Being a mom is totally crazy and hard. It takes every bit of myself to just. keep. showing. up. No matter what. I thought I understood that it would be the hardest job ever, then I became a mom, and wow, it's really hard! It's not just about being a mom to your sweet or freaking out little baby, it's about being a mom and also still being a wife, sister, daughter, woman and human of your own (though that's pretty much over!). It also takes constant positive reinforcement from other moms and understanding friends to keep up the good work. Dear god thank you to each incredible person who visited, called, texted and checked on me these past 3 months, especially the moms. I literally would not have made it to the other side without you.
Birth, is also hard. I had no idea. Again, I thought I knew, but I didn't know. I don't think you can really know, until you are IN it. Our birth in particular was really hard. I was in labor for 3 days with various complications (having never even been in a hospital before!) but ultimately pushed him out in a half hour at the end! Thank F*ING GOD for our Doula, Meadow, my hero and saving grace. Shaye would not be here without you. You deserve millions of dollars and sparkling awards. I cherish you. You will forever be etched into my birthing memory, guiding me like a dark raven dream. I have a completely different understanding of birth, and what it has taken for every single person on this planet to get here. Everyone was born! Just... wow.
Partnership as parents, also hard. Go figure. You could go days without even hugging, let alone have a meaningful connection. But you also get to see an entirely new side of your person, like a secret self being revealed. I am so blessed to witness my husband in his rite of passage becoming a Father. In there all along, it took this glorious little baby creature to reveal the most soft, gentle, committed, loving dad. Jed, you are such a good man, and now you are such a good dad. Your embodiment of what it means to be a man in this world is so, so needed. I love you so much. And thank god we did all that hard relationship work first, so I can keep remembering to trust completely in US, as we inevitably fall apart and more deeply into the messiness of love.
Family. Motherhood. It's the mirror we choose and don't quite choose. The passageway that gives us life and leaves our starlight behind as our children. The path we somehow can't ever fully realize or turn away from, no matter how much we love or grieve or give. It's not fair and it's gorgeously challenging. You make life-giving milk for it and your hair falls out for it. You literally get stretch marks from it. You've never slept so little, been so torn up inside and out, pushed beyond the beyond of your edges, to love someone so tiny and new, who you don't even know yet, so completely. And you still have to keep making money and doing the dishes and the laundry, but your everything is rearranged. No matter the story, you're never the same.
I spent an hour alone in quiet for the first time in a very long time, a week or so ago, in a hot tub under a dark moon night. As I rest my tired body in the delicious hot water and gazed up at those familiar constellations after so many starless nights, I realized that I would never be alone again. I have never really felt "alone" in this world (lucky me) but an entirely new level of "not alone" hit me. It was as if the starry cord that had brought our baby to join us in this world was now made of flesh - utterly vulnerable and time-bound. Human. And I am made more human by it.
It was then that I realized, I would never look out into the darkness of any night ever again without thinking of my child, imagining him, wondering if he is safe, wishing his world to be so full of love, wanting so much for him. I will never get into any hot tub and not be a mom. Someone else, of my own body, now exists in the world with me. A new constellation, I will never be without him. Being a mom is a forever thing.
Moms, you get this I know, but humor me, I'm new. I am one of those children and I am one of those mamas now too, woven into some never ending astral tapestry of one generation to the next crossing over, and crossing back. I'd get covered in spit-up a thousand times again to feel his little baby hand softly caress my chest as he drinks his milk. Humbled, I feel pushed to love and be loved more than I knew was possible. To literally be torn open for life.
Special thanks to my mama, who I have more compassion for now than was imaginable before my birth into motherhood. And to my husband for holding my and Shaye's journey into this world as mother and child with such tender care. And to my community for witnessing me, us. And to Shaye, for choosing us, for making the long journey into our arms, and for being our greatest teacher. It's just the beginning!