Update: The next part of the labor story is on its way, I promise!
I am grateful for the comments my last post elicited, because I had no idea what kind of impression I was giving. I thank everyone for being supportive, but I really did a bad job of expressing myself.
That post really wasn't about Dooce and it REALLY wasn't about how I am confessing that I don't feel a bond with my newborn or anything like that. Not at all.
What I meant to convey was that I, just like every new mother with an internet connection, am always searching to figure out what the hell I'm supposed to be doing.
How DO you raise a child, exactly? Is THIS normal? What about THIS? TELL ME, INTERNETS: AM I DOING IT RIGHT!?!?!?
And so the moment I find a post from a source I trust (a medical website or a blogger like Dooce, for example) and I read about someone or something being different from my own experience, it's hard not to compare.
Ummm....But....Can my way be right, also?
That's a hard question for a new mom to answer. Contrary to how I've portrayed myself here, I DO have confidence in my parenting skills (really, I do), but still. When my way is different from someone else's way, it's hard not to feel conflicted, or wrong, or not as good. Or at least to wonder.
So. What I tried to illustrate in my last post was that my way, my labor story, is different from anyone who would describe their experience as transcendent (and there are LOTS of them; Dooce just happened to write about hers a couple days ago). My way is different from women who declare that they are "in love" with their newborn baby. And my labor story doesn't have any fireworks or freight trains or sparkles or moments where I feel One With The Universe.
Is my way still okay, then? Yes, of course. But it's still juxtaposed against other ways. And while I know that that doesn't make my experience lesser or not as good -- my way is great! -- it can still catch me off guard.
And that's what happened. I got caught off guard. As a result, here is what I meant to say:
My experience wasn't like any that I've otherwise read. There weren't bells and whistles, exactly, and if I meditated at all it was only to keep myself from punching my nurse. I don't think it's fair for me to use frilly language or to try and describe my experience as something too deep for words. But that doesn't mean my experience was anything less important. It wasn't anything less amazing to me. I don't love my daughter less than anyone else loves theirs. My drug-addled, unfrilly hospital stay was unremarkable in many ways, but oh my god was I ever happy.
I still am.
So when someone uses words like transcendent I get defensive. Because I don't think you have to have that in order to have it be the best, most memorable, greatest thing ever. For me? I am crazy about my daughter, I love being her mother, I feel like everything has fallen into place and my life makes sense and that this is exactly what I am supposed to be doing.
AND I know that there are other ways, still. Some of you out there hated having a newborn. Hated labor, hated the newborn insanity, did not feel "built" for parenting at all...and yet also still found your child/parenting to be the best thing you've ever done.
One cannot help but get the impression from the internet that giving birth and having a baby is supposed to be mind-blowing and mind-altering and instantly life-changing and flowery and unicorn-filled. And all I want to add to the chorus is that Nope. It doesn't have to be that way, or any which way at all, to still be completely, totally awesome.