My grandma and grandpa had a Chinese Lantern plant that was covered in gorgeous, burnt orange pods. When we were little, my siblings and I would admire the plant and surreptitiously crush the papery husks when no one was looking. They were surprisingly delicate for such a vibrant plant, and it was deliciously satisfying to flatten them and feel the air rush out with a muffled pop.
* * *
The public health nurse who has been assigned to me tells me that birth trauma is something that shouldn't be ignored. It can affect how I feel about myself and how I feel about my baby. She directs me to various resources and leaves me encouraging voicemails when I don't answer her calls. I'm given an appointment with a reproductive psychiatrist. The soonest she can see me is the end of August.
* * *
Poppy doesn't sleep. Newborns aren't supposed to sleep for long stretches, I know, but unless she's being held, our lady baby sleeps in angry 15-minute bursts and then wakes up furiously voicing her objection at top volume.
* * *
On day four, I text my sister and tell her the baby doesn't like me. And I believe it wholeheartedly. On day nine, I throw a block of cheddar cheese at the window and it leaves a vile smear on the glass and a dent in my heart. I spend a lot of time apologizing. I feel like an ungrateful brat but am completely incapable at stopping the hormonal rollercoaster I've trapped us on.
* * *
I feel like a pod on my grandparents' Chinese Lantern plant. My skin is paper-thin and the slightest pressure forces the air out of me with a sad whoosh. I'm crushed. It is day 22 and I don't remember what it feels like to be me. Six straight hours of sleep is a foreign concept. I can't picture what it would feel like to make it through an entire day without crying or using my snippy snappy voice. I know I used to be a happy person but I can't figure out how to get it back. I am deliriously in love with my baby and my family, and I know I'm incredibly lucky to have what I have, but still, I am deflated.
* From this song that has been on repeat for months because it helps me feel my feels and makes me think I'm not alone.