Thursday, October 22, 2009

Writer's Workshop-Motherhood

Motherhood.

Are there enough words to describe how it has changed me?

See, the thing about motherhood is:

There are a lot of variables that make being a mommy pretty unpredictable. One can control many variables with schedules, but even those have flaws. There is no guarantee that the whipper snapper(s) involved is going to adhere to the "rules" imposed. I like a schedule. I love nap time and the time it gives me to take a deep breath. I love that every day has a moment that allows for reflection on the unexpected that invariably already happened that day.

The first time I got pregnant I didn't mind throwing up everyday. I didn't mind gaining 50 lbs. and looking like a beached whale. I didn't mind any of the weird things that the body goes through to grow a baby, but I did mind one thing. And it took me years to admit it. I saw plenty of births in childbirth class, yet I don't remember or forgot that many times they don't clean the baby before giving him/her to the mommy. After I birthed my first baby, they promptly put her on my stomach and I literally didn't know what to do. I was crying because I had just experienced the greatest joy of my life, yet I was perplexed. Was I supposed to pick up the slightly stinky, bloody baby, or just touch her? Worse yet, I didn't know if there was something wrong with me for really just wanting to hold her once she was swaddled and cleaned? That was my first experience with the conflicting emotions that motherhood brings.

While I was pregnant, I fully committed to breastfeeding. I knew that it would be easy, economical and the best thing for my baby. A few days after the birth, my milk came in. I was a little shocked. By everything, even though I thought I knew all about it. I DID not know that it (human breast milk) didn't come out in a single stream. How was it that no one had ever told me this? I had commited to breastfeeding, yet for me it was one of the hardest things I had ever done. It was stressful for me, and I didn't feel like it provided an opportunity for extra bonding. I wasn't expecting this.

The latest revelation that has shocked me is that even though I love to read, I don't love reading with my children who are learning to read. This is supposed to be a magical time, but I find myself going crazy waiting for each word to be deciphered. I think it must make me a bad mom in a way, but perhaps it just shows how much I love my children in order to do these things that I don't love.

In fact, that must be it. The thing about being a mommy is love. In all it's unexpected forms. Has it changed me? Infinitely. It's perplexed me, it's humbled me, it's allowed me adventures I never dreamed of. It's made me far less self centered AND. It's filled me with joy.

Head on over to Mama Kat's place to see what others are saying.

35 comments:

Postcards from Wildwood said...

Hi Angie,
What a wonderful, honest reflection on motherhood. I, too, didn't know breast milk came out in crazy, wayward spurts until I fed my babies! There have been so many things over the years that have made me feel I'm a bad mother that I can't even remember them all. I think the truth is that we're shown images of perfection and we're supposed to be perfect too. And since we will always fall short of perfect there will always be something that could make us feel bad if we allow it to!. I wonder if reading is the place you go just for yourself and so having someone there with you feels like an intrusion. When I look back over the years I know there are many things I could have done better but I've also worked out that on balance I haven't done too badly. And it's plain for all to see that you haven't either!
Janice.

Melissa, Multi-Tasking Mama said...

So true! The things about motherhood I was worried about have turned out to be the "easy" parts and things I never imagined (read adolescence) have kicked this mama's butt =)

parentingBYdummies said...

Definitely! I didn't get to hold my bloodied baby after birth (I was dying, literally so it wasn't an option), but I probably woulda been a little geeked out by that. I know I woulda b/c when they got out the look-at-the-awesome-moment mirror I really just wanted to gag; I don't need to know any human, including myself, that well. And, nursing, I didn't know it was like a shower head, either. Nor did I know that until my nips turned into titanium rods, I was gonna feel like I was nursing a baby wolverine. And, I don't like the reading thing either. Here's my bad admission...when I really couldn't take it (screaming baby, dinner cooking, and stuttering reader!) I would send him into the nursery and turn on the monitor and listen to him read in there. If it sounded good, awesome. If not, I would commit myself to rereading it with him later when my mind could take the ugly. And, like I said before, your mom skills are rockin' so don't sweat the small stuff:). Whew! This was like a post itself!

