This is one of those questions that pops up in all it’s variations the instant you have a baby. It’s very similar to senior year in high school when everyone asks “So, what are your plans?” It’s equally hard to answer in it’s total vastness, just like that black void after high school was so difficult to envision. I’m not really sure how I feel about it all right now, but I’d like to list some observations about my experience of joining the motherhood.
Giving birth instantly turns a woman into a mother in one sense, but only time can give a person the real status (confidence?) of Mother, soother of woes, fixer of crises, maker of perfect sandwiches, and the thousand other roles mothers take on.
Mothering is an incredible opportunity to share information. I’ve never felt so connected to the hive mind as when talking about mothering. The advice flows freely, as do the opinions.
A mother’s body is not entirely her own. I’ve never been so on display as when giving birth, and it’s not that I didn’t care…it’s just what happens. None of my private parts feel very private anymore. No wonder mothers have no concept of how mortifying it is when they grab your crotch in the clothes shop to check how things are fitting…
Mothering is about accepting help, so is pregnancy. I’ve never needed more help that in the last two weeks of my pregnancy and these first few weeks of motherhood. Everything is bruised, loose, stretched, swollen, and sore…but I have a little person to take care of…what an odd situation. It’s like being beaten up and then given something pricelessly fragile to take care of while you are feeling your crappiest.
Motherhood puts people in awe, even grouchy people. It’s amazing how much respect people have for mothers, perhaps because we all have one?
Breastmilk is culty. One nurse refused to throw out a cup with three dried up drops of breast milk in it because it’s such an important and holy substance. I spilled a syringe full of breast milk and sat down to cry for 10 minutes. Breastmilk is emotional and powerful. It was all very unexpected.
Breastfeeding is political. So is birthing. Some people are competitive. That’s weird and unfair. Birth and breastfeeding are so deeply personal, whatever works is the right thing, it’s not fair to terrorize women over what right or wrong. There is no right or wrong!
Babies are really cute, especially your own baby, and I really knew my own child’s voice from birth, it’s like a superpower. It surprised me.
Motherhood. So far, so good. I think I’ll miss not being a mother sometimes, I’ll miss the freedom and the state of relaxation that is part of not being responsible for another life…but I think I’ll adjust to this new state with a little more time. Everything is new, and that’s a really exciting place to be, but for now I feel really blessed that I have nothing to worry about except my new baby. I think we’re going to be ok.
Image credit 2015: Ryan McGuire