I really suck at asking for help.  This means I suck at receiving help that is offered whether I asked for it or not.  I can't remember a time when I felt more confronted by this problem than I am now.

I suppose, during my pregnancy, I made one of those stupid assumptions I am known for.  I'll be okay, I must have thought.  I won't be like all those other first-time mom crybabies.  I won't have mood swings and post-partum depression.  I'll be fine on no sleep.  I worked for five years to have this baby, for goshsakes; I can't turn around and then say hey, can you help with this feeding?  this sadness?  because suddenly I can't handle it.

Sigh.

Being able to handle things is overrated, but you can't tell me that.  I'm still so hung up on earning the good things that come along that when love and support come pouring in that I did not, could not earn, I am completely freaked out.

Because I am plugged in at a church, in what we sometimes call "Christian community," I am in a small group.  Those women have already thrown me a shower and are now bringing us dinner 3-4 times a week.  I'm also involved in a moms' group which is gearing up to start bringing me food, and visiting me, and offering to do things like stay here overnight when my husband is out of town or to come and hold the baby when he is the screamiest.

I absolutely love this.  I also, almost, cannot handle it.  I have gotten quite a few phone calls asking what I need and I just want to hide under the bed.  It just feels so wrong for me to receive this support and take time away from other people's families and finances, especially since I have only known most of these people a few months.

A friend, who doesn't get it as much as I don't get it, said something very telling about all this.  I was saying how amazing it is that my moms' group and my small group are doing all this for me and I've only just moved here, and this friend said "Boy, you really owe them."

Hm.  Do I?

Obviously I do, in the way that we always hope to give as much as we take throughout our lives.  But maybe, also, I don't want to look at it that way.  I think I understand how much it feels good to give, to drop off the lasagna for the new mom, especially those of us who have been through the new mom thing and know how much the lasagna helps.  But I'm also so paranoid about being caught depending on someone, trusting people who might sense my need and use it against me somehow.

By the way, lasagna is the cliche thing that people bring in situations like this, and I haven't gotten one yet.  Pity, I love lasagna. 

Anyway.  Yesterday was a tough day.  I woke up crying and went to bed crying.  I felt ashamed of all the trouble I have to go to just to halfway breastfeed my son and that's where I go when I'm tired.  Some of the feeding issues are troubling, sometimes he eats for a half hour and goes to sleep full; sometimes he'll nurse for more than two hours and still be screamy and hungry.  I have no idea why.   A persistent friend caught me in tears and I actually admitted that i was "a little depressed" and now I'm thinking, great.  She's offering all kinds of help and I'm dying to tell her, look I'm fine.  Forget it.

I think this is about how scary and sad it would be if help were offered and then withdrawn.  If I were to finally let my guard down and say, yeah, I'm crying a lot and I dread the long nights, someone might make fun of me or not show up.  Maybe there are too many Charlie-Brown-with-the-football-moments in my emotional past.

So I have to accept this help.  I rack my brain for something discrete, neat, easy that I can parcel out to folks who ask if I need anything.  Something not very demanding, something far less messy than walking with me through this time really is.  Yesterday a friend came and told me how hellish her own breastfeeding was at the beginning and that was a revelation.  I have a seriously terrible case of the "everyone elses" as in, everyone else can do this, everyone else puts the baby to their breast and feeds him without having to use anything made of latex or plastic.

I need more reality checks.  I need a gallon of milk almost every day.  I need more meals.  I need to put one foot in front of the other and go to the gym, regardless of what it does to my feeding schedule.  I need my friends to be persistent and give me a few more chances to tell the truth when they ask how I am.  I need.  I just do, and God help me learn to accept that.

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