Monday, November 26, 2007

The baby has a birthday

My youngest child turns 5 on Friday.

I’m of two minds on this milestone.

One: It is implausible for me that this is happening. She’s my baby, my youngest child. It cannot possibly be time for her to be a little girl instead of a baby. She’s old enough to start kindergarten. (Well, not till next school year… but I’m indulging myself in my own little pity party – bare with me.) How can it be that she isn’t two anymore? With that toothy smile that was hilarious, her baby talk, her needing me so much. I will never again have a baby. Every month now she needs me a tiny bit less. It’s time for her to become a person separate from her mommy – and it is heartbreaking for me.

Which brings me to my second mind: It’s kind of freeing at the same time, her growing up. For those of you who don’t know, I’ve suffered from depression (postpartum and clinical) on and off (mostly on) since the birth of my first child. Maybe it’s unrelated, her growing up and leaving the baby stage and my feeling my depression subside, but I have to wonder because suddenly, in the last 3 or 4 months, I’ve begun to feel like “me” again. Not that I have my “old life” back or anything like that – I wouldn’t want to trade what I have now for my old life. I remember telling my OB/Gyn that I just wanted to feel like myself again when DD1 was about 6 months old. He told me I’d never feel like that person again… and I had stopped hoping that someday I ever would. I let that hope go years ago. But, since sometime in July I started feeling… I don’t know… more free. Free of shadows that were making me not so much myself. (“Shadows” is as close as I can get to the word I’m looking for. Murky vague darkness, suffocating but not. See? Writing is not ever going to be my strongest creative outlet!) Suddenly, I’m glimpsing and feeling me again.

You won’t see much of a difference outwardly. I worked really hard at appearing like everything was OK, and except for a few stumbles I think I did a pretty good job of being OK. It was exhausting pretending to be someone who didn’t really exist. I’m not as emotionally drained anymore, which in itself is freeing. I think I’m a becoming a better wife and mom now, and I can truly appreciate the blessings in my life. My life is good.

I don’t think I’m unchanged. Being a mom changes you. Depression changes you. But maybe coming out of a depression changes you too?

She’s turning five.

I’m sad.
I’m happy.
I’m torn.


tz said...

there is a certain amount of liberation when the youngest reaches a certain stage and yet a longing for that complete dependence of a baby....motherhood is so hard.

depression sucks! sorry

Sitting in Silence said...

Oh...I so get this blog...I feel the same way about Stumpy.......

So glad you are feeling more like yourself.....

Congratulations on making a stand with PD, I just read Brooke Sheilds book, And down came the's a great read.

I really learned a lot.

Colleen Dobson said...

I didn't know that Dodi. You certainly do your best and cover it well. I'm very sentimental of that short little phase of my life that's almost completely gone now, (Abigiggle is 5 1/2). I'm hoping to love the changes to come as much as I loved the stay-at-home-mom/baby stage. I'm gonna go upstairs and squeeze them now. Thanks.

Martha said...

That baby is SO not really turning five, is she? Seems like just yesterday the boys in the 'hood were holding her and counting her toes.

And yep, I've known about your ups, your downs and your just barely hanging in there times, I'm so very happy to see you feeling more like yourself. Here's to many more happy days shared together in this great 'hood of ours!

Dodi said...

I do love you all!!!! Tomorrow is the day - I'm sure I'll be crying on and off all day.

Auuuugggghhhhh! 5!