My Daughter Is Not Me.

I always have to remind myself that my daughter is not me.  Even though I KNOW I am nothing like my mother and my mother is nothing like her mother, I always have to remind myself that my daughter is not a carbon copy of me.  She is her own person, her own unique soul.  When she was born and I first set eyes upon her was the first time I had to think about this.  She looked nothing like me.  I called her a turkey turtle bird cause that is what she looked like with her mouth rooting to be fed.  I don’t know if I was supposed to feel some kind of physic connection to her because well…. I didn’t.  It was a hard over 24 hour labor and  I was just glad she was out.  I really wasn’t all that worried that she was taken away to do all the newborn tests.  I was exhausted.  I was loopy.  The nurse asked me if I was worried that she didn’t cry when she popped out and I was bewildered and like…”uh no”.  My mom and husband were all cooing over her and I was still laying on the table getting the after birth out or my uterus back in or something and then the nurse was like; “OK get up and take a shower.”  She didn’t even help me.  I stood up and a flood of blood came out of me on the floor and it was like “no Big Deal… keep walking to the shower”.  When I am in shock I do what I’m told…. I walked to the shower.  I should have said “FUCK OFF.”  The breast feeding Nazi’s came making sure we didn’t use “those evil bottles” and practically forced my daughter on my nipple, nurses kept coming in to check my pulse. All I wanted to do was sleep.  Why was this baby in the room with me? I’m paying $600 per night for the nursery…. PUT HER IN IT!!.  Were they just being lazy and not wanting to do their jobs and watch my bundle of joy while I got some sleep. In fact there were no babies in the nursery.  Seriously? None, of these mothers whom I heard screaming just like me didn’t want some alone time? Some sleep?  What was wrong with me?  I’m obviously a horrible mom. Pregnancy, birth, baby at home…NOTHING was as I thought it would be.  I would not be wearing the same jeans pregnancy out of the hospital like you hear some alien moms do.  I wouldn’t get back into those jeans for over a year after gaining 70 pounds.

Now I’m home… what do I do with this mini me that is definitely not me.  She is tiny.  She cries…a lot… she only sleeps a couple hours at a time.  I come home and my husband has ALL of her baby stuff in my room.  Was just the two of us supposed to be locked in there indefinitely? I’m just to continually put a boob in her mouth, change her diaper, watch her in the vibrating chair thing, and try to get her to sleep?  I didn’t even have a TV in my room.  And wait a minute…… I’m in charge of a human? At the time I had like 10 dogs. I could just lock them all in the hallway or put them outside.  I couldn’t do that with a baby human….. I’d go to jail.  How do I connect with this human baby?  This baby that is not me.  I really think I thought she would be me.  I know me.  I know what me likes.  I remember things I like to do as a child, books I liked to read, toys I liked to play with.  I had this strange feeling that I was going to have to get to know this baby human.  I did not know her at all.  It was a big wake up call for me.  I’m sure I cried. or I was just dazed, like a deer in the headlights… or both.  She was out of my belly. I couldn’t sleep all day every day. Like she wanted me to do stuff for her like feed her and change her diaper.  Her screams and cries would be like nails on a chalk board. I tried everything to comfort her.  Sometimes I just couldn’t… then I would cry… I’m failing.  I would pass her off to my husband and the cries didn’t bother him.  He just called it exercising.  He could sleep, work, watch TV right through it.  he would even video tape her crying.  He video taped her doing everything.  We have about a thousand hours of footage from the first year of her life. Our second child maybe has an hour… it happens….

Right from the beginning she was determined to be nothing like me.  I was a big baby.  I liked to eat.  She was a tiny peanut.  She was not gaining weight and the doctors had me all worried.  They wanted to do all these tests.  The nurse was like “It’s ok, you don’t need to be in the room when we take her blood.  My daughter was SCREAMING… they had just used a catheter to take out urine… I was like “NO WAY” and took her home.  My motherly instincts really kicked in then.  However, yet still I had to always remind myself that she wasn’t me.  I made her, but she was her own person.  I had always wanted to adopt too.  I knew if what ever child was in my arms would be mine.  I don’t care what the baby looked like.  It was still kind of strange to me that my daughter who I know I made did’t look like me. I don’t know why. I was an adventurer.  She is cautious.  I love dogs.  She loves cats.  I loved having my hair brushed.  She hated it.  I would just keep her hair chin length cause it wasn’t worth the battle.  I found the things we did have in common…. snuggling…. I carried her around for YEARS… even after my son was born.  I also let her be herself.  Wear what she wanted (because my mother always dressed me)…. She HATED when I wiped her mouth if it was dirty, so I just didn’t.  THAT drove my mother crazy. My daughter loved the Disney channel and I Iet her watch it when ever she wanted.  I’d put her in her excer saucer thing with a bottle, put on the wiggles and go take a nap.  She was safe and I was tired.  She might not have been me, but she was my extra appendage.  She was with me constantly to every trip to the store or on every trip on a plane. Side note: flying with a baby sucks ass… She was so attached to me I tried to leave her at a babysitter once and she didn’t stop crying and I had to go get her.  I just wanted to like go to the bank and Pamida…. Preschool….. crying…. I’d have to leave when she wasn’t looking…… Her cries would make my heart break.  I loved school as a kid.  I loved being with my friends.  Homework was no big deal.  I hated it, but I got through it.  For my daughter school was HARD for the first 10 years of her life.

As she has gotten older she has like “some” of the things I did and played with like Barbies.  It took her 5 years to want to go down a side.  I was rocking the slide when I was under one I am sure.  I put her in dance like I was in and my mother was.  She liked it, but she did’t love it.  Even now she wants to be in dance, but it is just not as important as it was for me.  I wanted to be the best int he class.  She kind of cares….. but kind of doesn’t.  With her friends they always ask her to do stuff and half the time she doesn’t even return the texts. She just likes being home…… I wanted to get the hell out of the house and play with my friends any chance I got.  I guess that is part of being an only child. I wanted out! I drove my friends NUTS to play with me.  I craved attention. She needs it too, but when she learned attention needed to be shared with her brother, she just kind of accepted it.  I’m sure she resents it and will end up in therapy for it, and she will even say she got slighted… but she deals with it.

She is very cautious and worries about death.  We cant even say the word volcano.  I was a daredevil. My parents had me on every roller coaster before I was even tall enough.  We had “tricks”.  At 12 she is finally kind of willing to try some.  I climbed trees.  I walked on top of my gym set.  No way she would do that.  At a trampoline party yesterday she followed around her brother and his friends to make sure they didn’t get hurt.  She is caring and loving and a gentle soul and worries that she hurts people if she says something silly.  She is shy, yet brave and is always willing to try new things (that aren’t dangerous). She has patience and is loving to all.  One day I see her as maybe a teacher, which I would have no patience for or a manicurist (she loves nails).  She is not going to do all the things I did when I was a teenager…. and maybe thank the universe for that…… she will find her own hobbies, and activities that she loves and are a part of her.  She is not me.  She is herself unique. As she grows older I have to especially remember this and not make her feel bad if she chooses paths that are different than the ones I chose.  She is perfect.  I made her. Her soul was chosen for her body and for me.  She is perfectly not me:)

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About Vanessa Bednar

I am an actor, a writer, a mom, an adventurer.

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