When my first son J was a few months old, he would only nap for any length of time if he was on my body.
Becoming a mother was disorienting and lonely. I didn’t know any other mothers and I didn’t know then that I needed to – that a community of parents was the thing that would save my sanity. I thought I needed to write. I would put J in the wrap tied firmly to my torso, dance around my living room until he fell asleep, and then I would stand at the bookshelf I’d cleared for my computer and type madly, swaying, until he woke up and I had to figure out what to do with him again. As you can imagine, the book I wrote this way was terrible. It is the worst thing I’ve ever written. However, it did feature a main character that I still feel tremendously fond of, and I hope I will find a worthier story to put her in eventually. The plot was so stupid I don’t even want to describe it but it involved a group of teenagers who can dream things into reality (pretty sure that has already been done, too).
It is strange and sad to think of now, the way motherhood panicked me in the beginning. I was so anxious all the time – was he really OK? Was he happy? Did he like being my baby or was it terrible, having only unsteady, uncertain me as his safe harbor in the world? I felt changed in ways I hadn’t expected and didn’t understand. I wondered if maybe I had post-partum depression, but now that I have a better idea of what that is I think I was just freaked out. I had no idea how to spend the time with him and the days felt endless. Whenever I put him down he cried, so he lived in that wrap and we just walked around a lot.
It was a bleak six months until he learned to sit up and crawl and I made some new friends and everything was different and better for both of us. I wrote the book like writing it could keep me connected to whoever I was before he was born, but it didn’t work, and I still feel very little connection to whoever I was before he was born. Now that I know him better, I think he probably hated being a baby. He was probably bored out of his mind. I wish I’d understood him better, and I wish I’d understood myself better. I wouldn’t have written that stupid book.
The book’s badness is not particularly interesting or instructive. I never came up with a title for it. It wasn’t badly written but the story is unoriginal and unexciting. It doesn’t offer much, besides a few nice moments and the fun main character. Next week, I’ll post a snippet from it that I actually like.