Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Of tea and tubals...

Well, it is Mama-go-out-night, and I am in a little tea-house. I was meaning to go to Starbucks, i know, i know, not very local business or whatnot, but I am hooked (line and sinker) to the "Espresso Truffle" (try one only if you enjoy bliss) and I kinds had that delicious chocolate taste in mind when i was out tonight...but i couldn't find parking to save my life and so here i am at a little tea house. It is precious in here. And the tea is lovely. They gave it to me in a fancy little double pot thing and i put honey in it. It doesn't taste anything like Lipton it tastes like plants or Earth or something. Gorgeous. I feel like I haven't ever had tea before and this was not one of the exotics, just "strong black" is what I asked for. yummmm. I am finding so many places around town that I wished I knew about when I was pregnant. I guess when you have had 5 babies in 11 years, almost everything in your mind is still about pregnancy. Do other multips feel this way, I wonder?
And all this even though we are done having babies--yep--you heard it here first/finally, I got a tubal ligation when I had my c Section 10 months ago--everything is still about being pregnant. Knowing where the bathrooms are for the constant peeing. Knowing where the fresh food is, knowing where the protein is, knowing where the peaceful places are, knowing where the close parking is. Most of this did and does translate into useful mothering skills, not only for myself and the forever transitioning from baby inside of me to baby on my breast, but for just being a person forever traveling with children. They need bathrooms and they need fresh food and they need peace and close parking and wide doorways for double strollers heavy with diaper bags--that's all still needed.
I got my tubes tied because for us, after this time, there was no more of that "maybe". Whatever a woman or a couple or a family's reasons are for doing something so permanent, we did not feel that until this last pregnancy. Some rude folks implied, implored us to do so way before 5 babies, but when we mulled it over for even one second, it was a "no". Not that we didnt get what they were saying---pregnancy is so hard on you, Joy, you guys dont have money, what about the time devoted to each child, what about the earth, arent you looking forward to no more diapers/strollers/sleep deprivation/kids hangin off yer was a "no" for me and my husband until this last time. and then, before we had any inkling that within 2 hours postpartum things would start to spiral downward for me, we knew we were done. and it was ok. I truly couldnt do it again, truly.
the last 2 months of my pregnancy were a blur of such darkness and fear, such pain and chaos, it just couldnt happen again. All those logical other reasons, all that whaddabout college tuitions, still didnt play in, it was about the sheer fact that I was DONE. I cried everyday from the pain and worry, and at that point, as insensitive, ignorant, ungrateful as it may sound now, the healthy baby to come became less and less relevant as just getting through the day, the morning, breakfast had become.
So, now you know. I am neither sad nor happy. I repeat. I am neither sad nor happy. I have meditated, contemplated, and mostly, just waited--for the feelings to come. To be honest, I mostly expected a horrifying regret to seep in, and I feared I would have exactly zero sympathetic shoulders to cry on--but it hasn't happened. I have felt tremendously private and protective of my/our decision, and I have felt the need to not talk about it to too many people until I was ready--because I did know this: I was not ready to hear "ARENT YOU GLAD??? OH GOOD! FOR GODS SAKE I WOULD HOPE SO!"....and on the same token, but the other side, i was not ready to hear or deal with "I COULD NEVER DO THAT! ARENT YOU SAD? DON'T YOU FEEL LIKE AN INFERTILE WEIRD ASEXUAL NEUTERED GENDERLESS CREATURE NOW? HOW COULD YOU MESS WITH GOD'S PLAN?..." etc.
And now? today in this fancy little tea-house? I feel peace. and I feel mending. (The word Healing has almost lost all meaning it is just so overused as to be a bit of a turn off for me at this point) but I do feel mending. I feel the tea and its strange alive texture, smell and golden hopeful color mending me. I see the weak but promising sunset poking its little face in and out of the rain clouds now (it was raining when I straggled in here) and I know it has alot of resting up to do for tomorrow-- it is supposed to be EIGHTY degrees! Today there was freezing rain!---and I feel Earth mending after a very very harsh winter. We are all mending.
For months and months after the c section, indeed well past the point where I could feel much understanding/empathetic feedback, my body was just shot. Shot shot, chewed up and poorly taped back together, bent and stiff and sting-ie and quite hobbled. When I would try to do stuff, wear a baby sling, hang decorations, lift things, I would feel the ripping and the shooting/tearing pains, and I would know that the next day would find me in my quilt, in my old green chair, strapping back on my hospital-issue abdominal binder that was now too big to serve it purpose, gulping down ibuprofens like they were altoids....smiling politely at the well meaning people's suggestions of yoga classes, core conditioning videotapes, expensive herbs, but knowing it would just take time--more time than *so-and-so* took to feel grrrrr-eat again. More time than the books said. More time than the doctor said (Ha!). More time than I would have ever, ever agreed to do an elective cesarean in hindsight than. MY time. and then, it happened. Slooooooooooooowly. So, so slowly.
What happened? I began to feel that the things I would do that were strenuous in some way, went from damaging to strengthening. Finally! Finally! Finally! (This was NOT, however, some cutesy little mind-over-matter thing. I tried all that. It landed me in the green chair, belly stinging, guts falling down and out, hobbled and defeated. again and again.) It just took many, many months. But now, when I walk far, when I carry stuff, when I adjust my posture before lifting double jogging strollers over my head and into the back of the giant van, I feel like a mom, a mighty woman, an athlete, lifting weights. Fibers lining up, not shredding. Its very cool.
I kind of know why my recovery has been so slow, and some of it is a mystery, why I had such a hard time when others just do not. I had five full term babies, three of them 9ish pounds, one 11, and one 12. With three c sections in a little under 8 years, and not one single solitary "getting back in shape" episode. Nope, not one. I also was never able to obtain that elusive babymoon or get all that help they recommend in the pamphlets, so that hurt, too.
I was kind of in shape , I suppose, when all this started, back when I was a slim newlywed of 21...and now...well I hope my fun hair and cheerful face can draw the eye upward! I love what my body has done, i am amazed by it all, but in the light of the bathroom mirror, the only thing recognizable is...well...the fun hair and the cheerful face. 36C and field hockey legs are a vague, vague, v a g u e memory. I don't worry too much about it, it slams into my feminism too hard. Sometimes I dream of buying brand new tiny boobies (or even medium and facing forward?) and seeing this bizzaro "stomach" land in the plastic surgeon's wastebasket, but the thoughts of surgery do not consume me. I have written about this before, and it is shelved for now.
Well, my tea is cold and my meter is running out. I will definitely be back here, enjoy the unseasonably hot weather, any and all of you whom this will effect in the upcoming days!


