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About this blog.

On June 6th, 2013, our baby Edith was born–our first. After spending a few lovely days in hospital, soaking up all the advice and attention I could get from the nurses, I confidently bounded home ready to take on the world with this new little chicken-like human. I felt so strong and good about my new role especially because the nurses had walked into my room while I was breastfeeding Edith just before we were discharged from the hospital and said, “Oh, look! It’s the poster mom!” If nurses were calling me a “poster mom” then I must be good at being a mom. After only three days. Of course.

I suffer from an unrealistic need to be excellent at the things I am learning while I am learning them. This goes for snowboarding, driving a car, cooking, playing guitar…you name it. I have never appreciated “the process” and give the finger to “trusting” the process. What makes everything worse is the moment when someone tells me I’m doing well at whatever new thing I’m learning. I take that to mean I’m already a pro and thus should not face any challenges from this point forward.

So when the nurses called me a “poster mom,” my fate was sealed: I was a pro. After only three days. Of course.

Yet when I learned how to snowboard, how to drive a car, how to cook, how to play guitar, the minute I took a spill under the lift lines, or stalled out on a hill start, or when I made a terrible lentil soup, or couldn’t figure out a chord for a song I wanted to play, I hung up my snowboard, settled for an automatic transmission, put away the soup pot, and hung my guitar up in the closet. Completely resistant to acknowledging the process of learning, I shunned the things I was enjoying learning because of the self-imposed shame of making mistakes.

Fast forward to June 10, 2013: my first middle of the night feeding at home. I’d heard that it’s best to keep lights dim during nighttime feedings so as not to overstimulate the baby. I figured if I kept the lights off, and breastfed in the dark, Edith would simply slip off to dreamland when she’d finished her snack. But that feeding, and all the others to follow for three solid weeks, was anything but simple. All the lights in the bedroom came on, cell phone apps opened, Boppy configured and reconfigured, glasses on, hair pulled up, tank top pulled down–or up–or off, burp cloths positioned, water bottle just out of reach, tubes of hand sanitizer and lanolin caps off, nipples cracked and bleeding, newborn not giving a shit about what a “latch” is, and toe-curling pain for me. Not to mention the amount of mental preparation it takes to have a sloppy newborn suck on what feels like an open wound. I was tense, she was tense, my husband was trying to help out in the way only a man without lactating breasts can: changing the diaper and then falling asleep. It was a complete clusterfuck.

I got it in mind that if I could breastfeed Edith in the dark, I’d be doing okay. It was a small goal, but one I felt was reachable and would take time and patience to reach. And I eventually did, but not without some more mistakes along the way.

So this blog is about motherhood, and it’s about being in the dark about how to be a mother and how to navigate the pathways of my life, which I once thought were set in stone, with this new little companion who is happy to tear up those stones every chance she gets. (Or better yet, she’s happy to sit on the sidelines, smiling and farting, and to watch me as she makes me tear them up myself.) But it’s also about small successes, like the nighttime nursing sessions.

I plan to update this as often as I can. Please forgive any typos, run-on sentences, or large gaps of time between posts. I’m no pro, but I’m doing the best I can.

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