I've been reading a little of this, this, and this lately, and I've found myself wondering what honesty about motherhood really means. I think that nearly all mothers would agree that motherhood is a drastic, permanent, life-changing event, but I doubt that many of us would seriously consider taking it back. I'm not talking about in those moments when your toddler just pitched a giant screamfest over riding in the cart and had to have a time-out in the Target bathroom (ok, that might just be me...); in the quiet moments of honest reflection, after baths and bedtime stories, what is the truth about motherhood?
I've written a little about this before, but I struggled bad for several months after Cara was born. I was exhausted, overwhelmed, and lost. I couldn't remember who I was, mainly because I didn't have the time or energy to think about it. I wanted a break from my life so badly that one night in the parking lot of Staples, I wondered exactly how badly it would hurt to get hit by a car. I didn't want to die from it, but a little time to myself sounded so nice that I was considering spending it in a hospital bed. Obviously, that is not a normal thought process, and I am so grateful to my dear friends who sent my ass straight to a counselor.
I am thankful in a way for those low points because I get it when I see other moms looking a little glazed over, and I promised myself I would be honest with my friends when they had babies. No one warned me about those first few months, and I didn't want anyone else to go through what I went through without realizing that those feelings do not mean you are a bad mother. I think for a lot of people, it's pretty typical to reach a breaking point (or several breaking points).
However, I've been wondering lately if I'm so focused on the difficulty that I forget to mention the joy. I will admit that there are nights when I groan in my head when it's time to read bedtime stories because I really just want that child to go to sleep, but it's all forgotten as soon as she plops in my lap with her book. At that moment, there is nowhere else I would rather be. I remember the stress of pumping at 5 in the morning and twice at work and nursing almost all evening, of walking my newborn up and down the hallway way too late at night, of hearing her tiny cries right when I poured the bubbles into my bath, but nothing can replace catching that first glimpse of a smile or hearing that sweet baby laugh for the first time. I will never regret the hours I spent rocking my girl to sleep or pushing her in a swing. "Mommy, higher!"
I feel like I have grown into my new identity as a mother, and I like this person better than the one I was before. My purpose is so much larger, even though it's so much more exhausting and overwhelming sometimes. Honestly, I can't wait to start it all over again. March sounds pretty good to me.