I've been looking for baby pictures of myself to compare to India, and in the process, I came across these photos - the first taken when I was nine months old; in the second, I'm almost three. I thought you might get a kick out of Betty's 70s outfits and hair.
So it kind of struck me this weekend that now I really feel like a mother.
Is this weird?
I mean, I've been a mom for almost three years at this point. And it's not that I haven't felt like Jordan's mother. It's more that I also felt like I had my own separate identity.
And with India, something shifted.
I don't know if it's because now I have two. Or because this birth experience was so positive, and I don't have PPD, and I'm able to nurse without supplementing. I have this immense satisfaction that comes from being able to meet all her needs right now.
With Jordan I was mostly resentful. Doesn't that sound terrible? I feel so guilty when I say it, but it's true.
Everything was so hard, and I felt so stuck, and nursing took forever, and then I'd still have to make him a bottle. Day after day, night after night, I would just sit in the chair and feel like I was suffocating.
The PPD was evil. I wanted to escape from my life so badly. I loathed my husband at least 17 times a day. I mentally divided up the furniture at night. I reveled in my time at the DC DMV. Whenever I left the house alone, I never wanted to go home.
Now I and nurse and look down at my baby and think about how time goes so fast. She's already bigger than she was last week. Pretty soon she'll be heading to college.
I mean, it's not that I don't think of sleep deprivation as torture. It's not that I haven't thought of her as a bamboo shoot. It's more that this time I have perspective. This will pass, and fast. This is not all there is.
And she's my second and my last and I know the time goes.
But back to feeling like a mother. I think that now it's probably the biggest part of what defines me. First and foremost, I'm a mom.
On the one hand, this is who I am and who I have worked very hard to be. I'm so happy to have children. I have my own family, and they're the most important thing in my world. I'd give up anything but my family.
I guess it's caught me off guard, though, to feel like a mom is all of who I am. Which is how I feel right now.
Like, from my current perspective, I cannot imagine ever feeling attractive again. I feel like I have this huge cloud of momishness surrounding me.
Seriously. I feel like I have this big sign above my head that says things like: Here, let me cut your dinner into little tiny pieces for you, to make sure you don't choke. Do you want your milk in a big boy cup or a sippy cup? Uh, oh. Time for a diaper change.
And I'm shlumping around in my maternity pants. I'm wearing a bra night and day. I have two perpetual round milk stains on my shirts. In fact, I smell like milk all the time.
I know this will pass.
But! Now that I have two kids! I have visions of a future filled with sturdy mom jeans, comfortable shoes, practical tops, and judicious behavior.
It's not that I think being a mother means you're unattractive. I know myriad beautiful women who are mothers. Their kids mean the world to them, but they aren't their entire worlds.
So I think that maybe it's that I feel MATRONLY. Matronly! A word that for me conjures up aprons and washtubs and baked puddings and no nonsense.
I think you'll agree that in a
Venn diagram, the Attractive circle, the Fun circle, the International Woman of Mystery circle...they have no overlap with the Matronly circle.
Don't mourn the loss of your other circles!! They'll be back. But right now India is in that newborn, super needy 100% of the time mode, so that's where you need to be. But with time you'll get to breathe and do your own thing again. Not that you won't always be mommy, but you won't always be in mommy mode, you know? The weight will drop off, you'll fit into cute clothes again, you'll get out of the house with just Nick, and you'll be the super hot mom who's also an international woman of mystery. It can be done! Trust me. ;)ReplyDelete
Thank you for the kind words and reminders, Janelle! You are right, she's super needy right now and I have to be in constant mommy mode. It's hard to FEEL like that will go away, but it does. Hugs to you, an actual international woman of mystery!Delete
I am so glad this is happening for you. Just so very thankful.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Lynn! I'm so glad this time is easier - it feels like this is as it should be. Except it would be nice to be able to put India down a little more. :)Delete
I certainly understand where you're coming from - I felt that way with Josie. But please believe that there is absolutely nothing matronly about you.ReplyDelete
Ah, thanks, Wendy. I wouldn't have said there was anything matronly about you post-Josie - so it's nice to hear your perspective. Man, it's all about perspective, isn't it? Well, perspective and sleep.Delete
I just love your blog. Everything you're writing about at the moment I keep nodding my head, going 'yes!'. 4 months in and I'm slowly...slowly...starting to see through the fog. I'm glad this time round is easier. xReplyDelete
Big hugs to you, Miranda! It makes me happy to hear that this resonates with you. And such a good reminder that it takes several months to start seeing the other side.Delete
I adore the little Lisa and Mom Betty photos! And I love this post and that you're expressing the great experience you're having as a Mom. How you're feeling is understandable, logical, natural...but you will never be anything but unique, creative, inquisitive and amazing. You're like Robert Downey Jr - you just exude coolness and are witty and bright. I think it's instinctual to feel matronly at this period of your life but it's not the sum of who you are.ReplyDelete
I'm so glad! Aren't they fun? You always say the perfect thing, Heather. Thank you so much for your sunshine and sweetness.Delete
I don't know....somehow, I think all of those momish things you speak of make you more beautiful - us mom's more beautiful - truly. Lifegiver, nuturer....even more beautiful. I love you and your family! Thank you for sharing them with us. Great photos!ReplyDelete
P.S. my thoughts are from the perspective of a grandmother - I didn't feel that way at the time: ) Looking back, I know its true.ReplyDelete
Kate, it's so good to hear this. I'm sure that when I look back, I will think the same. Because you are right - those are beautiful, beautiful things.Delete
Wow, I keep thinking, "this is my most favourite post of lemons." And then you do it again! I have to put this in favourites, I really do. I want to say so much, I want to forward it to a few new moms, I will read it again a few times. I wish I'd read something like this 'way back when'. But for now I have to content myself with ripping off this quick thing, and get out to the garden, where I'm burying stinking old fish steaks and heads from last years salmon run (and given me by locals). I didn't get them buried last year in time, and so had to keep them in my freezer (well wrapped) all winter & spring. On top of each fish will go a tamater plant.ReplyDelete
While planting, this post will flit through my mind.I totally remembering feeling JUST as you now described. You keep bringing it all back to me. Bye for now. And thanks.
I would really like to see that Venn Diagram, although your sense of self as broken down into such a visual representation would probably end up looking like a myriad of beautiful, chaotic bubbles. Plus, you're probably just a bit busy right now with two young kids to raise.ReplyDelete
Not to get all self-centered, but I found this particular post to be really, really encouraging. I felt a glimmer of recognition in how you described your feelings after Jordan was born, and it's so...well, nice to hear how different it's been so far with your second child. It gives me hope for the future, in the case that my family has another child.
Btw, even in your most pregnant picture, I thought you looked really great. So... while you feel really matronly right now, I suspect you still look cuter than you think you are.
Lisa, I'm so happy to read that this "new motherhood" experience the second time around has been so positive! May you continue to revel in all of it.ReplyDelete
First: look at that happy baby with Mommy Betty! So so cute!ReplyDelete
But one thing that struck me reading this post was the phrase "no nonsense". Which seems to me to be the very opposite of you. Er, not that you're nonsense, but that your appreciation for nonsense will always be there no matter what.
It makes me so happy to read how well things are going with India. (Have I mentioned I love love love her name? I have? Well I do.)
So very glad for you and for your whole family. Big hugs!