The weight she has learned to carry in front of her has started to feel foreign. Every morning, she rolls up from her side and slides her legs off the bed. With each new sunrise, she looks in the mirror above the dresser and notices just how much she’s grown through the night. She means, how much the baby has grown. Whenever someone mindlessly comments about how chubby she’s gotten, she politely responds with a laugh and says, You mean how chubby the baby has gotten.
Such little things bother her, takes to heart way more than she should.
This isn’t new. She’s always been upset by little things. But it seems that she holds on to them longer than she used to. Maybe it’s being alone in the house all day, leaving her more time to replay events in her head and room to be distraught over things. She doesn’t stomp through the house angry but more just … mopes about with a strange sense of far off sadness that comes down to a plain feeling of emptiness.
She’s heard of the postpartum blues but doesn’t that usually come after the birthing part?
Amelia Belle, Amelia Trinity, Amelia Florence, Amelia …. something …
She can’t decide on a middle name in her own head, let alone try to convince her husband of a great one she’s thought up. He wants to stick to a name from his family like the boy’s name they have already decided on. But all of those names are used already by his mother and it bothers her to reuse one. She wants originality, something different. A middle name isn’t meaningful unless it’s honoring someone else, he had said. So she tries to think of one that would honor God.
Judging by their synchronized sighs, she assumed they had come to the agreement that they will have more patience toward the other in the future and keep thoughts for Amelia’s middle name in the back of their minds.
She has an idea. She will go to a public forum for expectant mothers online and ask this question, ask about meaningful names for a girl. Tons of people do that, right? It wouldn’t hurt to have another thread on the internet about baby names. There are tons of them and she’s seen some good ideas from them in the past, just by searching in her spare time for cute names that others have suggested.
She sets down her towel that she had been drying dishes with and leaves the kitchen, full of sloppy joe air, that she has been hiding in all day as she made the freezer meals she was trying to prepare for when the babe was home. She takes out her computer and goes to a pregnancy forum that she participated in a little bit last month, when she had some random questions for others. She has an account so she logs in.
She writes up a quick post about wanting to find a meaningful middle name for a girl and made it clear that she is eager to see any suggestions! It makes her so excited to think of the responses she’d get, even if it were just a couple, because that would mean she was this much closer to finding just the right name. Some days, she feels so blah but when she talks with other mothers online, she feels less stupid some how. She knows she shouldn’t use the Internet that way, making her happy, but she’s so vulnerable and it’s an easy place to escape to.
When she starts receiving replies, her face falls. Why do you think you need more attention than others on this board? Don’t you know we are like family and it’s rude to jump in here and ask a stupid question, wanting responses from people who don’t even know or care about you? Didn’t you know tons of these women have been here since they found out they were pregnant and you just pop in, expecting us to care all of a sudden? There is a whole different board for name questions, go there. One, just one person who doesn’t say these things, says, Why do people have to be rude? We should be welcoming to new members of the board. And five more responses show up. She was directed to another thread to post her question and she specifically said she wanted more attention. No one wants that here and it annoys everyone who’s been here, making a real community. She is confused. She didn’t know there was a specific thread for baby name suggestions and in her post, she said by making her own question on a thread she thought it might get more attention. There are over 200 full pages of threads on this group since the summer so she didn’t think of it as a big deal.
She ends the conversation by apologizing for offending so many people when she didn’t understand where to post correctly and that she would not be returning to the site. And the other ones that had been replying on the thread, starting conversing with each other about their own names and their own significance and laughing together through emoticons.
Closing the laptop, she realizes it was never meant for her happiness. And yet, she finds herself opening it up over and over again to read more harsh comments and insincere women bashing other new members. She isn’t replying anymore, she had made that clear in her thread. But they couldn’t tell if she was still lurking around and reading, right?
Her phone rings from the kitchen and she closes the computer. It’s her husband. She speaks with him and loves hearing his voice, her favorite part of each day. I’m just leaving the shop now, he says. It is almost 7, that isn’t his fault, but she hasn’t seen his face for more than 12 hours. Okay, she says. They exchange love yous and he continues on his way home.
She feels this cry creeping up her throat but she doesn’t want to let it out. She shouldn’t let some stupid online forum ruin her night. They didn’t even know who she was and vice versa. But then again, she also knows the event can’t ruin her night because she was already upset in her emptiness all day. It just adds to it. You just want attention. She guesses that part was true, maybe she did want attention. Isn’t that the whole reason she went on there? Wasn’t it to get attention and responses for a baby name? But she quickly pushes that thought out of her head because they still shouldn’t have said those things and meanwhile, tons of other people were posting their own questions about the same thing. How could it have really been such a big deal?
Soon, her husband is home and just seeing him makes her so happy, that she starts to cry. What’s wrong, he asks. He loves her so much and she can see it so clearly in his creased eyebrows. I just feel blah, is all she says. She can’t explain that it was all some dumb online forum for hormonal pregnant women that made her feel this way. For real, what’s wrong, he presses. But she still can’t find the words to explain something that made her feel so stupid. I’ve just been home alone all day and I don’t feel like myself.
He gives her a big hug and apologizes that he smells so bad. He’s been hooking up lights in a hog barn all day. He leaves to take a quick shower and returns when she’s working on supper for the two of them plus the little one in her belly, who seems to be getting hungrier each day. He sits down at the kitchen table and talks to her about his day like he knows she always wants him to instead of going to watch TV like he usually does. He soon has her laughing and she suddenly remembers that she loves her life.
The next morning, she accidentally sleeps in and didn’t wake him up for work. When she does wake and sees the clock, she jerks him awake and says, Babe, look what time it is. He would at least be ten minutes late, for sure. They both hop out of bed, one having a slower and heavier time doing so, and work as a team to get his things together. He’s out the door three minutes later, departing with his usual kiss and love you.
She is left alone again, awaiting her husband’s return to their home.
She tries not to think about the forum and how she gets easily upset over things. Unfortunately, she even tries to not think about Amelia’s name because it annoys her that she can’t figure it out on her own.
Each day, she’s slowly learning to just let some things go. She might mope for awhile but there are certainly many more important things in this life than anonymous online chats.
So she lets it go.