________ ________ ________
2021-06-28 / \/ \/ / \
/ __/ /_ _/
Our daughter was born 13 June 2021, 14:10 / _/ / /
UTC, just before midnight our time, and life \_______/_\___/____/\___/____/_
since then has been a thick, gauzy blur. / \/ \/ / \
/ _/ /_ _/
When you talk to other parents, they'll /- / _/ /
joke with you about how little sleep you're \________/\________/\___/____/
going to get and about how quickly you get
used to handling dirty diapers and all that superficial stuff but no one talks
about how hollowing those first weeks of parenthood are.
Maybe my experience is unlike most. I'm sure there's a lot of motivated,
put-together types with upper middle management jobs and gym memberships who
take having a baby in stride. A straight-line life. Drinks on Friday, football
on Saturday. New baby? No problem!
I'm not like that, though. I'm a long-legged spider navigating a
crystalline web of depression, addiction and anxieties. Gingerly testing each
thread for signs of self harm or self sabotage. My relationship with myself
is, by your average measure, strained. I route around damage well but a change
this significant is a shock to a delicate ecosystem.
Having a baby is an exciting, thrilling, wonderful moment. A rush of
adrenaline, a dizzying ballet of midwives and doctors. But then it's over and
you come home and... and what?
You've spent the better part of a year working towards this moment and you
return as if from war, shell shocked, into a life that no longer fits you. A
stranger's house, a stranger's clothes, a stranger's habits.
You haunt your old life. Cleaning and examining objects, turning them over
in your hand trying to remember what they were for, why they were important.
You try to have conversations with people you used to know. Every conversation
is the same.
There's no more accurate term to having a child than "giving life". You
can't create a life from nothing, you know in your heart that in creating
their life you sacrifice a significant part of your own, but like a magician's
ledger, you don't know the cost until after you've agreed to the terms.
All you can do is pay the debt, hand over a piece of your life to another
to use as they will.
I feel strained to breaking, stretched to fraying, but I hand over this
piece of my life to her willingly and without hesitation. Her name is Thomasin
Dorothy and she fills the hole we made in my life tenfold.