Motherhood Is is a series of ponderings that I am writing as I figure out how to mother. It will include things I expected, things no one told me, things I learn about myself, about the world, about God, and about life through the lens of parenthood.
It’s accepting that for a good while, six hours will be your new and rare full night of sleep
It’s feeling ugly because your clothes and wedding rings still don’t fit, and regardless of the fact that everyone told you this doesn’t happen that quickly, you still hoped you were one of the exceptions
It’s learning that you can love your child all the time without liking him all the time
It’s feeling like you’re alone because your husband has to work long hours to make up for the pay you’re not getting while you’re on leave
It’s gushing in the feeling that all your baby wants is for you to hold him
It’s pretending that you can still function as you always have, even though your body is going batshit crazy trying to recover from the mental, physical, and emotional trauma of splitting your body open to give birth
It’s having your heart melted every day because of one smile
And having it ripped out every time you leave him
It’s feeling isolated because your baby has to eat, so your dinner has to get cold while everyone else enjoys theirs and each other’s company (but not yours)
It’s being constantly tied to your baby’s physical well-being while everyone else gets to stay out until 2:00 in the morning with no consequences
It’s learning that sometimes (maybe all the time), it’s okay to need drugs
It’s accepting the truth that your marriage is not and cannot stay the same, and you have to do the hard work of deciding what new story you’re going to tell
It’s learning that everyone seems to know better than you how to take care of your child
It is accepting that for the rest of your life, your heart will live in someone else’s body
It is learning how to give until there is nothing left, and then give some more
It’s learning that there is such a thing as a shortage of patience, and no such thing as a shortage of grace
It’s an awful lot of crying as you navigate and accommodate the intense swelling of your heart, the jealousy of your husband not having to breastfeed, the loneliness of being stuck at home all the time, watching everyone else’s life move on and resume like normal while you wait on him to grow, the pain of cracked and sore nipples, the torture of sleep deprivation, the somber weight of being responsible for the life of another, missing the body you will never get back, trying not to take every single opinion as a person’s way of saying you suck and aren’t doing a good job, the fear of not having control of your life anymore, the uncertainty of how you’re going to pay for everything, and watching everything else in your life shrink as this new little one expands to consume every bit of your thoughts, your conversations, and your own well-being
It’s learning that you can’t really say “it’s just hormones,” because saying “it’s just hormones,” belittles the experience of all the above things that happen because “it’s just hormones”
It’s seeing for the first time how terrible the world is and wanting to shield your child from all of it.
It’s seeing for the first time how beautiful the world is and waiting impatiently to show him how to embrace life in it.