Monthly Archives: October 2013


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.

* Not-depressed is awesome. I had forgotten. It makes me sad for all the time I lost, and for anyone who is still there. I wish I could give you a hand up out of that deep hole.
**Seriously, how pathetic is that?


I go back to work in less than a month. 25 days, but who’s counting? Cayenne will go to day care, where someone named Miss Vaunda will feed him bottles and put him down for naps and absolutely not just strap him into a bouncy seat to wail for the rest of the day. I will pick him up in the afternoon, when he will definitely not have forgotten who I am, and will certainly not have come to prefer Miss Vaunda and the day care center to me, my husband, and our house. Right? Right?

To exactly no one’s surprise, I am feeling a lot of anxiety about the whole going-back-to-work thing. I know I am incredibly lucky to have had as much time off as I did (24 weeks, unpaid after I used up my vacation and sick days) and that lots and lots of brave mamas go back after 12 weeks or even less. I’m actually a bit of a trailblazer at my company, it seems — my HR rep was very surprised that I wanted to take the full 12 weeks of FMLA as opposed to coming back as soon as I was medically released, and when I requested an additional leave without pay it had to go all the way to the director of the company, as no one had ever asked for such a thing before and there was no precedent for it. So yes, I’m grateful, and I know I’m incredibly privileged to be in a situation where we can make do without my paycheck for so long, but still. I look at Cayenne, and he’s a baby! How can I possibly leave him?

After waiting so long for the chance to have him, and watching him pull through all the scary, scary stuff at his birth, and just now after nearly five months finally starting to get the hang of this momming thing (though I still suck at the housewifery thing), I’m supposed to just drop him off?

Dramatic handwaving aside, I know that day care is not actually prison, and that it will probably be good for him in the long run to be with other kids all day since he is so unlikely ever to have a sibling, and that millions and millions of kids kiss their parents goodbye every morning and say hello again in the afternoon without having forgotten them in the meantime. I know this. And yet …

Would anyone really notice if I discreetly slipped a pack-n-play into my cubicle?