The Resistance

July 31, 2012 Candace Morris 7 Comments

I've felt the strongest refusal to accept my current status of life.  It feels almost foreign to me, like I am observing an outsider - a small child or a bratty teenager.  She is crossing her arms, sitting down in the middle of a busy thoroughfare and resisting the change.

I notice myself wanting to assure others, but most of all assure myself, that I am unchanged.  I can still manage my time, still go on dates, still read leisurely, still have a fabulous dinner party, still drink to my heart's content; I can still do and be everything like I used to.  I receive praise for these things and realize that I am living a bit of a lie.

There are cool parents.  You see them casually carrying on a conversation while their children hang out in rock-star clothes, looking more like adults than kids.  They are unaffected, calm, and effortless.  I mean there are plenty of missteps, but for the most part - they sell the idea that one can have his cake and eat it too.  

While that may be true of me occasionally, if you came over at exactly the right time of day, you'd see just how uncool I've become. You'd see my hair in the most sad of states, my outfits (if I manage to get dressed) covered in god-knows what fluids, and my food choices based entirely on convenience rather than nutrition or intention.   You'd see me fretting that any decision I make now might make a future decision harder (if I hold her too much now, will she be unable to comfort herself in the future?, etc)  I know the answers to these questions, but I'm still so annoyed that I hear myself asking them. You'd see me talking myself out of researching every.single.thing we do.  I know being informed is important, but seriously - all the decisions you have to make as a parent could swallow you whole.  You've simply got to prioritize.  You'd see me worrying about having a conversation with Joel that doesn't have to do with Bowie.  In essence, I've become uncool.  

Friends that admire how little I've changed, I've lied.  I am doing Mom things. I submit the following list as evidence:
  • I have used my saliva to clean dried breast-milk off her face.
  • I have placed my finger under her nostrils to test for breathing.
  • I have nervously handed my baby to unwashed hands.
  • I have severely judged mothers who complained about not getting a shower in. 
  • I've been called away from a hot bath by a screaming baby, only to return to cold water.
  • I've put my shirt on inside-out without noticing.
  • I've have a hard time posting status updates about anything but Bowie.
  • I've been unable to sneak in a phone chat with my best friend for AN ENTIRE MONTH.
  • I've drank 2nd-day old coffee, cold as ice.
  • I've anxiously asked Joel to roll up his car window about 100 times, thinking she's cold.

While I don't care and while being cool has never been the goal, I do feel a bit strange to myself. This mother suit doesn't quite fit yet.  It may not be appropriate to say so, and even less to feel so, but I often want to take it back, to return it to the store. Joel said it correctly last night, "You have buyer's remorse?"  While I seriously love Bowie (and am annoyed I felt the need to type that.  Of course I do), I can't say I am one of those naturals - despite having a lot of experience around newborns and children.  I know what I am doing, but loving it?   How are you supposed to know you'll enjoy parenting until you try it, and then what if you don't enjoy it.  Too.Damn.Bad.  We aren't all cut out to be mothers and fathers.  I have no doubt that I'll find my way through this awkward maze, but it's odd, it's disorienting, and for now, I can't say I am enjoying it - and I think that is important to say out loud.  

Except when I pick up Bowie and kiss her cheek.  That's nice.

Instead of being a too-tight suit, maybe motherhood could be a nice blouse.  It can compliment my existing wardrobe, but not be too loud or overpower the outfit.

Well, cheers to change, I guess.
I know one day I will forget this former version of myself, just as I now feel out of touch with 18-year-old me.  So, despite the negative aspects of it, I really must record and share it.  

How the hell else will I know where I am going if I cannot remember where I've been.

To the resistance, to the progression, and to documenting it.


The instant

July 25, 2012 Candace Morris 2 Comments

I am standing in front of the kitchen sink, washing out a bottle like I've done blindly for the last 3.5 weeks.   Quite surprisingly, and just as fleeting an exit as its entrance, some sort of deeply-embedded bliss finds its way to my brain.  "I have a baby."  The backyard is lush and inviting, the perfect summer breeze teasing the wind-chime in just the right timbre.   It was so real.

I blink, and the moment is gone.  I hear Bowie telling me to get ready to nurse, and so back to my duties - which are not without pleasure, but are certainly, at this stage anyway, performed in a rote trance, half asleep, desperate for something unnameable.  Perhaps it's that I know (and maybe feel guilty about) I am more than a mother, that this isn't enough to culminate my existence.  My brain reminds me of this perpetually.  And so I look deeper into the crevasse of personal interest and intellectual pursuits.  What will I find there?  Where have I put those books of poetry?

Ah, false alarm.  She has put herself back to sleep as she knows she doesn't get picked up or rescued at the first sign of dismay. She will lie in her bassinet calmly, her big blue eyes roaming the room, taking in light and shadow, entertaining herself.  She's already a big girl, patient and pure.  She has given me a few moments to write, to understand my rambling self, which rambled into a moment of bliss and then rambled right back out.  

