Remember that part-time job I got, that thing that was supposed to make PPD easier to deal with? Yeah. Not so much.
The first week of my job was fabulous. I caught on quickly to the old-fashioned cash register and handwritten ticket system. The manager was totally cool with my need to pump milk every few hours, too. Baby had a few rough first days at daycare, but I expected that, so I wasn’t too worried.
That first weekend, we both got sick. And sicker. I called in to work Monday, said I needed to take baby to urgent care. My manager totally understood. We got some amoxicillin for baby and I figured I’d just power through whatever was afflicting me. I managed to work the rest of the week, but things got worse.
My daughter’s favorite daycare lady had just gone on vacation. Baby’s world was completely rocked for the second time in two short weeks, and she started exhibiting “boundary issues.” I felt like the daycare director was talking about someone else’s kid when she explained how my daughter wouldn’t interact with other toddlers, wouldn’t be happy in anyone’s arms and wouldn’t eat or drink.
“The only way she wants to play is alone in a crib. If we put her there with a few toys, she’s okay for awhile.”
For serious? She was talking about my child like she was some kind of pint-sized psychopath. I didn’t understand. Just weeks ago I’d seen my daughter gently touch another baby and give hugs to big kids at the mall play area. She normally loved following kids around on playgrounds, giggling and staring open-mouthed in their wake.
Then, work started scheduling me 30 hours a week—way more than I’d ever agreed to. My serving job was supposed to be secondary to my writing, and at this point, my manager wasn’t being clear with me about when, if ever, I’d get a regular part-time schedule like I was promised upon getting hired.
Meanwhile, baby and I just got sicker. I combated the disappointment that my breastmilk wasn’t all-powerful liquid gold after all. And I combated the irony that I had finally quit smoking cigarettes again and was rewarded with a vicious cold.