March 11, 2013

Not Over

Written in response to a friend who is scared of becoming a mother because her friends continuously make her feel like her life will be over when her baby is born.

Dear Pregnant Friend,

Welcome to motherhood!

Although some might contest it motherhood begins the second the strip turns pink. The worry, the waiting, the laying a hand on your still flat stomach and whispering, "I love you, baby mine" those are all a part of motherhood.

Now that you are here, do not be afraid. You are participating in a miracle as old as time itself. One day you will feel the entire universe shift when you and your child become two earthly people. In that moment a part of your heart will be forever imbedded in your child. It will be in his smile, in her laugh, in the sparkle of his eye and the curl of her hair. You will admire that piece of your heart and let it go, trusting it into the care of the person you love most fiercely on this Earth.

Your life will change in ways that you cannot yet imagine. There is no preparation complete enough for motherhood. No books, no courses, no conversations over coffee with your best friend are sufficient enough to prepare you for the way your life is about to change.

Instead of washing wine glasses at night you will wash bottles or pump parts.

You will trade your clutch for a diaper bag and instead of extra lipgloss you'll make sure to never leave the house without extra pacis and diapers.

Long luxurious bubble baths or showers are replaced by blue whale tubs with a chubby splashing baby.

Perfectly manicured fingers become short, neatly trimmed naked nails.

You will shake your head in bafflement at all those times you felt "too busy" or like there was not enough time before you had children. How little you knew then.

Late nights once spent out with friends are now spent in a rocking chair reading, feeding, comforting, loving and nuturing your child. 

Motherhood, more than anything in life, is trial by fire. You will second guess everything you do on a daily basis, and then you will second guess those second guesses. You will become unsure about things you were sure about. You will learn to be flexible in ways that you previously could not have imagined. You will grow thick skin because nothing invites judgment like motherhood. You will reassure yourself over and over again that there is no formula for perfection for this one child, that you are doing the very best you can, and while it might not be perfect it is very very good. You will question these reassurances, and you will cry.

Oh how you will cry in ways you didn't know existed. You will cry because your baby won't stop crying, you will cry because your baby sat up, you will cry because you feel overwhelmed and overjoyed. Just trust me, you will cry.

Believe me though friend, your life is not over.

You will still wash wine glasses, carry your cute clutch bag, get manicures and occasionally go out with friends until the wee hours of the morning. You will. In those times you will feel a return to yourself as you were before you got pregnant, but never completely because now you see, you love your child and no matter where you are you will always be her momma.

You will be the woman who sobs happy tears when her six month old laughs for the very first time. You will be the woman who grins from ear to ear when your daughter brings you a puzzle to play, sits down in your lap leans back against you and promptly matches all of the colored fish perfectly. You will be the woman who beams with pride when your son climbs to the top of the slide and slides down, no fear all by himself for the first time, the woman who will laugh in delight when your daughter points to a green truck and says, "Momma! Green truck!". You will be the woman who stands back and watches as a tiny cooing, grunting human turns into his or her own person. One day you will see your child refuse broccoli, but stuff lima beans in her mouth by the handful and think, I did this. I created not just a human, but a person. A person with needs, likes, dislikes and a tiny budding personality.

In that moment your heart will be so very full of happy you won't be able to do anything (but, of course cry) lean down, kiss your child and squeeze her so tight until she pushes you away, and then grabs your hand pulling you along,  ready to race off to the next adventure.

Your life is not over at all, my friend, and in those carefree moments with your child you might feel like your life has only just begun.