"You lived here?  But it's so beautiful."
"Oui, it was too beautiful for me, I had to leave."
French Kiss

I love the instances of life's awakenings.

I'm on my way, Bowie.
We are doing well together.


My birthday weekend.

July 23, 2012 Candace Morris 3 Comments

 Friday night Joel's parents came to hang out with Bowie while Joel and I celebrated my birthday with an amazing dinner out.  If you live in Seattle, go to Altura.  Though not a connoisseur myself, Joel said that the fois gras there ruined him for anywhere else.  The food was excellent, but I was swimming on a sea of prosecco and campari and may have thought anything was good.

On my actual birthday, I got up early to go get my hair did.  Afterward, I came home and held my baby.  Joel went and got us burgers for dinner and I spent the majority of the day with more Prosecco and Campari.  It's my new favorite.  If you are inclined:

In a champagne flute, combine:
1oz Gin
1-2 drops blood orange bitters
Fill 3/4 of the way with Campari
Top with Prosecco (or champagne of any kind, but the dryer the better).

I love that just below a picture of my sweet baby girl is a recipe for one boozing cocktail.

Sunday is for pancakes.

And Mass Effect 3.

And holding grandbabies.

And classy wine chillin' techniques. 

And birthday gifts.

And hanging out with Grandpa.

And Angel Food bday cake!

And Trees.

And admiring our daughter.

And hot baths.


Joel heads back to work tomorrow.  May gods have mercy on my souls.


Status Update

July 17, 2012 Candace Morris 10 Comments

"How ARE you," many of you ask.  I shall endeavor to give an adequate and precise response.

Friday was rough for me.  It was the first time I was too tired to manage Bowie's squirmy and ineffective feeding tendencies and was getting so frustrated that I needed to hand her off and get out of the house.  Thankfully, my mother was able to take her and I spent the next hour wandering around the neighborhood with tears streaming down my face.  I wondered what other passers-by must be thinking.  I didn't care.

It's a wretched feeling, being frustrated with something so small and helpless.  I am not dwelling on it or berating myself for losing my patience with her, as I am actually quite proud that I knew what to do and did it instead of making her and I both suffer through a bad feeding.  It is natural, especially under the sleep deprivation, to more quickly deplete the reserves of one's politeness.

After returning from my walk, Joel and I sat on the swing.  I was lock-jawed and he knew I needed something to reset the day.  We agreed that my Mom could stay with Bowie while we went for happy hour at Via Tribunali.

First of all, oh the glorious return to booze.  The wonderful invention of breast-pumps and stored breast milk.  Oh the joy of having one's body back and wearing jeans with a zipper and buttons instead of elastic!  As Joel and I slipped into our old selves, he said rather endearingly, "Oh how I've missed favorite drinking buddy."  It was enough to make me cry.  One cocktail in was enough to release my words to my husband as we huddled together in the nook of the bar, speaking candidly of our new roles and how we could better assist each other.  I really am most happily married.

That date shifted something.  The next morning, Bowie met Auntie Jess, and it also revived my spirits greatly to see my Red in all her glory and mourning.  Her aura is so green. I've been in such good spirits ever since, seeing the way my new life is unfolding, how fleeting all the hard work is, and feeling so much better about it.  I'm also really enjoying having my energy back!  I no longer have to sit down to do my makeup or brush my teeth or get dressed.  I can do several chores at a time and actually complete a day's to-do list.  Despite sleep clouding my head, I can feel it beginning to sharpen again - as it was pre-pregnancy.  I crave mental stimulation and find myself returning to journaling.  I am recovering some of my social energy as well, trying to remember that the very best way to deal with any kind of depression - post-postpartum or otherwise - is to talk about it.

So, I am well.  This week, I am well.
Joel is trying to finish Skyrim.
Bowie is getting fat.
Octavia is still fat.
And so we live.


dry and dusty

July 13, 2012 Candace Morris 2 Comments

After a week of delightfully hot weather, Seattle gave us a storm this morning.  Thunder to shake your bones and window panes, lightening to remind you of your smallness,  and marvelous, glorious, cleansing summer rain - torrents and torrents of it.

I had to go out in it.  I had to let my dry soul refind its way back to flexibility and grace.  I felt a Victorian-like madness come over me, as if I were Catherine Earnshaw with her crazed hair and soaked petticoats, aimlessly wandering the Moors for something she cannot name.

There are at least two sides to everything. A first, I tilt the camera to capture the radiant light, to show you how the rain illuminates the pink on my fushia.  Then with the slightest movement toward the sky, the fushia goes black, the grays of life come to play.  Same plant.  Same day.

Is it our duty as healthy humans to feel both the dark and the light, simultaneously?  Or is it a matter of knowing they both exist; feeling them is irrelevant.  Maybe we are supposed to dramatically know one today and then tomorrow wake to a new companion of mood.  

