! Is that for real?!" Our curated lives on the internet bends towards our best moments, but that sliver of life makes me feel like I'm completely alone in my hardship. My contribution is to try to tell a fuller story of what being is a mom is like so other moms who are having a tough time don't feel so alone and women who might become moms don't have some illusion that babies are easy. Some of them are, but from what I hear, many of them are plain hard.

9. Speaking of keeping it real, how's your postpartum depression and anxiety?
Ugh. I don't know. It's still there. It's like the snow this winter. It won't go away. I'm trying to find things that give me a teeny semblance of myself before I got pregnant. This helps kinda sorta. I'm also doing some good work in therapy, but this won't be a quick fix as much as I wish it were. I've been in some state of depression for almost a year now. :(

10. I heard you just went on a solo trip with baby. Tell us all the deets!
I went to see Anne Lamott speak at the Mothers Symposium at Stanford. It was a fairly spontaneous trip that I kept quiet simply because it's hard to see everyone in my old stomping grounds. The trip was so soul-nourishing, but it was hard on my body and mind. It was super tough to solo parent in the chaos of travel. I had so much anxiety in public areas because I didn't want to be a bother to anyone with my crying overstimulated baby, but I needed to be there for me, for my well being, so I made Julien come along for the ride. (Where the chi-chis go, the milk will flow.) I also got to eat a lot of amazing food - sushi, thai, ethiopian, milk tea - and spend time with some great friends. I felt so mothered and nurtured; it was exactly what I needed. 

(Not a very flattering pic of me...but wait till you see the final one below. I look amazing here compared to that one.)

11. Sounds like that self-care trip was much needed. Final question: this interview feels a bit more serious than your previous interviews. What's going on?
I'm just worn down. It's hard to feel "light" about life when it's heavy. I had so much going on physically that it took a major toll on my spirit. From an extreme allergic eczema reaction, mastitis, sleep deprivation, J's traumatizing tongue tie release procedure, it was/is really hard to find the humor in suffering when I'm barely coming out of the string of fires I had to keep putting out this past month. I'll include a photo of me when my eczema flare was at it's peak because I can't make up this stuff. And now as I type this, I'm fighting off some head cold. I hope next month is a little easier. Or at least I hope my face doesn't blow up into a pink Korean-shaped balloon. I'll report back in a month.

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