I slowly emerged from the yellow chrysalis of my NY taxi, blinking at the bright, garish Holiday lights stretching down 5th Avenue. Shoppers and tourists buzzed around me, gracefully swinging their shopping bags out of each others' way, while the jingling of the Good Samaritans’ Christmas bells added to the frantic chaos only Sale season in New York can bring.
I paused to take it all in.
How could these people go on like nothing had changed? The world just kept turning while I was away? While I was cooped up in my apartment, where EVERYTHING had changed? In the 6 weeks since I had last stood on this very corner, there hadn’t been one thing in my life that stayed the same. I now had a tiny human whose entire existence depended on me, a frightening new body, and an entirely new life.
The outside world had all but ceased to exist during my self-imposed 40-day exile.
6 weeks ago, standing on this stretch of 5th Avenue meant I was probably trudging through the cold winter wind to my office, in the one horribly un-stylish coat that would fit me, gloriously comfy Uggs at my feet, with polished Loubis tucked away in my bag, patiently waiting to be used for appearances-sake, only during meetings.
And now here I was, mired in a new reality. A reality of constantly aching arms, leaking boobs, and two-hour stretches of sleep. A reality of feeling frumpy in my ill-fitting clothes, not quite at ease in the midst of all these purposeful, well-dressed people…my previous people.
BEEP! "Move it!"
I hadn't been aware that, while I reflected on my new world, I had only half-exited my taxi. The driver was giving me that stare NY cabbies save especially for aggravating tourists. My mother, waiting for me on the pavement, had one eyebrow raised in query. After weeks of grand-ma (or Glam-ma) duty, looking after both baby and me, she needed to revel in Bergdorf’s exquisite shoe department (slightly masochistic considering my swollen and enlarged feet had no intention of jamming themselves into anything new, enclosed, or leather. Quite frankly, after months of wearing Fit-Flops and Uggs, I’m not even sure my feet deserved anything at Bergdorf’s).
She gave me a gleeful smile as I joined her.
“Isn’t it just wonderful to be out?!”
As we pushed through the revolving door and breathed in the perfumed hair-spray of the matron who had passed before us (at least I hope that smell was her hair-spray), I had to agree. I gave her a broad smile and decided not to worry about how my Dad and husband were faring with the baby. It was only an hour or two after all! Right?
After exactly 60 minutes has elapsed, they both called, and, in their best non-panic stricken voices, inquired how far away we were.
And just like that, reality came crashing down upon me again.
Lesson learned: DO barricade yourself at home, at least for as long as it takes to feel like you no longer require the use of a foam donut to stay seated (you certainly don’t want to brave the potholes and erratic driving style of cabbies in the city when not healed – ouch!) Sidenote – how about some built-in silicone pads for maternity underwear…a la SoulCycle? “Chicken Cutlets for the Butt” or something? Any takers?!
DON’T barricade yourself at home for any longer! Take a walk around the block, a quick trip to the coffee shop, anything really. Anything that puts you firmly in the land of the living, even for a brief moment. And then you can return to the diaper-walled, spit-up decorated, baby-scented cavern from whence you came. This way at least you know what awaits you when you finally emerge for good.