BOOK One: I’m Not Your Super Mother
CHAPTER ONE: Peer Pressure and Its Legacy.
I should have known I was in trouble when I had a dream that I was breastfeeding my eight-year old miniature dachshund, Piglet.
My biological clock finally wakes up when I am almost out of reproductive time, but I am still in denial and dread of becoming a smug parent. I consider questions of population control and the right time to have a baby but my personal decision-making is hampered by my mother’s interfering and illogical prodding to reproduce. I set myself a “Baby Bucket list” to complete before becoming a parent, as it wILL surely be the end of my life as I know it.
CHAPTER TWO: In My Own Time: All Babies Begin With An Idea Or An Insult.
A family dinner party for my brother’s birthday goes awry when family politics and innuendo, the history and future of a bitchy genetic line come humorously to life.
CHAPTER THREE: Good God What Have I Done.
My mother wonders if I have morning sickness or a hangover? How can I be pregnant already; I stopped taking birth control last week. Bad timing: managing a career, a terrified husband, a child to be and the medical condition called pregnancy, while trying to keep it all secret. In order to keep my sanity I begin nesting, and make my first baby purchase – a cage.
CHAPTER FOUR: A Real Mother
I come to terms with my own out of touch expectations upon news that the baby is breeched and I will have to have a C-Section. I abandon my birth plan and surrender to the baby after trying every wacked out method possible to turn her around including virtual headstands, and witch doctors.
CHAPTER FIVE: Happy Birthday Baby
Eva arrives butt first via Caesarian section and pees on the doctor. Her decorum ends as her life begins. My birth announcement does not go down well with all friends and relatives. Eva’s future godmother calls and accuses me of giving her a “stripper name.” My mother arrives at the hospital with an exercise matt and diet plan.
CHAPTER SIX: Babies Aren’t Just For Christmas.
I have my first nervous breakdown on Christmas Eve. Crying and naked I give the Christmas carolers the bird while they sing Silent Night outside my hospital room. I pump breast milk around the clock and after four nights without sleep I begin to have hallucinations about the future.
CHAPTER SEVEN: Month One: It Takes Eleven Days to Die from Sleep Deprivation but Add Breast Feeding and It’s About Six.
My mother deems me unfit and takes the baby from me, feeds her formula and takes me to the doctor for a mental evaluation where he diagnoses me with advanced mastitis, sleep deprivation, and hormonal fluctuation and then tells me that this is supposed to be the happiest time of my life. I am sent home with the order to give up breastfeeding. I give up for one night. In place of a supportive extended family I take advice from my psychic and my dog walker.
CHAPTER EIGHT: Month Two: Day Release And Baby Eva Gets A job.
I have my first nude episode, while pumping when my dogs get into a fight. “Why did I not wear pants this morning.” I think. My in-laws arrive to provide much needed help while I walk around half naked with triple F breasts attached to a backpack pump. Eva has her first starring role on film in my movie, playing a boy. She smiles for the first time but it is short lived when her screams reach a new decibel with the onset of colic.
CHAPTER NINE: Month Three: Relationship S.O.S.
We have a relationship breakdown when my husband and I both refuse to take care of Eva and he accuses me of not having any interest in my child. I continue to work, pump breast milk often while driving a car, washing dishes and typing not to leave out taking care of a child full time without any help. People begin to ask me when the second baby is due and I reply “December 21st 2011” with emphasis on the year.
CHAPTER TEN: Month Four: Daycare, A Gift From The Universe
I get spotted naked with my breast pump in the car several times, once by a little boy in a playground parking lot while a cop drives by, making me feel half dutiful mother/ half pedo flasher. Finally at the age of four months, it was time for Eva to start daycare. At the time I had pangs of separation and great joys of freedom. After four months to have an hour without her in my arms and not asleep felt like being released from some sort of prison and I was relieved to have someone help me raise her, that wasn’t a disgruntled husband, or clock watching grandparents. With heartbreak I witness Eva’s first tear.