Kelley said...

You rock, Joy, no matter what your body looks like right now. I completely know what you mean about the done-ness. Yes. Every bit of it. It is truly amazing what the female body can do, but that doesn't necessarily make it pleasant and hunky-dory and all that jazz. Nope. You have done an amazing thing in growing and having and nursing your babies, and anybody who wants to poo-poo it can go jump in a lake.

Enjoy your tea and your 80 degrees and your blue hair (I think I'm jealous. Jon would FREAK if I did that.). We should talk again soon.

Mere Mortal said...

I love your writing. Your power and vulnerability pour through and really, it's just your amazing heart.
Thank you.

-little mad girl said...

i love how you can write all this so eloquently in one sitting! thank you for sharing part of yourself with us. it is strange-- you and i are probably the same age and you are finished having babies, and i am just beginning, yet i feel so similarly to 20s wrecked my body too, just in different ways, and it took me a long time to find peace with my wounded spirit. it is really good to read something from the heart.

Kneelingwoman said...

Joy- you are "mending" indeed and what a perfect word for that long, sometimes tedious process of putting something "right" again. I think of mending my old, blue/green "hippie" dress; the last one I have left. I think I wore it during Casey's birth. It has all these little thin places now, and little holes wearing through and I keep taking out a thread and needle and trying to approximate the edges and make it "do" just a little longer...

You've done a miraculous and beautiful job "approximating the edges" and making all of it "do". You're writing is so strong, and edgy and bold and shows real giftedness. "Miracle Drug"!

Kneelingwoman said...

Ha! I started out saying "You are writing so strongly and with such wisdom" and it came out somewhere in the middle; sorry about the wrong "you're" ( oh my perfectionistic streak...)