Not here, not now.

11 Apr

I can’t stand the sound of new babies.

Someone in the office just brought in their new baby. I don’t know who, and I don’t want to know.

The sound of a squalling infant makes my stomach churn, and brings tears to my eyes. It makes me uncomfortable, it makes me mean and upset.

It makes me hurt.

I hear the other women cooing and awwing and I hear the eggs dropping and the overall fertility rate of the office going up. But I can’t join them. The sound of a recently born child makes me want to run away, makes me want to throw up and curl into a ball, crying.

It reminds me oh too much of a time when everything seemed so ruined. It brings to mind days when I couldn’t bear to be near my child, when I knew, I KNEW I could give her away and not mind at all. The days when I bore hate in my heart.

He cries again and I feel my body trying to escape. I feel my breast recoil, my arms twist upon themselves. My body tells me I am not a woman. I cannot possibly feel this way and be a woman.

I know that’s not the case. I know that I love my daughter now, despite the hell that was the beginning of her life. I know that I got through it, and it wasn’t my fault.

But I can’t help the tears that squalling baby brings to my eyes. And I can’t help the feeling that in some way, I am defective. I’m in between. My husband felt more connected to my daughter than I did for the longest time. I felt hate, and then I felt nothing. Not love, just obligation. This crying infant brings into focus that numbing obligation once again, my resentment, my anger, my fear.

This crying infant reminds me of a time when walking into the woods and dying seemed like the only option in front of me.

Take your babies from me. I cannot face them.

19 Responses to “Not here, not now.”

  1. bromac April 11, 2007 at 2:32 pm #

    Yes, you can.

    You need to allow yourself forgiveness for those thoughts. And acceptance. Acceptance that you are not an anomaly.

  2. Marcy April 11, 2007 at 3:32 pm #

    Totally with you.

    And wondering how many of those women force their coos and ahs.

  3. Jen April 11, 2007 at 4:00 pm #

    I hate that sound too, and I’m freaking expecting one. I can’t coo until a kid is at least 8 months old. I mean, really, have you ever heard someone give ‘that delightful bawling noise’ as their reason for wanting a kid?

  4. katsplace April 11, 2007 at 4:07 pm #

    I honestly think that if more women weren’t afraid of being judged that it would be seen as common to cringe at the idea of a newborn. My mom told me upfront that it was normal and just hard work at first. I wasn’t weird if my heart didn’t instantly melt.

    At the same time, I think your reaction may be more about grieving than anything else. The cries trigger more than the idea of a newborn – they trigger your own feelings of helplessness. They trigger your mourning for what you lost. It doesn’t matter whether or not your ideal new mother experience is realistic or not – you are mourning what you think you lost. The fact that it wasn’t your fault and not in your control isn’t going to stop the need to grieve for it’s loss – if anything it might make it more important to grieve.

  5. thordora April 11, 2007 at 4:38 pm #

    oh gawd kat don’t make me cry at work.

    It’s true. It’s so fucking raw and true. I RESENT that I didn’t get to enjoy, even for a moment, the first few weeks of my child’s life. I mourn that I essentially lost the first few months. I hate that I’ll have to explain all of this to her when she’s older, and I hope like hell she’ll understand.

    I mean really, who wouldn’t feel a mite bit unwanted if they know their mother wanted an abortion, and then wanted to give them away or kill them?

    And jen, you’re right-there is NOTHING delightful about it.

    I’m sure a lot of us pretend.

  6. eric April 11, 2007 at 11:52 pm #

    It’s not the sound that bothers me as much as the smell…

    kat has the rest covered

  7. Nat April 12, 2007 at 10:13 am #

    I’m starting to relate to that, kinda. The nurturing part of me wants to grab those newborns and gobble them up. I enjoy the ‘fresh’ babies, but…… only for a minute. Then I quickly remember that mine doesn’t sleep through the night yet and think “You can have him back now”.

  8. thordora April 12, 2007 at 10:43 am #

    Mine were great babies-THAT is the kicker. They slept well, they ate well, they weren’t overly fussy…

    What did women like me do hundreds of years ago is what I want to know.

    And yes Eric, they smell. BAD.

  9. karriew April 12, 2007 at 10:43 am #

    Isn’t Kat the best? I’m so grateful for her for sharing like that when I was a new mom.

