In the first few weeks after we brought our daughter home from the hospital, I used to cry every time the sun went down. Nights were interminably long, unpredictable, terrifying. I felt like I had absolutely no control over my life, and now I was suddenly partially responsible for somebody else’s life. I had to shelter her, soothe her, sustain her with my body.
And it was really, really, really scary.
But it got better. We found a rhythm, we three, and it worked. Our friends came around again. We went out again (admittedly with a whole lot more luggage and for much abbreviated hours, but still). I returned to work and even a little leisure once Miss E was down for the night. A too-kind friend said my husband and I made having a baby look easy. Everything seemed doable.
Until it didn’t.
Inexplicably, I’m dreading the dark again, and not because the four month wakeful is stretching into five. My whole life I’ve panicked over making choices I can’t unmake, but I’ve made one. A big one. What if I only thought I was ready? What if I wasn’t? What if I’m not?
I gave birth to a perfect human being, but every day she spends with me she changes. Perhaps I am not helping her to grow but ruining her, bit by bit. Creating dependencies she might never have had. Teaching her to be scared, or shy, or lazy. She was perfect but I’m not, and that matters, doesn’t it? Sometimes I think I worry when things are too good. Maybe what my not-perfect parents taught me was to always expect the worst.
But that’s just it. No parent is perfect (we’ve been here before). We lose our tempers. We cry sometimes without a good reason. And that’s okay.
By the light of day, my problems seem a whole lot smaller, even silly. But when I’m low, I have so many people to help me back up, to remind me to take a long, hard look at my little gal and recognize her for the amazing person that she is. That makes me feel pretty amazing, too.