So you're a mom? Great! Then BE a mom!
You know how sometimes everywhere you look there are pregnant bellies bulging out at you? When it seems like all the lovely ladies in your life are glowing, growing and busting out? I'm having this experience in my world right now. Many of the ladies I know and love are preggers. I don't even say hi to them - I go straight for baby. My hand reaches for their bellies, I rub and talk to the child within.That's what happens.
We're done having children, my hubby and I. It was a decision we made a couple of years ago. People always ask me if we'd ever have more. A couple of years ago I would have answered, yes. Now? I'm happy with the two we have. But when I'm surrounded by beautiful bellies, my uterus stirs and vibrates. It remembers how much it loved being filled with new life. Then, after the uterus action subsides, after I stop rubbing the bellies, after I take a breather and recall what life after being pregnant entails, I sigh a bit of relief that it won't be going through the challenges of caring for a newborn again.
For those moms who are on their second or third - basically not their first - child, being pregnant is old hat. That floppy, exhausted, excited and impatient hat that they've worn before. There's a comfort to it. We know what we've gotten ourselves into. We have a good sense of what's coming, and even though we've forgotten how fast our boobs grow and get sore, how quickly we get the-tiredest-we've-ever-been-ever, and how important alone time is - it all comes jogging back pretty quickly. We breathe. We hold our heads up high. We pray for a healthy mom and baby throughout the whole process. We are courageous godesses.
I was talking to a mom-of-three friend of mine via Facebook messaging (because, quite frankly, as much as I want to talk voice-to-voice or face-to-face with this gal, I am thankful for the quietness and controlled environment of internet chatting), and she wrote about how since she'd had kids she hasn't felt like 'herself'. And that she hasn't been able to write in a journal like she used to. Or to read or exercise like she used to.
Which made me think about my own life and how so many of my reflections at the end of 2012 about 'who I am' and what my 'future goals' stem from feeling the same way - feeling like there are certain 'key', 'fundatmental' parts of me that I just can't or don't or consciously choose NOT to do/feel/experience.
Why does being pregnant and becoming a mother mean that parts of 'who we are' get pushed aside or lost or untouched?
For balls sake - everyone knows that having children changes your life. That it changes your person. It changes your choices. Everyone who has kids tells you these things for the complete duration of your pregnancy - first, second, third - whatever.
Why do I fight what I live and breathe and know about being a mother - that it will mean that most of (if not all) of the things I used to do and feel and want pre-child(ren) will NOT exist in my life in the same way?
I look at a friend who is pregnant with her first child. She is doing everything in her power to NOT change her lifestyle. Why? Why can't it be okay to smoothly, lovingly, patiently WELCOME motherhood as the CHANGE THAT IT IS - not the thing that will rip our souls apart, change our lives so drastically that three, five, ten-years down the line we write to our mother friends about not knowing who we are? So that we spend so much stressed-out energy trying to be both - the pre-mother and the mother?
Lookit. Here's a small list of things that I can GUARANTEE will change when you get pregnant and have a child:
1) your eating habits
2) your sleeping habits
3) your excercising habits (lucky you if you've got good ones to begin with!)
4) your relationship with your partner
5) your sex life
6) your body (Sorry but, putting a huge 5-9lb child in your belly then pushing it out a very small yet extremely stretchy vagina CHANGES YOUR BODY.)
7) your relationship with your friends
8) your relationship with your parents
9) your relationship with your siblings
10) your work - the hours/the job itself/etc.
Did I mention this list (not exhaustive by any means) is GUARANTEED?
Yes, you will wake up one day and realize that 'who you are' is shivering, sad and lonely in some cellulite pocket on your left hip - and you will mourn for her. And you will promise to coax her out with chocolate and love - wait, is that my daughter running into the wall - again? Um, what was I saying?
Moms in the house - can we just give our selves (all the amazing parts - whether we are cultivating them in these moments or not) a break? Tell ourselves it's okay to be the mothers that we chose to and want to be? Being a mother IS who we are right now. The kids will grow up. That 'time' we so visciously yeared for will fall on our heads like cold, fat water drops from a dirty airconditioner vent - and we will yank all the parts of 'who we are' back into the forefront, tighten up those bodies, re-kindle those friendship, have lots more sex, sleep in, read, journal, travel, etc..
And we will realize then that 'who we are' was always 'who we were' - every step of the way. And we'll have amazing children to prove it. And we'll wish we had the time back with our kids. We'll want to be full-in moms again - or we'll go around groping pregnant bellies...wait, that's just me...
Here's to being a mom.