CHAPTER ELEVEN: Month Five: Exercise And Other Swear Words.
My stomach overhang and the fact that I had rotated the same five pieces of clothing around for months, forced me to come to terms with the fact that I had to start exercising. After five weeks of my new 6am with Eva in tow pushing the stroller exercise plan, I had lost two pounds. Clearly something was not working so I went back to cream puffs, pizza and banana bread. Eva cancels Mother’s Day with her first taunting laugh.
CHAPTER TWELVE: Month Six: Running Away to Corfu.
Eva can sit up and I finally see her as a separate person. I make the ambitious deadline of breastfeeding Eva for six months on June 21st 2012, on June 27th I left the baby with daddy and ran away with her godmother to Corfu, Greece for a friend’s wedding. But because you can never escape family, one of the Gruncle’s tagged along. Eva says her first word, “Ma Ma.”
CHAPTER THIRTEEN: Month Seven: Rehabilitation
As my reorientation with boozing was just beginning my brothers was ending with a furor which would take me from Corfu, Greece to Wernersville Pennsylvania in a couple of weeks when my brother goes missing, is found in a strip club and we all meet up in a family counseling program.
CHAPTER FOURTEEN: Month Eight: Derelict Mother
At not yet eight months we take Eva on her first plane ride, across the ocean into several other time zones for the sake of a family wedding in London during the Olympics. I mistake my reflection in a shop front window as a street person. I dream up the mantra for new mothers everywhere: I’m Not Your Super Mother. Eva crawls for the first time.
CHAPTER FIFTEEN: Month Nine: The Other Woman
Eva is christened in September. I put Ruth Elizabeth Davis (Bette Davis) down as her godmother. I went to sleep with my makeup on and somehow wake up with the new realization that the other woman in my relationship with my husband is a baby called Eva. The next day I decided it was time for me to start running because the more weight I gained and the more it looked like I was having a second child, the less likely it became.
CHAPTER SIXTEEN: Month Ten: Solid Food and New Obsessions.
Eva begins to eat protein, refuses to accept anything via a spoon and starts eating church worms for breakfast. After hitting my head on a rock running, I recommit to my role as wife and mother.
CHAPTER SEVENTEEN: Month Eleven: Dim Sum and Other Adventures.
A Thanksgiving extended family celebration in New Hampshire with a Gruncle. We each speak about what we are thankful for, including life, second chances and Captain Hook. Eva gets the full tour of Boston under the Gruncle’s wing who gets her off of church worms with an introduction to dim sum and chicken feet and mommy decides she must have been Chinese in a past life, a wise old man, god forbid, a geisha. Eva begins a disturbing new habit of humping everything she comes across.
CHAPTER EIGHTEEN: Month Twelve: Remember, Remember December.
Determined to live my life and regain my sense of person, independence and journey I continue to drag Eva who has picked up a bad cold around to Christmas parties much to my husbands dismay. Eva’s birthday party is cancelled after Eva is hospitalized and diagnosed with Septicemia. I spend several days in isolation on the children’s ward, in the same room with the same view, one floor up from the room on the maternity ward where she spent her first week of life. She is too sick for them to insert an Iv so I have to wake her up every two hours to give her fluids. I am awake for two nights and sleep deprivation gives way to flashbacks to the maternity ward a year before. I feel guilty for causing her illness by making her adapt to my life and priorities, for not being a better mother, and develop a short-lived savior complex. The doctor reassures me that only a good mother could have spotted that something was seriously wrong and saved her life, my savior complex develops into a god complex, and I forgive myself for all my failings as a mother.
CHAPTER NINETEEN: Month Thirteen: A Happy Un-Birthday To Me!
After Eva recovers from her hospitalization her grandparents volunteer to babysit Eva on her first birthday by taking her to a Christmas AA meeting, while her parents go out for cocktails. I reschedule Eva’s birthday party as an Un-Birthday party for Eva and myself in January, a fresh start and a new year with new resolutions and a new bucket list.