Around this time, Chris took a photo of me. I'm holding the baby and looking straight at the camera. My hair looks like it hasn't been washed, and I'm slumped heavily in a chair with the baby wedged into the crook of my left arm. She looks sleepy and my smile seems forced. My eyes have a distant look, even though my gaze is directed right at the lens. To this day it makes my mother-in-law cry. She told me recently that she calls it "Vacant Eyes," and it breaks her heart to think of how lost I seemed.
After only a couple of days of being home, my crying had increased and no longer occurred only in between feedings but during them as well. At times I even had trouble holding Rowan because of my choking sobs. Why was I crying more than my baby? Here I was, finally the mother of a beautiful baby girl I had worked so hard to have, and I felt like my life was over. Where was the bliss? Where was the happiness that I had expected to feel by becoming a mother? She was my baby; the baby I had wanted for so long. Why didn't I feel remotely comforted by having or holding her? I had always felt that a baby was the one major thing missing from my life, that a child would complete the picture and bring everything into focus. Once I was a mother, the different parts of my world would all converge, and I would experience life as I'd envisioned it and in turn would know what I was meant to be. But having a baby clouded my vision and threatened whatever peace had already existed. Instead of wanting to move forward, all I wanted was for life to return to the way it was before I had Rowan.