Note to readers: this post uses strong language and may not be appropriate for those who are sensitive.
When I got pregnant, it felt like getting hit by a train. I was young, unmarried, with no degree, but with a whole heck of a lot of plans. Suddenly those plans went away. They didn’t fade away, and I didn’t try to juggle them all. I’m the type of person who is either all in or all out. Relationships, jobs, beliefs, you name it. I will white knuckle my way through the most ridiculous scenarios because change would be worse. I’d rather stay where I am and face what’s in front of me. Whatever I do, I’m fucking doing it. So when those two lines showed up on that stick, everything stopped. It was now up to me to make a choice, what do I want to do? After some soul searching and after the initial shock wore off, my now husband and I decided that the best course of action was for me to devote at least one year to motherhood. I was going to be a fucking mom.
So, flash forward to me, pregnant my last semester of college. In complete denial about the hurricane life was about to throw my way. Eating my feelings because I couldn’t indulge in anything else that was fun, and most of my friends really didn’t know how to interact with me, and my husband was working very long hours. I think back now, would my pregnancy have hurt me less, would my birth have been less traumatic, would I have gained so much weight, would I have been less depressed if I didn’t meet my pregnancy with self loathing and denial? But I was fucking pregnant so who can judge? (I graduated with honors BTW)
The first year of my daughter’s life has been intense. She rocked my world with her effervescence and stomped all over my heart with her tiny feet. There’s no going back now. I leaned into her with the force of an army. I’d be damned if I didn’t make up for the last nine months of her living inside of me and me feeling generally ambivalent about it all. I fucking love her okay? And everyone was going to know it. I’d breastfeed her openly and proudly, waiting to just be approached by a stranger so I could fire back a response about how much I love my baby and how I don’t care what they think. She was me and I was her. We were one and she was everything.
But who am I without her? Something I’ve asked myself a lot over the year. It’s been impossible to think about anything except “the baby”, but slowly, these little thoughts have crept back into my mind. They say “hey remember you used to curl your hair?” Or “hey remember you used to have radical political views?” That voice would tell me “you had a baby, you didn’t die”. So lately I’ve listened a little more to that voice. Let it inside a little bit more each day. Pursued a career that let me be a mom and do something that reflected my passion. Work a couple days a month and then still get to feel high and mighty about being a stay at home because clearly that means I’m the best mom ever.
This week, I’ve had to take a step back. Look at myself, at my priorities. How will I juggle motherhood, which isn’t guaranteed to get any easier, and also this person (me) who I’m starting to remember? I’m not sure what that juggling will look like. If I’ll have to drop some balls or get an extra hand (daycare or a nanny). If I want to pursue myself, by working outside the home, will I still even be a mom? I guess I’ll thank our culture for placing that standard on women. One things for sure, I’ll be trying like a motherfucker.