Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
I wonder, shall my years always be measured out from August to August? Shall I now run my life on years from the eighth month on? I shall not be surprised. It seems so much has changed in these last 12 months, it seems almost normal to be in such a permanent state of flux.
This year. It has seemed endless and momentous all at once. It was truly, just yesterday I walked the sidewalks of our neighborhood – anxiously awaiting her arrival. And yet, years ago –lifetimes – I existed without her… without the constant thought of her, the need in my heart for her health and happiness, the empty space in my chest, in my arms, when she is not physically close by.
How did I wander this earth without her? How did I exist? Live? How did I carry that empty space, so ignorant of it; so oblivious to its utter size and weight? Yet now, I struggle at times beneath it. This past week, on an airplane taking me thousands of miles from her I ached like I never have before. Panic sat in my chest, sadness and tears chased every blink.
She is my very joy. How did I go so long without her?
I’m finding balance, though. Finding myself. It’s been a hard road, that. My love for her was at once all consuming. I knew no else. No one else. I gladly gave in to every instinct, every whispered voice in my heart and took care of her. Nurtured her. Loved her.
And it came easy. It came easy to forget myself, to set aside Sam (a shaming and horrible confession there) and become a mother. To stop being a wife and a friend and an artist and a designer and, well, me for a while.
To be for her.
I’m finding my way back now – finding the me I was before, yet now someone different. Finding the wife Sam wants and needs me to be. Finding the friend I know I need and can be. And, finding the artist. The person I want Maire to see when she looks up at me. Looks up to me.
That has been the hardest.
Finding the balance, that path. That way of being.
No one tells you that. Oh, everyone has their warnings – all of which I found to fall flat once I was in the midst of the experience.
First it was the natural childbirth – I couldn’t do it, it would hurt – why would I deny modern medicine?! So and So’s wife’s sister said she was going to do it, but lo! She got the epidural… It seemed everyone who asked what I was planning on doing had some piece of warning or advice. As if I hadn’t thoroughly thought it out. As if I hadn’t done my research. As if it was a rapt decision. But in the end, she and I did it. In the end, it was no where near as bad as people say.
As anyone says, or as tv and movies make it look. It was an unbelievable, undeniable, AMAZING experience – and I hope I’m blessed to be able to do it again. I would in a second. I would have said the same that night as we rested in the bed, eating cheeseburgers and drinking milkshakes.
Again, again, again.
In a heartbeat.
And of course, there’s the breastfeeding. Before I had Maire it was the one thing that scared me. EVERYone had nothing but horror stories. Oh! How it hurt! And it was inconvenient and it was hard and it was a mess and have we mentioned – it hurts? Please, all my friends who have yet to have children know this: it does not hurt if it’s done right. GET HELP. Right away. That baby knows what to do. YOU know what to do. And while it is a bit crazy at first and it can seem overwhelming, it is possible and wonderful and just as amazing as everything else.
I have relished my time with Maire nursing her. I have fed her in museums, on trains, in planes, walking down the street, hiking across a valley, strolling through a stadium… I have not once – not once – been nothing but joyous about it. It has allowed me to give her something no one else in this world can, and when it slows to a stop (as it already has begin to) I know I will find myself more than a little heartbroken.
My experience being a mom, to say the least has come easily and readily and has been the best thing I have ever done in my life. It is the finding my way as a mom in this new world that has been hard. Building a new life, defining myself in this new way. But I have no doubt I will do it.
If anything, this has shown me that when I am open to the possibilities, that when I trust myself and what I know in my heart – only good things can happen.
Becoming a mother has been like coming home. In every way. I have never been more happy, never felt more comfortable. More complete.
I have never done anything like this before.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Saturday, August 08, 2009
Friday, August 07, 2009
Thursday, August 06, 2009
So a year ago today I went to my second, and last, acupuncture appointment. Did it work? Maybe. I still credit the castor oil more than anything else. (And the secret deal Maire and I had struck about her being born on the 8th, but I can't tell you the details of that. It's a mother/daughter thing.)
I remember starting to worry. I was a mere few days from the hospital denying me the birthing center (you can only be so many days past due before they start using terms like "induction" and "pytocin") and at this point I had my heart set.
I was going to that big room decorated like a Laura Ashley 1990's Holiday Inn honeymoon suite and I was going to sit in that jacuzzi and I was going to rock in that rocker and I was going to GIVE BIRTH THERE and then sleep in that giant king size bed with my husband and my new baby.
I was NOT going to Labor and Delivery.
I was not getting an IV or a plastic ID bracelet or say goodbye to Sam when it wasn't visiting hours.
To say I was determined would be a giant understatement.
Sam and I went for a walk a year ago tonight. We walked the neighborhood, down 42nd ... over to the river. We walked out to the pier and watched the river. I remember holding Sam's hand and thinking how this could be the last night for a long long time just the two of us. Really, ever. And I mourned that a little. I felt my love for him surge up in my chest and I felt safe. And I watched the boats and listened to the water and looked over at Jersey and felt lucky.
We walked home, hand in hand.
Just a few blocks from our street, as we strolled ninth avenue discussing what we wanted for dinner, a small wren flew between us.
Right between us, under our linked hands just above the grey concrete sidewalk and then up to the sky.
And my heart lifted. My little baby bird was going to be just fine.
She was taking her time, and I would let her. We were just ramping up for our great adventure together -- before we lifted up and flew toward the sun.
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
No, being a mom for me had very few expectations.
Same with being pregnant. But somehow, weirdly, pregnancy suited me. I liked it. I felt good. And though those first few months were a bit rocky - I did well. We did well. And, though I had spent my life laughing about how I had never felt particularly opposed to certain drugs in my actual life - why would I leave them behind in labor?! Somewhere in my fifth month I found myself seriously contemplating a natural birth and then, before I knew it - planning one.
And now I find myself advocating for them. Not in the right-wing crazy way - but in the "you can do it!" way. I know they say that memory clouds the experience so you won't swear off having babies - but I look back and can remember so clearly that day. And I won't make some big proclamation about it not hurting. It hurt. But, well, it was different. It wasn't pain like you have when you break a bone, or get a cavity. It was purposeful, mindful and in the midst of it all I coudl think was "this means she'll be here soon." And it was, for lack of a better word, wonderful. I would go so far as to say spiritual. I was changed by it, as I am changed by Samaire's presence every day. I am a different person for having gone through labor that I did. More centered, more sure ... different. I see myself and my body differently now.
But anyway - there I was, suddenly overcome with the idea of wanting to bring Maire into this world in how I defined the best way possible - both of us fully present, completely aware. Joyful. So that's what I did.
It was trying and scary and crazy and amazing and absolutely wonderful. And that's just me. I haven't even gotten to the part about the baby...
I can't believe it was a whole year ago ... it seems both a lifetime and a quick breath.