I don’t even know where to start.
I don’t know how to find the language to articulate the profound, irrevocable change that motherhood has rendered within me.
I’m stunned by the beauty of it: the love I have for this child. I want to devour him. I want to wrap myself in his impossibly long eyelashes, pressed up against his round, soft cheeks.
Nothing could have prepared me for the debilitating lows or gut-busting highs of becoming a mother. I couldn’t have predicted or planned it. I couldn’t have anticipated the miracle that occurs when a piece of your soul lives outside of your body.
Yet the last seven months have been the most difficult of my life.
I’ve been stretched and challenged and changed in uncomfortable ways. I’ve shattered into hundreds of pieces and put myself back together. I’ve subsisted on meager amounts of sleep and adult conversation while still feeding, cleaning, and caring for a helpless creature. This is what it truly means to be needed. His entire existence hinges on my waking, my body, my caress.
There’s something so carnal about this need. It’s all that really matters.
For the first few months we were just surviving. Learning about each other. Finding moments of joy amidst the terror, the fatigue of being a new parent. It was a season of gravity and clarity. My heart felt heavy with love.
There were times I struggled. I faltered. I curled into a ball and wept. But the sun rose each morning on his sweet skin and I couldn’t remember a time before he existed.
And it got easier. When the meals ran out and the visitors faded, I faced motherhood on my own feet. With each day, I gained confidence; I got to know my child. I learned the curve of his face, the tenor of his cry, the warmth of his little body against mine. As the spring days stretched into summer, I slowly re-entered the world.
It didn’t stop turning, you see.
My small, carnal existence had isolated me. Motherhood caused me to skip a beat. It was blessed, needed time, but the world had gone on without me. So I reintroduced myself to church, to friends, to the grocery store. I was like an ostrich lifting my head from the sand.
But nothing would ever be the same. There was no returning to “normal” because normal was new and shifting.
And it was ok. The beauty of our new normal outweighed the frustration. My child grew and changed and explored like I had forgotten how to do.
Now, he’s being shaped before my eyes. Each new day brings a new discovery, a new skill, a new item to chew on.
My heart bubbles up to my throat when he sneezes, smiles, laughs. Suddenly his bright eyes render recognition, delight. His chubby hands reach out with intention.
There’s just something about watching a life being formed. I love him so deeply my breath catches in my chest.
It’s worth falling off the face of the earth, if only for a little while. I’m still moving slowly. I’m still learning to accept failure, to accept advice. I’m still paralyzed when a social obligation interferes with bedtime. I’m still figuring out how to be a mother and also be a person.
I can barely remember to wear two socks in the morning, much less to write. But it’s so important. It’s necessary to capture this holy, exceptional time.
Because I want to remember.
I want to remember his spindly, alien-like limbs when he was just a few weeks old. I want to remember the sweet, clean smell of baby lotion and powder after his bath. I want to remember the waves of grief that rolled over me the first morning I went back to work and had to leave him. I want to remember swaddling and shushing. I want to remember the unbridled joy that washes over his face every time I walk into a room. I want to remember the twinge in my heart when Dairy Man reads bedtime stories to his son. I want to remember how everything changed when I became a mother.
So forgive my sentimentality, excessive use of adjectives, lack of blogging, and baby spam on Facebook, but I’m still figuring out how to be his mom and also be myself.
It’s not easy, but I wouldn’t change a moment. Life is just too good.