A friend of mine called yesterday to say she had just seen her baby in a sonogram for the first time. Since Ella's little 20wk-in-utero face was the last thing I had posted on my previous blog, this got me thinking about all that has happened during the last two years. If I remember right, I was pretty awesome at being pregnant. We moved across town, we helped 3 people move, we drove to Wisconsin, then flew to Iceland, 2 weeks later we flew to NY unexpectedly, we had house guests 3 times, and I worked part-time through a 100+ degree summer 7 months pregnant. I was still doing my own grocery shopping at 8.5mo pregnant. I kept myself busy enough that I didn't really let myself work through my insecurities and fears. But when Ella was breech and I had to have a c-section, everything changed. Suddenly, that veneer of strength was removed. I went from being pregnant and hauling groceries to not being allowed to lift any more than my 9lb baby. I went from driving all around town for work and errands, to not being allowed to drive for 2 weeks, or to flip the laundry or empty the dishwasher for 6. And I was a wreck emotionally. I was lucky to not have PPD as badly as some, but I think Post-Partum Anxiety might actually capture the irrational fear I had of driving to Jamba Juice and the weird insomnia/nightmares and instance of sleep paralysis (see possible causes - if that doesn't sound like new motherhood with a major surgery, I don't know what does!) that sent my world emotionally crashing down around me. Even though I regained my footing somewhat after a few weeks (months?), I was still hesitant to go anywhere I hadn't been before with Ella. What if she ... cried?!? The powerlessness was overwhelming. I can honestly say that if I were looking for the easy path (just for me personally, I can't speak to your experience with either of these!:)), I would take grad school any day over being a SAHM. Being a new mom kicked my butt.
BUT, this is where motherhood has also jumpstarted a part of my soul that was dying off. Being a mom reveals my every weakness all day long. For a long time I hated it, ran from it, sat zombie-like in front of my computer hoping that someone, somewhere would write something that would take my mind off of the numbing sense of inadequacy that haunted me. I still have those hours (and occasional days), and I still hate my weaknesses, but as I see Ella beginning to grow, and to imitate me, I find that something finally appears more important than my neuroses. I realize that I want her to be better than I am, more confident, more aware of her passions, more able to dive in and determine her own course. And that means having to model that, and to dare to let myself want it for me, too; this is where motherhood is kicking me into shape. I want our home to be beautiful and orderly so that Ella can find peace and delight here. I want to take good care of my body so that she can know hers is worth loving and taking care of, too. I want to pursue my interests wholeheartedly, because looking through the mirror of a small child makes me finally ask, why in the world would I not do what I love? And so, I'm starting to, step by step.
I was terrified when I found out I was having a little girl 3 Mays ago because I feared the gaping holes in my identity. I'm so thankful that loving her has opened the door for me to find myself worthwhile, too.