Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The New Tara (not Superwoman)

Wonder Woman is more my super hero character than Superwoman. I dressed up as her for at least one Halloween.

There is so much I could write about the topic of my aim for perfection (as well as many people in the mental health field). However, I no longer am able to complete or accomplish a fraction of what I used to. Yet I'm more exhausted, physically and emotionally.

Maybe writing will be cathartic because I am struggling with managing my new life as mom. I definitely hit a bottom with the weight crisis ... I feel like I became a crazy lady, crying often, often paralyzed with fear to do anything. The issues with breastfeeding and then there are these insane hormones! I definitely had some postpartum depression, my mom describes as mild ... if this is mild, oh, my goodness! It feels major to me, mainly because it seems SO different from the Tara I know. Confident, decisive, able to manage simple tasks without tears involved, happy basically.

Becoming/being a parent is the hardest thing I've ever done. Harder than the homesickness I felt at Wellesley, harder even than the homesickness I experienced living in Thailand, harder than the adjustment of being married. It is a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week job that never ends, no breaks, no weekends off. People tell you about it, but you cannot know, not really, until you experience it.

Sleep deprivation is torture. Actually it is used as a form of torture. If the military wanted to train soldiers to withstand capture and interrogation, let them care for an infant. If you survive, you probably can handle ANYTHING! Jai says maybe if I'd pulled more all nighters in college, I might be more OK with less sleep. I had one all-nighter in college, thanks to a group project. Actually I overslept for the final presentation (UGH!) - that is why I do not like group projects. Other people's procrastination issues are annoying. Breastfeeding is the ultimate group project!

Faith - I didn't think I had issues with believing. However, breastfeeding requires you to have faith in the process. You cannot know how much milk the child gets and every feeding is different anyway. Pumping and bottle feeding is an exact number, but never will replicate the action of the child sucking on the breast in terms of volume or needed food at that moment. That is hard for me - I'm a numbers person, not quite like Rain Man, but close. I like hard facts.

Humbling - another good word to describe parenting and not the former Tara. I'm not modest, rarely humble. I'm really quite arrogant. Not so much anymore. Maybe that's a good thing, hopefully I'll be more compassionate, especially with people I used to consider incompetent. If you have children, I'm going to assume you didn't get much sleep and cut you some slack.

Latest symbol for the new Tara is my haircut. I cut it ALL off. Julia was starting to pull on it and it takes FOREVER to wash and comb so I went with a low maintenance do. Jai said "I thought you weren't going to get it as short as Susie's." I didn't plan to, but it happened. He says I really look like Susie now. It has been YEARS since it was this short. Some adjusting to it, but no regrets. Luckily my hair grows quickly, especially with the prenatal vitamin I still take.

What is that phrase that people say to help with challenging experiences? ... "this too shall pass." Time is truly a wonderful healer. I will find my new balance, not sure when, not sure what it will look like, but I have hope that I'll get there.