Thursday, August 26, 2004

no ripcord

I've been reading for a while now, partly because Heather is brilliant and funny and human and partly because she and I share a common viewpoint on the wacko fundamentalist cult we were both raised in. Also I think she might be the reincarnation of Lenny Bruce... she swears like him anyway. (So many women just can't say motherfucker very convincingly. Or fuckbucket. Heather, on the other hand, can write things like BRIGHAM YOUNG SUCKED COCK in a post to her Mormon BYU-student brother without breaking her stride. I adore her.)

You might have heard about Heather when she lost her job because of her blog. You can learn a lot about her just by reading the Things that charm me and Things that annoy me sections of her website.

In the past her posts were about things like Drunken Underpants Remodeling, but since her pregnancy and the birth of little Leta her posts have inevitably turned towards baby poo and/or breastfeeding, which probably isn't surprising to anyone who has breeder friends.

(I wonder how many new mothers read that sentence and thought "I don't always talk about baby poo, and besides, if I did, little Wingnut is so full of goddam *cute* that even Wingnut poo has it's own mystical charm, and besides, if I don't talk about it how will the other mothers [and innocent civilian bystanders] know about My Superior Diapering Technique? And oh, isn't it just *precious* when little Wingnut's face scrunches up and you think, uh oh, baby made a...". You know who you are.)

Heather has also written a bit about other things new parents discover, like sleep deprivation psychosis and the lack of maps for the territories out beyond frustration and the tidal wave of emotion she feels when she looks at Leta and the constant worrying (am I doing this right?) and the heartbreaking (and heartbreakingly slow) reappearance of any little glimpse of personal space.

And now this:

The reason you won’t be hearing anything from me for several days is because this morning Jon is driving me up to the hospital and I’m going to check into the psychiatric ward. I am very scared that if I don’t go ahead and do this that I may experience some sort of nervous breakdown.


Back in March when Leta was just a little over a month old I wrote this:

The deal is that when Leta was born all these maternal instincts were slammed into the ON position — the instinct to protect, to nourish, to comfort. And no matter where she is sleeping or pretending to sleep, whether it be in our bed, on top of me, in a bassinet beside the bed, or in her crib all the way over in her own room, I am having to re-train my body to sleep. My instincts tell me that when I sleep Unknown Things happen, and my body totally resists the urge to fall asleep. Instinctually I am listening for the sound of her breathing or to the sound of her swallowing, and if those noises sound okay then I’m listening to the sounds of the house to make sure monsters don’t come out of the walls to hurt her. I have every reason to believe that this instinct will become numb with subsequent children, but Leta is my first-born, and I have no idea how to turn it off.

Six months later and I still can’t turn them off, or even turn them down. These instincts have turned into demons that terrorize me from the moment I get out of bed in the morning to the hours and hours that I try to sleep at night. I never have a moment of peace.

Here's hoping that Heather finds that moment of peace, and another, and that those moments stretch out into a lifetime. Best wishes to Heather, Jon, and Leta.