I’ve written here before about being reorganized by motherhood – about the profound and difficult transition from a former life to a new one that came with my entry into parenthood.
Like most people, before I had a baby, I’d heard the phrase a thousand times, “You can’t imagine how much your life will change when you become a parent.”
Not only could I not imagine it, I couldn’t even locate what they were talking about. I’d lived a largely autonomous life before, where my plans and desires shaped my future. I didn’t know what it was to be changed in ways I didn’t foresee or choose.
Now, I look in the mirror and see a body and face altered, worn by the daily intensity of the past few years. I know those skin-deep changes are a metaphor: minute by minute, caring for a little person, I’ve been changed, gradually but significantly.
And here I am, two and a half years into motherhood, and three and a half years into the changed life that began even earlier, with a body overtaken by pregnancy.
On the one hand, I am still being rewoven, reorganized by motherhood. On the other hand, something has settled. The feeling of turmoil around that reorganization has quieted. The feeling of the old me being pulled and kneaded into something new has diminished. The weather in my emotional and mental sky feels less foggy, more serene and consistent. And WE ARE ALL SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT now. Hallelujah.
It was a few years of crossing a long bridge to get here, but now I’m here, on the other side: a mother. A parent. One who has in some strange way been removed from the center of the circle, to become one who nourishes the circle, who stands shoulder to shoulder with others, along the perimeter, to give life to what is now being grown in the center.
Still me but a different me.
And just as things are starting to feel a little calmer, we are about to turn everything upside down again, with a new baby coming in December.
Last night, there I was, walking up the stairs to our front door, feeling the curve and bounce of my growing belly. I was so happy to get home, to see the exuberant toddler I’d missed all day, to hear his sprint to the door, and to meet the face of my husband – the face that after almost twenty (oh my god) years, still grounds me and makes everything in me sigh when I see it. That face that says and means, home.
In this chapter of my life, the blessings of family life feel immense. Our routine is working. I’m on this side of the bridge, on land again. And I am falling more and more in love with this little boy who has given me the gift of an expanded heart.
I could still cry at some of what has been lost. Even in this moment of gratitude for what is, I could cry about it. Not sadness exactly, just change, just emotion, just the intensity of life.
But mostly I just feel like watching, watching all the beauty that is here before me now.
photo credit: Jens Johnsson