Monday, March 7, 2011

The Pooped-out Princess (a.k.a. the Drained Diva)

This weekend was incredibly difficult.  I had three breakdowns during my friend's baby shower.  I would feel the tears starting to well-up in my eyes and I would make a hasty exit to the bathroom, where I would sob for a few minutes (hoping that no one was listening at the door), and then try to fix my make-up and put on a brave face to reenter the baby shower.  It wasn’t just the whole “baby shower” scene that got to me, it was all of the talk of pregnancy and newborns (there were three at the shower) and the constant questions about whether I had any children.  I had given my pregnant friend a ride to the shower and, given that she has gone through infertility, she could see what a mess I was two and-a-half hours into the shower, sandwiched in a seat between to newborn babies and their doting grandmothers.  She pushed me to leave and I can’t say that I put up much of a fight.  Even though I left a little early, I’m glad that I went to the shower.  I have an idea of what is going to trigger a crying fit now, and I know when I am reaching my limit of stress and sadness.  As for shower ideas to steal…I now know that I will never invite 40 people to my home for a baby shower and I will likely do gift-opening while everyone else is eating, so as to move things along.  There can be too much of a good thing...just ask my friend...her relatives stayed for 9 and-a-half hours before she finally shooed them away.

Surprisingly, my visit to the maternity ward to see our friend’s newborn, later in the day on Saturday, was easier to get through than the baby shower.  I held the baby for a long time, changed a dirty diaper and gabbed with the proud mommy and daddy.  Even as I sat in the hospital room, I wondered what was so different about holding my friend’s newborn and sitting next to the newborns at the shower?  Why did one feel good and the other send me into a tailspin.  I decided that the shower was more difficult because there was so much going on there that I couldn’t deep breathe my way through the whirlwind of emotions.  I couldn’t stay calm because I wasn’t in a calm environment…I was at a party.  When I’m not overwhelmed, I can make it through baby-time.  In the quiet I can find strength.  But organized chaos is not my friend.

I also had no difficulty at my friend’s house, on Sunday, tumbling around with her toddler twins.  I can’t say that I never got sad while playing with the little angel-faced babes.  Sometimes they would run into their mother’s arms, yelling “Mommy!”  And then they would smile as she scooped them up in a hug.  That was hard to watch without tearing-up.  I wasn’t jealous…it was more complicated than that.  It was like the intensity of the happiness they felt when they were in her arms radiated off them and onto me.  I was tearing-up because the intense happiness was so scary to me, and it felt so foreign to me, that it triggered immediate sadness and feelings of loss.  Luckily, those feelings would pass quickly…usually as soon as one child hit the other over-the-head with a block or whatever blunt instrument was available…as children do.

I had said going into the weekend that I would need to look at this weekend as a learning experience.  A chance to press up against my boundaries and see where they are at right now.  An opportunity to learn how to cope with my emotions in public.  In that sense, this weekend was a success.  But the lessons left me emotionally exhausted and I think I need to give myself a little bit of time before testing my own limits again.    


New Year Mum said...

You're so brave... I thought of you over the w/end. I would have found one of those events difficult - let alone 3. Lovely that you felt ok with your friend's baby... that would have taken amazing strength - I visited a friend in hospital yesterday & only lasted 10 mins before I luckily had an excuse to leave before starting to cry. Look after yourself this week... hope it's quiet enough that you can get plenty of rejuvenating rest xoxo

China Doll said...

Sounds like you did really well.. you're stronger than you think. xx

Endo_Life said...

You got through a tough weekend. Survived even. I understand exactly how you feel and I am so glad we do not do baby showers here. I really do not know if I would get through that. But listening to you even though it was tough you made it through the shower and it gives me hope that I could survive that type of experience as well.