Last week I brought Cayenne into my office for a visit. My coworkers have been asking about him, so I thought bringing him by might be a good way for me to start getting back into the mental space of work. It was really nice — I honestly enjoy the people I work with, and it was good to chat with them, and of course there was much exclaiming over Cayenne.
People asked me lots of questions: is he sleeping through the night? Are you nursing? Are you excited to come back? How much does he weigh? The one that landed with a thud (or a splat) was: Are you healed?
What a question. I’ve been thinking about it all weekend.
I mean, there’s the obvious sense in which she meant it — am I physically healed from the birth? — and even that is fraught. My incision is closed and it didn’t get infected or anything like that. But the scar has formed with lots of keloiding (which I didn’t even know was a thing, but now I’m all self-conscious about it), and it’s still painful, and I’ve still got serious numbness in the whole ladybits area, and I’m still very weak — a 2-mile walk through my neighborhood or a very gentle yoga class just wrecks me. So, am I healed? I guess.
But there’s other healing to be done.
Infertility has gotten its grubby mitts all over my whole life.
Why didn’t I think I would be able to breastfeed? Because all evidence so far was that my body was a barren waste.
Why can’t I answer the question “When are you going to start trying for #2?” Because … well, duh.
Why don’t I have any friends? Because I spent four years locked in a dark smelly room with just my poisonous thoughts for company. Not that I was, like, a debutante or socialite or whatever before, but my hermitlike tendencies have really gotten out of hand. And now that I’m not depressed* I can look around and see the empty spaces in my life where friends used to be. I don’t have the slightest idea how to reach out to the truly delightful people I shoved away for so long, and since we moved it’s not even as though I can do a casual let’s-meet-for-coffee thing. I guess I also need to start fresh — but the truth is I don’t actually know how to make new friends anymore.**
It’s going to sound insufferable and sanctimonious, but the healing I have done so far is all down to taking care of Cayenne. I can do this, I find, and he is thriving, and holy crap he learned to roll over, and he smiles when I sing to him, and I’m actually his mom.