    I feel kind of panicked when I hear that helpless mewing/squawk sound. It makes my adrenaline rush in a bad way–like I’m afraid I will have to go make it stop or something.

  10. Missy April 12, 2007 at 1:17 pm #

    I feel bad for what you had to go through. I wish it hadn’t been like that. Kat’s right. You need to allow yourself to grieve.

    I can understand wanting to ‘fess up about the PPD and bipolar and all, but (and this is me personally, I don’t know right from wrong here) I wouldn’t tell them about the other stuff. Some things they need to know. I don’t think they need to know all of those kinds of details.

    And even though I’m a sucker for babies, I don’t run up to hold them unless I think I’m doing the mom a favor. (I’ve been to parties where I had to hold an infant the entire time, and it’s really not fun. I often wished someone would step up and make an offer.)

    That said, I instantly start rocking back and forth when I hear a new baby. It’s sort of ingrained in me now. I start the comfort mechanisms even if I don’t have anyone to comfort.

  11. thordora April 12, 2007 at 1:37 pm #

    Sadly, there are bits and pieces in their journal. I tend to be honest to a fault.

    And they won’t be told the “harsh” stuff until they’re older, if it comes up.

  12. Heather April 12, 2007 at 1:41 pm #

    I hear it all the time here – 2 week olds getting Hep B shots.

    They scream. And scream. And my breasts ache. If it catches me off-guard, I cry.

    It sucks. There was a PSA on the radio about AIDS babies while I was pregnant and it had that horrible mewling cry on it. The first time I heard it I was about 6 months along and I had to pull over to the side of the road because I was shaking and crying so hard. It was just such an assault on my emotions and my state of mind.

  13. Rhianyn April 12, 2007 at 9:37 pm #

    I, too, cringe when a newborn is nearby. The sound of a baby crying brings me to tears and a baby’s laugh shreds my heart and soul. I used to love those sounds. I truly did, but it has been a long time since I was able to be around a baby. I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever stop feeling this way.

    Please don’t be too hard on yourself. You seem like a wonderful mother and your children are lucky to have you.

  14. eric April 13, 2007 at 1:02 am #

    i don’t even mean the poopy smells either… I just don’t like the smell of a baby

  15. eric April 13, 2007 at 1:03 am #

    they taste good though

    (couldn’t resist)

    ((couldn’t attempt to try to resist))

  16. thordora April 13, 2007 at 6:33 am #

    That’s one thing I’ve never understood-some people get all giddy talking about how babies smell sooooo good, and I have NEVER thought that. They smell like milk and crap and whatever creme you spread on them.

    Wouldn’t want to eat one though. Too stringy. šŸ™‚

    Rhianyn-thank you. I’m glad I’m not alone.

  17. Caitlin April 13, 2007 at 10:39 am #

    New babies make me very uncomfortable because I don’t have that much experience with them and all the time I spent in the NICU with Paul. In his first room, there were a lot of micro preemies, and they had to cry it out, because they weren’t supposed to be touched aside from diaper change time. A few of them didn’t make it, and it just makes you want to cry, knowing they didn’t get cuddled during their life.

    It also just feels weird holding a baby who is younger than Paul was the first time I got to hold him. I also just don’t have much confidence around babies less than month old, even the ones who don’t have tubes and wires hooked up to alarms. Newborns just bring back a lot of bad memories what was supposed to be a happy time.

  18. thordora April 13, 2007 at 10:59 am #

    Why can’t you touch them? I understand the risks, but wouldn’t contact, at a time when they are meant to be inside and TOTALLY touching something, be a benefit?

  19. Caitlin April 13, 2007 at 1:10 pm #

    I asked about it one day, and apparently the type of touch you get from your parents is easier to get overstimulated from than the special micro preemie beds. I don’t know how true that is, since some of the things that went on in the NICU seemed to be more from tradition than anything else.

    I tend to think it had more to do with the amount of tubes and wires attached. It is a hassle to move a baby with that many wires to someone’s arms, and occasionally something gets dislodged. Paul managed to pull one of his IV lines out a few times, and the nurses had problems keeping good IV sites on him. He was a big baby, so I imagine the problem gets worse as the baby gets smaller.

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