Justine said...

Fantastic, Angie! I was nodding my head the whole time, from gooey baby to nursing, just everything!

Justine :o )

Erin, Nick and Merrick said...

PERFECT.

Susie said...

Motherhood is one of those complex things that is different for every woman and every child. It's the expectations that screw us up. We are told this and we are told that and pretty soon, a picture is painted. When reality doesn't meet up with the picture, we feel inadequate. I don't know anything else that is quite like that.

♥georgie♥ said...

I so related to this post-I wanted to nurse my oldest so bad-she refused to the point the lactation nurse even let me give up...I wore cabbage on my boobs for weeks...

and the reading ohhhh the reading...

Of course mine are teens now or almost teens and this time of their lives is giving a whole new meaning to motherhood, boys cars broken hearts girls cars

Lovely post on motherhood
Hope your Thursday is wonderful

Rachel said...

Great post! Stopping by to say hello. My baby turns six today so motherhood is catching up with me!!

Amy said...

Being a Mom is the best part of my life. Thanks for sharing your thoughts..

Jennifer said...

The reading thing I can totally relate too (I didn't breastfeed and I had csections so not so much the other two). I LOVE to read, but reading with the kids. Not so much fun. Neither of mine have learned how yet, but it drives me insane when they turn the page too quick or want me to repeat the same thing over and over or stop me to ask questions. Ugh. David is much better at reading with them than I am and that is something that I never, ever would have expected.

Kristin said...

So honest and true. I can relate. Doing those mommy tasks that you dislike with a smile.

Summer said...

Angie!!!

This was beautiful and soooo true.

I have always said that motherhood is the most humbling experience I have ever been through. Daily I am humbled....

And yet, I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Except maybe for a weekend of peace and quiet.

=)

Lula! said...

Breastfeeding...the hardest & BEST thing I've ever done in my life. I nursed both Libbey & Caroline...Libbey for 358 days, and Caroline for 363. They both self-weaned literally days before their 1st birthdays.

(Remind me to tell you of my nursing horrors when Libbey was first born. I had 2 La Leche ladies BEG me to stop. And you know that never happens. But that's how bad off I was. No lie.)

I love that you gained 50 lbs. with your first...whereas I gained 2. I love that you are supermodel thin, after having 5 children, 2 of which are twins. I love that I am zaftig after having only 2 children. No, really...I LOVE IT!

And I, too, was very impatient when Libbey was first learning to read. I just wanted to help her along...politely scream, "SPIT IT OUT!"

Gee, I'm the worst mother in the world.

Nori D said...

Beautiful.

Amethyst Moon said...

Great post! i'm glad to hear about the reading part. I always felt bad about my impatience with them learning to read, and I wanted to sing the books that rhyme just to make it go by better. I love reading, but I didn't love them reading :(

Connie said...

Great post Angie...I also remember the first time my breasts behaved like sprinklers...I was shocked as well....motherhood is a wonderful thing....

And I have been lurking around, but not commenting...these twins are BUSY!!

S Club Mama said...

I wasn't sure how I'd feel about the gross crap that covers the baby when they come out either. I didn't get the chance to hold Tristan when he first came out; he was in shock and needed some oxygen. So they just laid him on me with his back toward me and took him away for almost an hour (it took him 45 minutes to cry). So when I got to hold Isaac all nasty and crap covered, I enjoyed every second of it. It was gross and weird and beautiful and I was so happy I could do that. :)

Michelle said...

What an honest reflection on what motherhood means to you.

I had the exact same reaction as you did when my first was born. When they took her away I kind of sat there with icky stuff on my hands wondering if someone was going to get me something to clean my hands.

It is true, as mothers we do a lot of things we don't want out of love. :)

Clark Captions said...

