Parenting: Flexibility Of Body And Of Mind

Two years ago today, I looked like this. 
Thankfully for the viewing public this photo is in silhouette because it’s likely I was wearing GIANT granny panties.

And as amazing and impossible as it seems to me still, soon after this photo was taken my body then morphed into a human-pusher-outer and then into a human-milk-feeder and then sortofkindof ignoretheweirdbits back to just me and my former body.

During those 40 weeks of gestation I was very conscious of not mentioning my pregnancy too much on this blog. I had a lot of complicated and confusing feelings about how I was going to adapt my identity to the addition of our baby (turns out it was both MORE and LESS complicated than I had assumed) and I wasn’t sure how to express that in writing. The kind of dialogue going on in my mind felt more appropriate for a private journal than the wide-ness of the web.

Beyond that I also felt this kind of guilt about enjoying my pregnancy so much while simultaneously feeling so much trepidation about having an actual baby. In the world of mom blogs and from the mouths of many of my friends pregnancy was this kind of uncomfortable, blobby state in between not having a baby and having on. A rite of passage required to get to the most yearned for end point. Words to describe it, albeit many times with the intention of conveying humor, related to vomit or bloating or aching or hemorrhoids. And while it’s of course true that there were some frustrating, confusing or fluid related issues with my pregnancy, overall I just LOVED the experience. I loved my shape, my clarity of mind, my perceived control over the health of my baby and my relative ability to continue my life as normal while still having the sense of something extraordinary happening.  I recognize, of course, this is not what all women experience and this may not be my experience if I were ever pregnant again. But for those months I was in love with all of it and felt sharing my somehow betray the sisterhood.

I was excited for my baby to come, sortofkindof, but unlike many women I know I was not begging for that baby to come when I was 38 weeks pregnant. I could have stayed like that forever.

Two years later I have no such qualms about sharing how I feel about the complexities of my identity. Two years later I can admit that on my due date when it was clear, at least to Dave and my mom, that labor was starting I was in denial not because I was afraid of labor but because I was afraid to actually have a baby instead of being pregnant. Two years later I can appreciate the diversity of beliefs and lifestyles within my group of friends and couldn’t give a sniff about the rest of the noise.

After that day my body morphed, gradually, back to its previous state, but my mind is now constantly stretching. To understand the world as my daughter sees it. To make room for the ideas and methods of other, loving parents. To hold the love I have for V, Dave and the world in general as I try to be an optimist every single day. To accomodate the wild hallucinations that acommpany chronic exhaustion.

12 thoughts on “Parenting: Flexibility Of Body And Of Mind

  1. Beautiful photo! Honest account of pregnancy and delivery. Love the line, “my body morphed back to its previous state but my mind is now constantly stretching.” No truer statement about motherhood.

  2. What a beautiful pic Lane and now to look back on it and know that it was Vesper and all that she is in there makes it more so! I loved being pregnant too, not the sore hips and back, constant peeing and trouble sleeping, but lying in bed at night and feeling a little person moving inside of you…miraculous…

  3. We all have different experiences. I hated being pregnant (except for the constant kicking which just made me smile) but boy I couldn’t wait to cuddle up with my son.

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