Hello, I’m back!
And I’ve added a new human to my life!
This blog isn’t going to become all about motherhood, I promise. But since it’s such a new and big part of my life, I feel compelled to jot down how I’m feeling.
People keep asking me if I am loving “it,” by “it” meaning motherhood.
My answer: I love her.
It sounds utterly cliche, like everything I’ve ever read about becoming a mother and having a baby in every work of fiction and nonfiction, ever, but I can honestly say that this tiny human is now my favorite thing on earth. It may sound odd, but I was terrified I wouldn’t feel this way. Maybe because I was never one of those women for whom motherhood was the ultimate life goal, maybe because I really didn’t like being pregnant, maybe because I was terrified of childbirth (it was pretty awful! but we made it through), maybe because I was (and still am) concerned about how to fit motherhood into a life already taken up by a day job and a writing career on the side… and maybe most of all because I knew there would be no turning back.
So I am happy to report that I love my child. And in spite of everything, I am kind of loving life these past few weeks.
My daughter’s transition from womb to world was less than ideal. She came after an induction and several interventions, all of which I did not want, plus several hours of intense labor pain, all of which was ultimately fruitless as it ended in a c-section, the ultimate thing I did not want. Recovery from the surgery has been hard, as has breastfeeding, all of which was being done on very little sleep. And now my baby has started grunting all night long, leading to no sleep, which is having me longing for the days of “very little.”
I am loving her little noises. Even her grunts. Even her cries.
I am loving the way my husband looks at her.
I am loving having nowhere to go and nothing to do but take care of her.
I am loving spending entire hours just looking at her.
I am loving the faces she makes in her sleep. And when she’s awake. (Especially how excited she gets when she knows she’s about to eat :))
I love that December is her first month of life. That she’s getting to experience Christmas trees and the smell of my mom’s cooking and fires at night and candles in the windows and family everywhere. (And I’m sad all of that is going to soon end.)
I love her little clothes, all of them gifts from friends and family, or hand-me-downs from her cousins. Little bits of love to keep her warm.
I love that she sleeps in the bassinet that I slept in. That my sisters, my mom, my grandfather, and my aunts and uncles and cousins and cousins’ children, all slept in. I like to think it protects her like it protected all of us.
I love introducing her to the people in my life, and how prepared they are to love her the moment they meet her.
I love the little hairs on her head, her feet, her hands. I love how tiny she is.
At the same time, I’m terrified. I reach over to her multiple times per night to make sure she’s still breathing. I google everything about everything, at all hours of the day and night. Every time I read the news or think about how horrible the world can be, I tear up, thinking about how she doesn’t know that yet, and hoping she never has to find out. I want to keep her warm and safe and innocent forever and I know that I won’t be able to.
And the thing I was so scared of before — that I’d lose myself in motherhood, that I’d only be able to carry on conversations about diapers and breast milk — has pretty much dissipated. I haven’t been able to get much writing done this month, but my works in progress are still very much on my mind, I’m still reading as much as I did before (actually more, as there isn’t all that much else to do while feeding a baby), and while some Christmas presents may have been late this year, they still all arrived. Going back to work will present new challenges, I’m sure, but with some trial and error, I do believe we will figure it out.
And through all of this, I’m intensely aware of the passage of time. As I was dozing on the couch this afternoon, my dad asked if I was okay. I said I was just tired. He said, “This too shall pass.” And while yes it’d be nice to sleep more than an hour per night, I am in no hurry for my baby to get any bigger. For these days of hibernation and love and sleep deprivation to be over. (Well, maybe the sleep deprivation part.)
So to sum up: I am so glad I didn’t let my fear of this big life change keep me from doing it. And if you, too, are terrified of what a child may someday do to your hopes and dreams, writerly or otherwise, I hope my words might be of some help to you, one way or the other.