Getting real about motherhood

For quite awhile now – at least since the dawn of 2010 and the huge surprise that I was pregnant, five days into the new year – I’ve felt like I was missing one part of my previous life. When I was in high school, I started writing – anything really, from poetry to short stories – as a way to alleviate the feelings of isolation and the sensation that I was hopelessly out of place. In college, those feelings dissolved, but writing stuck around, this time as a way to alleviate relationship stress and the nagging fear that I was never going to meet a guy who would just be there. Present. Right. After I got married, I continued writing on a previous blog. This time, I wrote to alleviate the loneliness of living away from my hometown for the very first time, and also to combat the frustration that is common (and completely normal) when someone tries to adjust to sharing their entire life with another person.

About two years ago, I stopped writing. I just ran out of stuff to bitch about, I guess? Or maybe I was too busy going to rock concerts and hiking and running or something? Who knows. When I found out I was pregnant, I created a new blog to chronicle the adventure of pregnancy and our first foray into parenthood – but I certainly never imagined that I’d have something to write about again. I didn’t undertand the emotional and mental complexity of mothering. What would I ever have to whine or complain about again? There was nothing left to write about, no longing remaining in my life. I was getting the greatest gift I could have ever asked for. My life list was supposed to be complete after this baby.

Then reality hit and the baby was born. The hospital staff waved goodbye, the visitors stopped coming, and the excitement and build up of nine months of pregnancy was suddenly a chapter read and a closed book. And my little boy changed. Oh my God, I could (and still can) absolutely feel the time slipping through my fingers. Outfits outgrown. Habits changed. Diapers sized up. Features changed. Umbilical cord stumps fallen off (and yes, I’m sorry but we threw that thing away…it smelled really, really bad). I was ready for parenthood, in the categorical and easily justifiable sense. But what I didn’t really anticipate was the fact that once my son was born, life would suddenly shift into fast forward and he would be forever changing – my hardest job wouldn’t be the sleepless nights or figuring out breastfeeding, but the larger-than-life task of trying to swallow and digest the fact that my little boy would always be moving forward. Not that I don’t want him to – I will be so proud and thrilled for every milestone he covers. But I’m horrible at hiding my emotions, and I am scared that he’ll see it at each event in his life: With every milestone he covers, the baby that I first held 11 weeks ago will be further and further away from me. He was such a temporary little person, and already and can barely see any of that little being in this far more vocal, deliciously chubby, blue-eyed angel in the bouncer seat next to me.

But I took pictures – hundred of them. And we have video of every moment from before the epidural to the first minute he was alive to some of his first smiles and coos. We have all the hospital wristbands, the hospital blue-and-pink stripe hat that the nurse put on him right after his birth (it even still has the baby goo on it, and hell no, I’m not washing it), the balloon our friends hung on our mailbox, and most of his ultrasound photos. We’ve currently misplaced the 18-week and 8-week ultrasound pictures, which is a whole other episode of me breaking down in tears and fearing that I’m a bad mother for not keeping better track of Russ’s first photos and let’s just NOT get into that…But the point is, I’ve done everything I can. All I can do is breathe through the sting of watching Russ grow and change. I have to learn to accept that he will always be “my baby boy,” but he will not always be a baby. And even though I have the luxury right now of hopefully welcoming future children, they too will grow up and become adults – just like me. I finally get how much my own parents loved me. Isn’t that crazy?

So in future posts, I want to start truly “writing” a little bit more. Getting back to my roots. I still have issues to work out, clearly – and I’m not ashamed of or afraid of those issues. I know from my own personal past that sometimes, the best therapy is the kind found where a No. 2 pencil meets a blank sheet of paper, or where tired fingers (that smell like baby lotion and poop, sometimes) meet an open field of keys. Though I love it when people give a crap enough to read anything I have to say about this world, this blog really is for me. One of these days, I’ll PDF the entire thing, print it out, and bind it for my kids. I guess if there’s any way that I can teach them about the bittersweet, humbling, and extremely beautiful realities of parenthood – before they find out for themselves – this is as good a way as any to do that. But I want to get real about it and really start pouring out my soul, the way I used to when I was younger and had less of a filter.

I’m gonna give it a try, anyway. But right now, someone’s crying for a feeding. Gotta go be Superwoman. 🙂

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