Well, I am officially no longer nursing Asa. It’s a weird thought; I haven’t nursed him for two days, and I haven’t suffered any aftereffects that I wondered about – engorgement being the biggest one. But we transitioned to the bottle over three months time, nursing less and bottle-feeding more out of necessity rather than choice, so I’m sure that helped tremendously.
But now I have to… I don’t know, figure out who I am again. Motherhood is such a rollercoaster of fluctuating identities. You first become “the pregnant one” in your circle of friends (well, I did, being the only pregnant one in my and my husband’s circle… and… we’re the only married ones, too, so…). You get used to the identity of being a pregnant woman, and all that entails — the extra special care, the maneuvering of an ever-growing belly, the different type of confidence and style, the focus from being newlywed to pregnant… and you get used to that. You get used to your name now being “Preggo” and it becomes comfortable.
But then you have the baby, and you’re stripped of that title and thrown into new motherhood. Where you are focused on feeding the baby, sleeping, and eating. And that’s it. You get into your routine of being baby-centric, you have to learn a new role, you have to learn how to dress all over again, you learn to be the second one people say hello to.But eventually the excitement of a new baby settles down, and you’ve gotten into your routine of caring for this cute being who basically just eats, sleeps, and poops… and then the baby starts to grow and change and be more aware and get a personality, and you start anew. You are now the mother of a child who recognizes you, whose cries you know how to translate, who needs you. And you feel a new connection with the baby, and a new identity coming on again as you learn to interact with the personality of your kid. And then they change again, and so do you. They get independent, they feed themselves, and they no longer need you in the way that they used to. And you are, once again, changing. You become your own person again, not quite as necessarily fettered to the baby as you used to be. You are not needed in the same way.
And you have to learn what that means, and how to deal with the freedom of not being needed quite as much. I can see why some mothers get overwhelmed, depressed, angry, sad… whatever emotion comes up that is just too much. Motherhood, for me, isn’t so much hard work in that there’s a lot to do — yes, I have to feed, bathe, change, and emotionally support a child as well as clean the house, cook dinner, do laundry and grocery shopping and all of those mother/wife things… and then find time to blog, read, write, photograph, and do all of those things I love to do — as it is hard to deal with the different stages of emotions that come along.
Truth be told, the hardest part of motherhood is not having that connection you used to have with your baby. I am no longer carrying him in my belly, nor feeding him from my breast. He has become entirely a separate person from myself, and he no longer needs me to sustain him. It’s hard not to be needed like that, after 18 months of being so vital to his life.
But that’s life. It’s a fascinating, hard, wonderful, fun, crazy thing, motherhood. I love it. And despite everything that is hard and sad and heartbreaking, I would never give this experience up for anything else.
Obviously. What mother would?
Asa is officially forward-mobile, you guys. He has three teeth, he feeds himself, he knows how to pull things off of the coffee table and the couch, and he crawls. Pretty much, he’s ready to conquer the world. It’s fun.
I hope you have all had a wonderful week!