I’m walking on Shelf Road, which is this great trail/hike/walk that overlooks pretty much the entire Ojai Valley and is either very busy with lots of walkers and bikers (the peddling kind) and dogs and kids and families or else is very quiet. On this day it is quiet. I am here with Nava, my beautiful and smart and sophisticated and heading towards well trained and did I say beautiful Doberman puppy.
So, I’m walking along and this guy comes along with this really cool dog and the two of them – meaning my dog and his dog – get that dog play thing going that is just so great. A bit of sniffing and a lot of running and tumbling and running some more with some tag and keep away and wresting thrown in just to make it worth their while.
And we, meaning me and the owner of my puppy’s new best friend, are just hanging out and watching our kids play when he says that his pup has really needed this because he has a new baby at home. A real baby. Like a human one, not like a dog one. A new, eight week old little boy baby!
I asked him how he is…. and then how his wife is doing, too. She’s basically a food source he says. Which is true. We all were to some degree or another, I think to myself. And then, being the kind and concerned mom of now adult children that I am, and wanting him to know that he is not alone in this, that we have all been there, I reflect on my own kids and how that all worked out and tell him that eventually they do eat other things. And then I joke about how I am sure it’s hard for him because his wife is basically attached to this small buddle of joy and need and so, at the end of the day, when there is perhaps a moment of calm, and he, meaning this guy, comes in for a hug, he is probably getting something similar to do not touch me right now.
Because here’s the thing, when a baby is latched on pretty much all day, either actually latched or just there, against our bodies, the last thing in the world that we want is someone else to touch us – except perhaps to rub our feet. But truly, that sense of personal space that really is so important, that is gone when this new baby comes along. And so we grab it when we can get it. And that may mean that this wonderful man who is the father of this beautiful bundle must be kept at arm’s length.
Yes, that is pretty much how it is right now, he says to me.
Don’t worry, I said. This will pass and she will reconnect with you in, oh… three or four years.
And I laugh and he laughs, too. Kind of. And goes on his way with his pup. And I hoped that he heard the truth within my joking so that when he is home and perhaps feels a bit disconnected - because he cannot get the physical contact that he craves - he will know that he is not alone. That this happens. I am not going to say that is happens in every case, but I will say that every single women that I have ever talked to about that says yes, this is so true!
And this got me thinking about all those other pregnancy and baby things that happened. And how wonderful it would be if we shared these things with each other. Because then we wouldn’t feel so alone or think that something was wrong. We wouldn’t feel shame or not good enough or selfish or lonely. We’d know that it was all, ok. That not everything is pretty. That actually most things are not.
I’ve shared a lot about getting older - that aging body and wise crone-woman place that I am landing in. And it’s been really amazing to send out these thoughts and have them resonate with others.
But I have not really done much in terms of talking about those other great moments that I have walked through. And how these, too, are moments that we tend to underplay or hide parts of. I think it’s because we worry so much that we’re not doing it right. Like this whole new baby thing. Good forbid if, beside not getting the diaper on right or the nursing down pat, or those skinny jeans back on our exhausted body, we admit that some days we don’t even like our baby that much. Or our husbands/partners. Or ourselves. Well…that would not be a pretty conversation at all. And so we do not have it. And then when we feel this way, we also feel alone. And that sucks. A lot.
So back to my puppy’s best friend’s dad, who is also a new dad to that sweet and hungry eight week old human boy. What I truly hope came out of our interaction – though light and full of banter – was that this miracle that he now loves that came from the love between him and his wife, some days it won’t feel so good at all.
And that is absolutely ok.
Mother, Wife, Friend, Sister, Daughter, Dancer, Rower, Runner, Dog and Cat lover.