Written on 5/9/23, another post-that-never-was, until now. Looking back on these musings, I remember the hesitancy I felt about posting them, but now, re-reading them, I feel confident that they are worth sharing.
Parenting is bullshit. That’s the message that I send to my partner when things aren’t going so well. Parenting is bullshit, but in the same way that hard things that turn you inside out and upside down are. Being cracked open again and again by this tiny human who I cannot control, don’t want to control, just want to go the fuck to sleep… is bullshit.
Towards the beginning of infertility treatments, one of my many doctors said, “this is your first lesson in parenting: you cannot control the outcomes.” I definitely thought that was a bullshit answer back then, but it was humbling, and clearly stuck with me. I try to remember it in these times when parenting is really hard. When every single one of my triggers is pulled and I’m fighting the urge to flee/fight/freeze/fawn all at once. When my kid tells me he hates me, over and over again. When he says, “I wish today was a dad day.” In those moments, I want to disappear. And I do, emotionally. That’s when some song from my adolescence comes into my head and I start to disassociate, into some place of safety deep inside.
I never thought about this part of parenting. I was so focused on the challenge of getting pregnant, achieving that goal, doing that thing that my body was supposed to be able to do. I knew parenting would be transformative, and usually I’m all about that. But I often forget that transformation is not fun. That caterpillar has got to turn into ooze in the chrysalis before it can rebuild itself and fight its way out as a butterfly. I can’t tell if I’m in the ooze stage or the fighting-my-way-out-stage, but either way, it’s hard and gross and it hurts.
Reparenting myself at the same time as I’m trying to figure out how to parent my child is fucking hard. The abundance of swears points to the level of rawness, the existential pain, the absolute desperation of what parenting is often like for me. I’m trying to undo generational trauma here and it feels like I’m caught in the eye of a chaos storm, and doing everything wrong.
I know this is hard work. I know that I am building the plane while I’m flying it. I know that this age will pass, I know, I know, I know… what I don’t quite know is how I am going to get through it. And yet, at the end of even the bullshittiest day, when that little human falls asleep, and I feel the rise and fall of his little chest, I am filled with love and a dreadful kind of awe at the weight of the responsibility that lies in my arms.