I have a secret parking lot. It’s where I go to cry.
The last time I visited my concrete oasis was following an argument with my husband over who would answer the door when the pizza delivery man arrived. Yes, that’s the kind of thing that can send a hormonal woman to her secret parking lot to weep.
Five weeks after Emmett’s birth, I’m not sure if that particular bout of sensitivity could still be classified as the socially acceptable “Baby Blues” or if it was a sign of the bigger, more taboo issue of post-partum depression. I’ve read the symptoms for each a dozen times, just to make sure I don’t wake up one morning with the uncontrollable urge to harm my child. So far, I’ve wanted to harm a lot of things (like the container of baby wipes that seems to malfunction exactly when Emmett starts to urinate on my forehead), but never my baby.
I’ve allowed myself to shift the expiration date on “Baby Blues” slightly based on Emmett’s birth. The week before he was born, I had already spent many days in the hospital as the complications of HELLP Syndrome started to unfold. I already rode the emotional roller coaster of “possible delivery/”just kidding, you’re fine!” So when things suddenly changed at the end of that week and Emmett was born, I was going into my first post-partum week with a bit of baggage. In the second post-partum week, when “Baby Blues” should begin to subside, I was overjoyed to be home with my healthy baby, but just beginning to see what life was like at home with an infant.
I thought I wasn’t getting sleep during his first week because I was trying to catch Z’s in a hospital bed. Now I know that the reason I’m not sleeping has nothing to do with the surface underneath me, it’s because of the shrieking infant rooming with us. I used to complain about camping in a tent — too many gnarly roots under my ass, the bugs, the chirping birds at 4:00AM, the sweaty film that encases your body after spending hours outside with no air conditioning… It’s all CAKE compared to sleeping with an infant. I’ve thought about going to my parking lot just to curl up for a nap one afternoon.
Some days, the idea of having gravel bits stick to my face as I drool into a much-needed slumber seems more favorable than sitting on the couch in 90-degree humidity with a fussing baby who is determined to crank out ear-piecing wails for hours on end.