This is what motherhood did to me. Motherhood turned me into someone else. Someone who, on most days, I don't recognize. Motherhood took the former me and shook her up a bit. Rocked the ground on which she once stood.
Someone who has just given birth deserves some care. Some rest. Without worrying about anyone's expectations, wants or demands. Without anyone telling her that she should be doing something different or, God forbid, more.
I'd like to offer an alternate spin on what to expect after having kids -- one that errs on the side of gain rather than sacrifice; one that I didn't hear much about while I was pregnant and pondering what life would be like after children.
I've been a parent for over two and a half years now, and I still don't identify as a mom. I mean, I know I'm a mom. I have the stretch marks, sippy cups and sleep-addled brain to prove it. But I don't quite feel like me in this new mom skin yet.
The reflux DOES go away, your baby WILL start sleeping through the night and yes, she WILL learn to take the bottle. So while everything may seem chaotic right now, after about a year that haze will lift and you will actually laugh about some of your current worries. Promise.
I know that it's good for us to be apart. I know she thrives when socializing with other kids and developing relationships with family and close friends. But I feel horrible for abandoning her, and wonder if she internalizes it as "mama cares about something else more than me."
It took having kids for me to understand just how challenging and intricate parenting really is. It takes an entire childhood for parents to really get educated about their role, but by then, of course, the child is grown and moves out. What a cruel joke Mother Nature plays on us!
Becoming a mother was the single most intense moment of my life thus far. And even though it has been nearly six months since I first met our son, that first moment when he went from being inside me to being his own breathing body remains just as intense as it did when it happened.
I know everything feels undone. I know being a grown-up sucks. I know your house is a mess. I know you have writer's block. I know you feel behind. I know you wish you were superwoman. I know. I know. But. You just had a baby.
You won't remember the way I stood in the bathroom late that night in labor with you, fearfully and excitedly gazing up at the moon, knowing I was going to bring you into the world soon and whispering to you, "We can do this."