Hi Angie! Great post! I can relate to all of those experiences, except for the gaining of the weight! That was really hard for me from the beginning. I hope things are going well for you in your new home! Love you!

golden girl said...

beautiful post. thanks for sharing your motherhood. i could only breastfeed for 3 monnts. my lil' guy had allergic colitis and they told me i had to stop. i didn't mind at all. take care.

Alicia said...

great post!! i can't handle the reading either, it drives me nuts! and i only breastfed for a month before throwing in the towel!

Kelly Deneen said...

I can relate to a lot of what you wrote. :)

I was giggling at the memory of Delia being a bit gooey after delivery as well. ha! Thankfully our hospital rubbed her down with a blanket for a bit before wrapping her up and handing her to me. ;)

Heather of the EO said...

YES. All the clashing emotions, the negative feelings bringing guilt. But it does come down to what you said...even if I don't like doing something (which is totally fine) I'm still doing it. I like stretching myself this way, even if I get REALLY ugly sometimes and in every way. I like NOT focusing on me all the time. It's good.

Great post, lady.

Christi said...

Great post Angie! I remember those same feelings. And I am not wild about reading with my little ones either. It definitely gets my anxiety level up. My husband is much better with that so he takes the wheel on that one.

T Rex Mom said...

Thank you. Thank you, especially for your honesty. There are things about motherhood that others rave about and I just cannot bring myself to like them. I sometimes feel like I'm a bad mother because I have such feelings but I just keep telling myself that at least I am honest with myself. And yes, like you, I love my little one enough to do those things that I simply do not enjoy.

Swirl Girl said...

THey don't come with a manual do they. I know more about my new hot water heater than I did my first baby.

I remember squeezing my eyes tight - and telling the nurses that I didn't want to even hold the minute old baby until she was clean. And no photos either - until we'd all had a chance to 'tidy up'. I also put a "no leche league" sign on my door, because I knew that I didn't want to do that. (awful me, huh?) I was okay with my decision not to nurse, I just didn't want to made to feel bad or guilty for my decision to do so.

Jayme said...

I HATE reading with kids, HATE it! And I am a huge reader! It drives me nuts to listen to them choke over words.

girlytwins said...

Wonderful post Angie. Motherhood is so amazing in every form. I have enjoyed reading various blogs on this topic due to your prompt and I am loving it.

Jenners said...

I love your honesty about these things. And I'm with you on the whole "learning to read thing." I'm just salivating for my son to be able to read on his own but the getting there process is painful!!!!

Kristin said...

That multi streamed boob thing freaked me out too. I remember getting in the shower, engorged and in pain and having the milk spraying out in 4 different directions, Man! that was surreal.


good post. very true. all very true.

Life with Kaishon said...

I just loved this post so much. So true. And so dead on! It is different for all of us. Different and wonderful in its own way!

Stacey said...

You nailed it. That was beautiful.

Live.Love.Eat said...

They didn't clean off the baby? Interesting. I have only seen that in movies. They cleaned Tristan off before giving him to me. I would have felt weird too.

Wonderful thoughts and honesty Angie.

Mama Kat said...

AMEN to this!! Somebody FINALLY said it. I hate reading with my kids and to be honest I don't think it makes them better readers. My mom read with us and I think I'm the only one who likes to read in our family.

I finally broke down and bought Maile one of those tag things that reads to you when you push it on the books. I can't take it.

stefanie said...

This made me smile!

I never knew about the multi-stream milk production either, until I saw it from my own, well, you know. What a shock! Nursing was not easy. Neither was pumping. I tried it and got so frustrated that I threw the thing across the room. When I got up to check on the damage I threw it again and harder because it didn't break the first time. It did break then and I felt soooo good that I laughed myself hysterical.

I also hated reading to my children. I used to name every item in every picture in the books when they were babies, but I hated reading the stories out loud to them. I felt rotten about that, but they have both become avid silent readers like me, so I guess I didn't damage them too much.