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?

9 responses to “healed

  1. Someone offered to throw me a baby shower, and my first thought was, who would I invite? So, yeah, I get the whole where-have-all-my-friends-gone thing. But it makes me extremely happy (and hopeful) that you’ve found some healing in being a mom. I hope to get there, too.

  2. what a great post, G&L. So well written.
    The question your co-worker asked was perfect, wasn’t it. There is a lot to heal from after 4 years of awful IF and a complicated birth including threat to your child’s well being. So, it might take more than 5 months for the full healing, but it sounds like grace is finding you in the loving tasks of motherhood. And for that I am glad.
    But I also hope you can find new friends or reconnect with old ones.

  3. Here from Bunny. Great post. I don’t even know what to add, you said it all so beautifully. Congratulations to you, I’ve been a long time lurker…

  4. I’m so sorry for what you’ve had to go through, but I’m glad you’re on the path to healing! I sympathize with the friends thing, I had to re-learn how to make friends as an adult too. I do have a couple suggestions. When you’re feeling a bit stronger and getting some more sleep, try some kind of mommy and me class or group. At least you can bond with people over baby stuff. Or take time to yourself with a book club. Invite coworkers over for board games on the weekend, or meet up with one for coffee and ask them questions. People usually love to talk about themselves.

    Good luck, and congratulations on little Cayenne!

    • Thanks! I am starting a mom and baby yoga class, which I am hoping will be wonderful, but the tough part for me is always moving beyond showing up — I hear tell that in order to make friends, you have to, like, talk to people! I just need to get over myself and try.

  5. I echo loads here. After over a year, I can feel bits below and above scars. For a scary time, I thought that it was just going to be numb forever. But, small price to pay to not have a heart with the same condition. I have zero insight, but would totally hang with you because as hermit-like as you may be, you are damn witty and delightful. Two qualities I adore in my ficitious set of friends. My real life ones are mostly boring asses. 🙂

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