February 1st, 2011
I’m worried I won’t love the new baby as much as I love my firstborn, Clare.
I had a dream last night, set to the The Doors’This is the End, that I was strapped on top of an operating table in a stark, institutional-style room (like the one where Jack Nicholson got a frontal lobotomy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) and the baby was cut from me in a macabre cesarean, which caused me to pass out.
I regained consciousness in the shoe department at Nordstroms, stitched up like Frankenstein, being fitted with orthopedic shoes by a warty warlock salesman, having entirely forgotten I’d just given birth.
When my memory resurfaced I rushed (with excellent arch support, I must admit) back to the hospital.
I couldn’t find my husband, Henry, in the endless maze of sterile hallways, but a coven of nurses fell upon me, wrestling me to a gurney and forcing me to lie down. Then they brought a monstrous, genderless, bald baby to me.
It greedily licked its lips and latched onto my quaking breasts and proceeded to drain me of all bodily fluids until I looked like a dried-up bathroom sponge.
It doesn’t take a genius to interpret that sucker (meaning the dream, not the monster baby).
And I’m not just worried about my mental state. As delivery day approaches Clare has become exponentially clingier.
The once intrepid warrior is now leery of unknown children, giving them wide berth in the slimy ball pools and fetid climbing tubes of the indoor play gym circuit.
I’ve never felt so needed and at the same time so inept as a mom. I’m hefting an extra thirty pounds of my own flesh about. Add Clare and it’s fifty-five total. Just walking across the room with her I begin to sweat and huff like Gary Busey in the fat days, before the diet pills and insanity took hold.
To my credit, I did have one excellent Protector-ess moment today at the mermaid-themed Under the Sea play gym. A seven-year old rapscallion who’d previously driven Clare and me from the Moon Bouncer with his baby elephant bellows, snuck up on Clare with malicious intent while she rocked unsuspecting in a dinosaur thing-a-ma-jig. Before he could spring his wanton attack I bellowed like the Sumo-elephant I am, “Don’t even think about it, buddy!”
The kid jumped a foot and careened behind his cell-phone jabbering mother’s back. Doesn’t she care her kid’s sharpening his Night Stalker skills?
How can I protect a twenty-month old while giving birth to and taking care of a new baby?
My rational brain knows that millions of women have done it every day over millions of millenniums, but I want to do it perfectly (i.e. Natalie-”It-was-perfect”-Portman in The Black Swan). And another thing, how can I love the new baby with an ardor equal to what I have for Clare? As it is I already feel like I’m cheating on her and every centimeter my abdomen grows is proof of my betrayal.
All is Gothic towers and the Abyss.
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