Category Archives: Becoming a Mother
My heart rate is up, a thin sheen of sweat builds at my temple, they’ll be home any minute… or maybe not, maybe I’ve got two more hours. I wanted to put the laundry away, play music, finish up loose ends for work, meditate again. I catch my body moving in jerky spasmodic motions, not sure where to turn next as the thoughts bombard my attention. I compulsively check my phone to see an update on their ETA. I’ve had 24 glorious hours of quiet, calm, unscheduled time.
I’m so grateful.
It’s not enough.
I need to get out of here! If I get out of here before the come home, I can finish up a couple more things before…
…before all of my attention is focused towards my child…
…before I’m at the mercy of whatever mood he’s in…
…before any rational planning and accomplishment of tasks is totally impossible.
I can’t believe how wrapped up in anxious thoughts I’ve become, I practically run out the front door to be sure I don’t accidentally see my son and husband before I’m ready to reengage with them. I realize I forgot my wallet a block away. I sneak back into my own home, terrified that I’ll hear the creak of the back door as I open the front.
Terrified that I’ll see my son’s chubby face and deep brown eyes light up at my presence,
that I’ll feel my hear melt,
my arms open,
my to-do-list fade into oblivion.
You make me want to sing. You make me want to write poetry, to dance. It’s as if when you passed through my birth canal you broke open great crashing waves of creativity that I thought were fancies of my youth, left long ago to die. On your sixth day of life my parents went home. I was moved to tears all day by the feeling of their absence in our home and simultaneously filled with surges of joy as your father and I worked through our first day alone with you, as parents.
That evening we ate dinner and listened to music. Dad was in the kitchen while I held you on the couch–still too sore to sit at the table. Both of us sang to the music, songs we’ve loved throughout our lives. Dad while cooking, and I looking down at you in my arms. As I opened my mouth to sing a new voice exited my lips. The voice of a mother, louder, stronger, more powerful and also more vulnerable. The cries of your labor loosened my jaw, dropped my soft palate, allowed a new openness. As I raised my voice to join your dad’s tears flowed from me, hot and fast, drenching my shirt like the breast milk that pours from me now, every time I hear you cry.
These tears, this experience of bringing you into the world, has let open my heart to the fullness and also the emptiness of love. The fullness while I connect with every parent on the planet who has known the joy of ushering new life into being. And the emptiness which is the love that underlies all in every moment, even when we cannot seem to see. The love that moves people through their lives.
“It’s so big. It’s just so big.” I said to your dad when he joined me for dinner from the kitchen.
“I know.” he replied. and we sat across from each other, with you between us, and sang while we cried.
This was written on November 17th, 8 days after Wolf was born. It’s a part of a collaborative journal that my husband Jeff and I are keeping for Wolf. Thanks for reading. I’ll keep working on posts.
I feel you move inside of me and fall in love with every action. What are you feeling when you squirm your hands and legs and elbows? Your tiny fingers tickle me in places no one has ever touched. Your mysterious presence becomes more solid and more mysterious every single day. I wonder if you can feel my feelings? I wonder on what level we are communicating with each other. I think you like it when we perform concerts, you love the joy of dancing, the sound of music, and all the children’s voices.
I’ve been working hard to get the house ready for you, but really I’m getting it ready for me. You don’t care if the cupboard are de-greased or if your nursery is blue or white or pink. Yet the urge to create a clean, welcoming nest for you is overpowering at times. I’ve been thinking lately that it’s funny how we spend so much time thinking about what we’re going to “do” with our babies after they arrive. Who will hold them? Where will they lie down? Who will take care of them while I “do” the rest of my life.
I got caught up in that too, and instead I am now focusing, not on what I will do with you, but just being with you. I can’t wait to be your mom. I can’t wait to look in your eyes and touch your skin and hold you in my arms. All the rest will come when needed, I don’t need to figure anything out. You are not a distraction or an interruption to my life, you are life. My life. Your Dad’s life. Your own life. Life.
I feel that I hold inside of me, my greatest love and my greatest teacher.
Synonyms for become: transform, change, passage, metamorphosis, development, evolution, alteration.
All of these words apply in their own way as I move through the journey of pregnancy. I have always identified with the symbol of the butterfly. Its metamorphosis from egg, to larvae, caterpillar to chrysalis, and then its magical transformation, using something that biologists call “imaginal cells,” to become a butterfly, resonates with the constant change that we experience as living beings. Before a caterpillar can become a butterfly it must die to its former self. Literally, the immune system of the caterpillar resists the change, fighting the new cells until it’s immune system fails and metamorphosis can occur. The new self cannot exist until the old one dies.
This story of the butterfly speaks to me again, in a new way, as I become a mother slowly more everyday, and as my baby grows wondrously inside of me.
This is an excerpt from the journal I’ve been keeping to my new baby.
I am becoming a mother
and you are becoming my child.
We will perhaps never be as close again as we are now-
made of one body,
nurtured by the same food,
fed by the same spirit.
We are one with all the world.
There is no separation between what each of us truly are,
though you may grow to think there is.
I will do my absolute best in every moment to teach you with my actions, words, and choices that this is so,
that oneness and connection rather than separation and loneliness, are the rule,
though the world is filled with all things.
Still, I will fail, again and again, to live from oneness
and I will surrender to this failure and in doing so, show you the way.
The enormity of your tiny presence in this life leaves me full of a new kind of living.
For you, for love, for me,
I vow to let my highest self live this life.