Recently my mother-in-law showed me a scrapbook she's made for her five grandsons. She has pictures of Soren--as a baby, toddler, and preschooler--that I hadn't seen before. It's a beautiful book. But seeing the pictures was bittersweet: I love seeing those chubby cheeks (oh, my), but I hate being reminded that there are parts of my child's younger years that I don't really remember.
There, I said it. I've known this for some time, but I haven't really explored why this is. I'm afraid to know the reason(s). I also don't want to dwell on this because it brings up all sorts of bad-mom triggers for me.
Part of the reason for the blanks is the far-reaching effects of postpartum depression. My postpartum depression was acute when Soren was about 3 weeks old to about 3 months old, and then it festered in the background until he was 8 months. It was hard to feel joy about my sweet baby. I didn't relish the milestones at all. I don't remember when he said his first word or when he first crawled. Heck, my child doesn't even have a baby book (insert major guilt pang here). So much of that first year was a blur, an exercise in just getting through the day. When you're just existing, it's hard to remember the daily details.
And then there's the impact of Soren's regression since about age 3. I know I've dissociated from his past in order to deal with the pain of the regressive changes in him. I simply cannot tolerate remembering his first phrases, his favorite toys, how he used to delight in peers at preschool. It's too much. So I don't think about the past. And frankly, the future is pretty scary, too. So I'm mired in the present. In many ways, it's a great outlook and it may be healthy. In part. I think.
I wonder sometimes if this is the time that I could make peace with the last five-some years. Could I attempt some scrapbooks or a baby book now? Am I ready to look at all those babyhood videos? I don't know. I'm afraid that doing this will reveal how little I remember.
And I'm afraid that it will reveal how much I remember.