Archive for Family

On postpartum depression

It takes a village to raise a child.

I see this phrase a lot on birthing and parenting blogs, testament to the fact that everyone with children needs help from time to time. We turn to family, friends, experts – Jonty and I didn’t wash Isaac for three days after he was born, until someone showed us how. Our tribe and its collective wisdom is there when we need to learn new things.

But my tribe is scattered. Singapore, Scotland, Spain, Sss-London. Always at the end of a phone line, but not necessarily on hand for a cup of tea and a hug.

This isn’t to say I’m alone and destitute in Singapore; Isaac has a rockin’ little hamlet contributing to his up-bringing. But we lack the knowledge of bigger numbers (and different generations) and the past seven months have been lonely and tough at times.

Hiring a nanny was supposed to make it better. Someone who knows lots about babies, someone to give me a break when Jonty’s work means 12 hours alone with the little fella. I had a list of indulgent things I was going to do once the nanny came: yoga, massages, pedicures. But it didn’t work that way.

I used the breaks from caring for Isaac to sit alone in my room and feel sad. I’d guessed I was struggling emotionally for quite a while, but I hadn’t really had the time or space to recognise it. But there’s no denying it now, my brain chemistry is baffled by its current predicament and that means it’s time to go to a doctor and get help.

When mothers struggled in the 70s the solution was to view their children through a valium haze – the wrong end of a telescope keeping life at arms’ length. Today the drugs are kinder, less intrusive, so here I am, prescription in hand.

It takes a village to raise a child. But sometimes you need Prozac too.

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Down came the tears

I’ve never been much of a crier. Apparently it goes with the late pregnancy/early motherhood territory though.

It’s 7am and I’m sitting at the dining table sobbing and sobbing, little rivulets running down my neck and through the valley of cleavage to form reservoirs where they meet the big belly.

The reason? I can’t see how I can be financially independent AND be as good a parent as I want to be, and I can’t see how Jonty could pay my way and not resent it. (Especially when he said as much last night, albeit while he was drunk and angry at his nicotine cravings.)

It feels horribly tangled from a feminist point of view. I’m pondering the female version of emasculation (I found ‘exogynate’ on two sites online and quite like it) and whether such a word would even be applicable. I want to be independently able to fulfill a ‘typical’ female role, where I can dedicate myself to small children and running a home, but there doesn’t seem to be any way that adds up.


Edited to add:

(Especially when he said as much last night, albeit while he was drunk and angry at his nicotine cravings.)

This isn’t fair. We’ve since talked and we both imagined the other was saying “That’s my decision, not yours,” when in fact neither of us was thinking that. Sometimes it is good to go to bed angry, cos then you have time to re-approach conversations more rationally.

As long as you’ve got your elf

My name’s elle and I’m a recovering hypochondriac.

Sort of.

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At least I don’t seem to have insomnia anymore

Ack, sleep gone very weird. Only had one proper lucid dream in the past four months but last week I had an odd two days of something like anti-lucid dreaming – knowing I was awake (sensing the bed, hearing the room around me) but not being able to control the free-flow of my thoughts, resulting in something very dreamlike.

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Displaced

I’m having trouble wrapping words around my thoughts, which means I’m not sure I understand what I feel.

In simple terms, it’s half homesickness, half performance anxiety. The more I pull at those ideas though, the more they unravel.

Every expatriate I know says that months three to six are pretty hard. Quite a few of them talked about randomly bursting into tears. I haven’t been doing that, but I did sob all the way through The Book Thief, which is perhaps equivalent.

I haven’t been feeling depressed or manic, or any of the things I know how to identify. Just bemused resignation. “This is my life now.”

I am beset by overly romantic memories of London and the occasional, “Why would I give that up?” but I still want to know the world, even if doing so takes me away from people and places I love.

So, pretty confused on that front.

But come what may, we’re here until March. And fuck knows what the next 10 months will bring. When I think of my first six months out of uni, or the first six months in my last job, it’s hard to believe those times segued into the ones that followed, so different were they.

I am impatient though, even if I am better equipped to deal with change (or waiting for change) than I have been before.

Work has been a strange merry-go-round these past months. In brief, got job, hated job, temporarily lost mind, got new job, got counter-offer from old job, moved from Health to Creative.

This is perfect because it’s a great agency and ‘proper’ creative is what I really, really want to be doing.

But it is terrifying because it’s a great agency and ‘proper’ creative is what I really, really want to be doing.

What if I’m no good? I have more than two years’ experience, so I am expected to know my stuff, but I came from a small agency that didn’t focus much on teaching so I don’t feel like I measure up to the creatives here.

I know the whole point is that I’ll learn and get better, but now I have the opportunity I’ve been waiting for, I’m scared of finding out that I’m not as good in real life as I’ve imagined being.

It’s another part of growing up I guess. Watching our imagined lives stumble and get left behind as we embrace the median.

I haven’t accepted an imaginary Nobel prize since I was 17. Maybe I’ll be ok.

No on 8, too late?

Last year Californians voted in favour of changing their state constitution so that marriage is defined as a union between one man and one women.

It was previously defined as a union between two people, meaning the state recognised same-sex marriages. The amendment is called
Proposition 8.

Now the “Yes on 8” guys have filed to forcibly divorce all same-sex couples married before the amendment was passed.

I am not American, and I don’t expect to ever marry a girl, but this shit should matter to all of us. The video below is beautiful and
heart-rending.

“Fidelity”: Don’t Divorce… from Courage Campaign on Vimeo.

And then there were two

Non-monogamy is not just about sex. Love plays a big part as well.

It’s easy to love more than one person – ask anyone with kids. It’s also easy to love your friends. Once you start sleeping with the friends you already love, things do get a little tangled.

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