Last night Emily woke up, as her usual, at 11pm, 1am, 3:30am, 4:30am, and finally 6am. She doesn't do these exact times every night and sometimes the intervals are less or longer, but generally she needs attention at night. Cuddles, soothing, milk. Normally we both do this in a haze of half-sleep.
Last night though was different. Last night I woke up around 1am and stayed that way. Lying in bed, being very still and quiet. I didn't know why I was so wide awake. Now with the morning I remember: last year at around this same time I started labor. I spent the wee hours of the morning walking around my house, playing with the (then) kittens and finally taking a long, warm shower. That's when my husband woke up and realized what was going on.
That's the start of a 96+ hour journey that ended in a pretty little baby girl. It is not really a journey I look on fondly and the memory actually makes me feel ill. I am so happy to have my daughter. I am so happy to be her mother. Yet, the labor, and the days/weeks/months following it are not memories I want to keep. I have so many feelings of hopelessness and abandonment tied up with them that all I can think about is how badly I needed to be held then and how being held or hugged didn't do a thing to cut the loneliness. Similarly, that's how I feel today. I want someone to come and hug me and remind me that it is over and I know that even if I did get that I'd still feel sick to my stomach.
The really hard part is that I want to be happy. I actually feel great joy. Emily had a wonderful time playing this morning. Bath time was splendid (a rare thing with Emily) and right now she is napping against my chest as I type. There is no end to the joy I feel with Emily here, close to me, literally warming my heart. It's the kind of happy that makes me want to sing with wild abandon. But my hands are shaking and my throat is tight. I can taste bile under my tongue. Tears are picking my eyes and I can't manage to cry. I can't cry. I'm too happy and I'm too petrified.
If this is PPD recovery it sucks just as bad as PPD.