Friday, July 20, 2007

24/7/730

When I was pregnant with The Boss, I was cognizant only of gestation. I was growing a fetus. I read books about those forty weeks. I created a Babies R Us registry for the bump on my belly. I could not see past the line of delivery to the act of growing a child. Perhaps that is partly why parenting a human being came as a complete and utter shock to me.

The baby blues? Why didn't anyone...sob...tell me about this? Engorgement? Stop the car now, I need to feed! Poop? What is with my daughter and her explosive ass?

I was recently discussing The Boss's birth with one of my best friends, whose sister was about to have a baby of her own. I mentioned my less than ideal birth experience, to which my friend claimed total ignorance. "I didn't know you had a c-section. When I asked you how the birth went and you burst into tears, I figured you didn't want to talk about it." Erring on the side of caution, she buried the subject. It didn't get exhumed for two years.

"It's okay," I said. "I'm over it." Okay, so that's only partly true, but the main point is that I can talk about it. I've been talking about it for roughly 21 months now--the two years of my daughter's existence thus far, minus the three months immediately following her arrival. I could not have talked about it during that fourth trimester. I couldn't talk about much of anything. It's no coincidence that I started blogging just after The Boss turned three months, when my tear ducts dried up and the verbal floodgates opened.

At that point, I wanted every first-time mom-to-be to know that there is life after "Your Pregnancy Week By Week" and "The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy." Even though I wasn't sure anyone would listen, I wanted to put out there the fact that this life, this after, is completely altered in time and space.

Maybe, before, you had a lot of free time. Maybe you thought there weren't enough hours in the day. Maybe you used to worry a lot, or not much at all. Regardless. Now you have no time whatsoever, and your worries are larger than life. This new life. The one that--have I mentioned?--is completely changed.

That's what I wanted to tell people. I still do. But now I wonder if the words can do more than make a temporary impression in the bubble that is pregnancy. After all, the realities of being a mother are completely out of context to someone on the other side of the cusp. It's almost impossible to wrap your mind and heart around something--with all its joys, yes, but also its difficulties--that you cannot grasp until you're right there in the middle of it.

Tomorrow is my second anniversary as a mother. Before July 21, 2005, I was wading in a low tide. Then the swell came and my feet haven't touched bottom since. With The Partner and The Boss and a few planks to float on, it is not necessary to tread water all the time, and the salt is less chafing. Each night the moon pulls us deeper into a sea that is like the womb. And the days close to shore seem lonelier and pale in the distance.

7 comments:

Whirlwind said...

I can't believe she is two already. I remember meeting her when she was just a few weeks old. I don't ever remember you getting weepy when telling me about her birth.

How is she doing with the move and all?

slouching mom said...

Lovely. And so true.

The second child, however. No emotional transition at all. You've already gone through all that you will.

And that must be a huge relief, yes?

binkytown said...

Yes! I know people told me about being tired, overwhelmed- all of it. I didn't hear it.

I hear you now. Time to float.

Mary-LUE said...

I think you are so right about that bubble of pregnancy. At least with the first one. I was fortunate in that I had others going through it around the same time. Even though their experiences didn't penetrate during pregnancy, after my son was born I had a lot of AHA! moments. AHA! I remember someone talking about the three day baby blues. AHA! I remember someone talking about how to fight off a breast infection. The seeds were planted during pregnancy and I'm glad they were there.

Happy birthday to The Boss!!! Two years old. It seems like a long time since my younger child was two. (This is the birthday nostalgia effect. As your child gets older, the birthdays of younger children send you off down Memory Lane.)

Jenifer said...

Wait until #2. You don't even focus on the week by week pregnancy because you are still so consumed with taking care of #1. Sometimes you forget you are even pregnant.

Then BAM! you have 2 lives to take care of and you are like "Where did this other one come from????"

Then when you thought you had no time whatsoever you realize you really had all the time in the world!

Stu said...

This post was nominated for Hot Stuff Of The Week by our readers at GNMParents. Congrats and good luck in the voting!

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