It's odd, this staying home stuff.  Yesterday I went to the chiropractor and felt like a new person, just for the interaction of the breeze in my car and the wonderful laides at the office.  I sleep, but the sleep comes in sporatic succession.  Joel and I awkwardly fumble around our new duties, like newlyweds deciding who will do the dishes.  Sometimes, in the dead of night, when I can barely be human, I feel the tears of self pity as I care for Bowie.  Then, even through their misty lens, my eyes see more clearly than ever before what a privildege I have to be with her right now.  My wise friend Leif recently wrote to me, "Remember that she will never be this tiny again.  This applies to every day of her life."  Many parents tell me to enjoy it, that they miss the baby time.  So I try, I really do try hard to be present.  Then I border on self-judgement and just before I fall pray to that angry precipice, Emily reminds me that whatever I am feeling in these next precarious weeks (elation, immense sadness, etc), to not judge it too harshly.  To just let it be, let yourself alone.

My Mum leaves tomorrow, marking the end of our live-in help. Bowie will also be two weeks old tomorrow.  While I dread my mother's absence (you should SEE how clean this house is and how well-fed we've been), I also know it's time.  It's time to test out my wobbly mother-hen legs.  It's time to communicate more vulnerably with Joel, it's time to learn to reach out to the community around me if I need help.  Do keep us in your thoughts.  

To benevolent and wise weather systems,


You may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?

July 10, 2012 Candace Morris 1 Comments

Once in a lifetime.
Same as it ever was.



In one week

July 07, 2012 Candace Morris 2 Comments

I keep reminiscing about this time last week.  What part of labor was I in?  I ask Joel what really happened, what that nurse's name was, how long I labored in the tub. What was going through his mind?  Was it really that much pain or am I remembering gently? 19 hours of labor feel surreal in hindsight.  I ponder all our decisions, were they the correct ones for us?  I feel good about it all.

With sleepy but contented eyes, I take inventory of the week.  Joel's parents stayed with us for a few days, and I never knew how much help we would really need.  From the extra hands to fold new little clothes to the sustaining generosity of others to provide meals, I've been very cared for.  My Mum arrived this morning, and the house is quiet as everyone naps, lulled to sleep by the perfect July breeze as it gently nudges our wind chimes.  Today feels good.  

I love paradox.  In that regard, this baby-mooning is fascinating.  I am continually seeing old items combine with new items.  It feels so strange and disorienting, my new life.  But then I watch Joel cuddle with Bowie, and I read my Victorian novel in the bathtub, and we sip lattes from Zoka...and life feels again as it was, familiar and comforting.  I'll ride the undulating waves of paradox for some time now, and at the best of times, I can be gentle with myself.  At the worst?  Hell, I just sleep as much as I can.  Crying too.  It's so good for the soul.

Bowie is really quite easy and laid-back thus far.  This could be the newborn haze exaggerated by her even earlier birth, but we are still sleeping a lot.  We find that this might be sustainable...full well knowing that next week, she'll change not only the game, but probably all the rules as well.  It is a strange existence, to focus almost solely on making sure a small human is fed, cleaned, healthy, warm, and sleeping.  While all consuming, I still hear my strong mind vocalizing its analysis, grabbing the newness and wringing out all the new lessons it has for me.  Even when I am fully engaged in her, I find the voice doesn't quell so much as combine with hers. I've not found anything profound yet, but I figure new life is in itself profound enough.  Yes, quite profound enough indeed.

To one week of her life leading me into the first week of motherhood.  It's not so bad, except the outfits and all the leaking.


The Baby Star has Landed: "A hazy cosmic jive"

July 05, 2012 Candace Morris 13 Comments

Here I am, last Friday afternoon, 35 weeks and 1 day pregnant.  My midwife and I joked that I might have this kid this weekend.
Hilarious, I say.
Don't I look amused?
After 24 hours of labor, the last four trying to push out an "unfavorably positioned" baby (I love how they say that, as if it was just a minor inconvenience and not DAMN NIGH IMPOSSIBLE (occiput posterior position with the addition of her leaning her head way back so the forehead presented first.  The forehead does not mold or shape like the rest of the head, so you can imagine my dilemma)), the little star found her way to us.

Since she was "late pre-term" (born between 35-37 weeks), we had to stay at the hospital for 48 hours for observation. She was a total champ, and one nurse called her a "lusty rockstar." Fitting, if you ask me, since we decided to name her after David Bowie.  Which is to say it's not so much after him as much as an homage to my sister, who introduced me to him and loves him so.  I love its bad-ass sounding cuteness and the message it sends the world, "I am probably just a bit too much for your taste, but if you get me, you effing get me!"  That, or the message will have something to do with the wearing of spandex and a remarkably ambidextrous visage.  At the very least, it will say, "I am not ordinary."  It also means "victory."  Her middle name was chosen after her father's long-term love affair with the night sky.  Andromeda is the neighboring galaxy threatening to collide with ours, and also means "courageous thinker."

Bowie Andromeda Morris
6.6lbs, 17.75"

We are home, we are doing well. 

Our words are giants when they do us injury,
and dwarfs when they do us service.
-Wilkie Collins The Woman in White

And so, I will let the grandiose changes stay large rather than trap them with a word.