Reflection in the Quiet of the Morning
Now that my little one is sleeping through the night, there’s a blissful period of perfect quiet between the time I wake and the time she wakes. I love being a mother, but I also love those quiet times when I can forget responsibility, forget diapers and milk bottles, forget worrying about illness, meeting milestones, random terrible thoughts about death and loss. I can just sit there on the couch, enjoying a cup of coffee and catching up on my web comics. If I’m lucky, there’s also a bagel to keep me company.
It’s so easy to forget that I’m not just a mother, I’m a person, too. It’s still early for me, being 11 weeks into this adventure, but sometimes I feel like I’ve been put into a perpetual motion machine of fear and responsibility. There are sheer moments of joy that help me through – those baby smiles, sleepy baby noises and the way she smells…oh that baby smell. For those times that I’ve been thrown up on for the third time that day, changed my 15th diaper and there’s a screaming infant in my face, inconsolable, kicking and so angry for seemingly no reason at all – I look forward to the next morning when all is quiet, I’ve got my coffee, and my sanity for a brief moment in time.
It’s hard to imagine what life was like before having a baby. It was fun – I do remember that. It was free of constraints, except for maybe work and common decency. I lived however my fiance and I wanted to live – parties, late night video game marathons, pulling an all-nighter for work, getting too drunk to hold my playing cards, having sex whenever the hell we feel like it, and laughing as loudly and as long as I wanted to. I don’t feel now like I can’t do those things, they just take a lot more work and planning. I have to find a babysitter, make sure I’ve pumped enough milk (or as much as I can) to hold her over, push down the guilt of doing something for myself, and then there’s the shuffling off the concerns and fears of the day-to-day enough to relax and feel like my old self again. It takes such an effort to be ready to do nothing for a while, it almost doesn’t seem worth it.
But it is worth it. Listen up, other mothers. You are still you. Your identity is your own. You’ve worked so hard, now work a little harder for yourself. Read a good book. Paint something. Get it on. Go to a bar, have a martini and talk with adults (don’t forget to use Milkscreen if you’re breastfeeding.) In the hectic world of diapers, bottles, toys and bibs, slip in some “you” time. You will talk about the baby. You will miss the baby. There’s nothing wrong with that- and there’s nothing wrong with reclaiming and maintaining your beautiful “you.”