but hey, that’s never stopped me before.
When I was pregnant with Oscar I had this awesome friend in Melbourne, a photographer called G, who called a spade a spade and was a few steps ahead of me in terms of becoming a parent.
Once I was no longer pregnant she was fantastic as she still talked to me as if I was me. None of the pussy-footing around, the rubbing of the upper arm with a tilted head of pity and relief it wasn’t them veiled as empathetic consolation.
She said, ‘right, I’m going to tell you a few things no one else will tell you but every single woman should be told. First, do a poo in the first 24 hours. It will hurt like hell but is such a better option than having to take the pellets. Second, cabbage leaves work and don’t wear lycra t-shirts until your milk supply settles down. Third, once the adrenalin kicks out, you’re going to hate Chef. Don’t worry about it, it will pass.’
‘Wha?’ (I was still so in the ‘look what we made!’ zone) ‘For how long?’
‘Oh with B it lasted about 12 months. With R about 8.’
She was so right.
And it has happened with each and every child although hate seems like such a strong word. I must say with Jasper and Grover it has mellowed, probably due to the familiarity. The ‘oh, so I’m in the place where I can’t stand the sound of him chewing his food’ phase.
Which is so very unfair.
Because Chef does a LOT with the kids and loves me no matter what.
So to be bitching about the sound he makes eating his Nutrigrain seems very very wrong.
But it’s there. Wedged in my sternum.
The ball of fire.
It’s a weird blend of simmering resentment at everything, a constant mental tally of all I’m doing against everything he’s not, a hurt incredulity at seeing him just fling his dirty uniforms into the laundry in the knowledge there’ll be a clean one for him tomorrow and the next day, a blind fury at clean clothes just dumped on the floor and dirty ones left near the washing basket, an oppressive sense of responsibility each and every time I’m asked ‘so what do you want to do/what are we/where are we going today?’ on his days off and a complete exhaustion at having to be the chief communicator.
In that if I don’t, no one does.
If I’m worn out the whole house is fractious. Frought.
Hi I’m Kim, the mood-o-metre for six people.
And then there is the whole issue of sex.
Or the lack thereof.
The great unspoken.
And the pressure I am exerting trying to not notice it. Or mention it.
The nights I fall asleep early.
Or where I wait until I can hear him snoring.
Where I almost try to disappear to bed.
The evenings spent on the laptop. Fine when he was working five nights. Probably not fine now he’s only working two.
The relief of getting through another night.
Of getting away with it.
But with that a crushing sense of ‘if not last night then when’.
I know this feeling.
It has been my constant companion since having children. Sometimes looming large, a big black shadow standing over me and at other times just a hunched figure skulking around the outskirts of my soul. Sort of behind my ears if you will.
A feeling of being completely sexless.
Bristling at being touched.
Repulsed at other’s need to touch me.
Curious that not every woman feels like this. That there are women who actually want to have sex again after having children and can find that place between being a parent, a giver, a carer to be a lover. A taker.
Of feeling completely saturated and satiated by my output of emotion.
No need for physical proximity with anyone else once those young chargers have been put to bed once more. There’s a little bit of embarrassment. Almost like being on a first date.
There’s a lot of feeling really uncomfortable in my body, in my skin for that kind of activity.
And not knowing how to retap into that part of me.
And to be perfectly honest, not wanting to.
I don’t need it. Don’t want it. Don’t miss it.
And then I suck my breath in at how hurtful that must be for my husband.
A man who tells me how sexy he finds me. How much he loves me.
That somehow those feelings of mine mean I don’t feel the same way about him, which is simply not the case.
I don’t think he was ever happier than those few short months I was on Aurorix – an antidepressant that also treats ‘sexual dysfunction’.
A statement I took great issue with and that still makes me arc up, just a little.
I guess it’s like getting a diagnosis you don’t want to hear.
Anyway, it was like a lightswitch.
(Oh and BTW have you met Grover?
Yeah. With our fertility there’s a real life size example of every action has a reaction.
Add homemade limoncello and baby makes six.)
So now I’m all fretful and full of the hand wringing.
What if it won’t ever come back, I mean it wasn’t there in great heaving passionate loads in the first place?
What if it’s only with the assistance of happy pills will my bits go ping.
In which case just roll on the SBS documentary of those hideous excruciating insights into plain couples sitting on a couch talking about their challenges at being intimate with each other.
OH THE HORROR.
That friend of mine in Mother’s Group who said ‘those who talk about it the most are the ones having it the least’ was saying it damn straight.
Because you know, no one talks about this stuff.
‘Hi, my name’s Kim and I don’t really care if I never have sex again. How ’bout you, how much are you and your partner gettin’ it on and really, how on earth could you be bothered?’
SO I sit here in my corner of the universe feeling anxsty and guilty and alone and worried because I have absolutely no physical desire to be held let alone go a round in the sack.
And I worry I’m going to turn into this cold, stoney cow of a woman – you know, the ones you work with who you all concur ‘just needs a good root’.
I don’t want to be some icy matriarch but at the moment can feel it, see it, hear it, happening a little bit more each day.
See. Originally this post simply said – I really needed the company of women today as being surrounded by boys and baseball and balls and more boys was just really really hard.
And before you all go, ‘oh so she’s good for some girl on girl action’ cool your collective jets.
And giggle that I had boys, balls and really really hard in the one sentence.
I’m just saying that this being a mum thing is so much more than how much sleep you’re getting, how clean your house is, how many pretty things you’ve got and what’s on the menu. And that at the moment, the trying to reconnect with the part of me that is simply a woman, a wife, a lover is taking up a whole lot of my brainspace.