After I had my son I felt lost. I was starting to feel like I had a hang of the whole pregnancy thing. I wasn’t comfortable by any means but, after 9 months and being 2 weeks overdue, I really just thought I would be pregnant forever. At least it was familiar.
Then my son was born. I can’t even describe the wonder and the love and the bond that happens when you first grab up that wet screaming baby that you have just birthed – if you have been there you know what I mean. There is a moment. There is nothing else like it.
And then, the next two nights we spent walking our new little one all night long as he cried, we soothed and he cried, we nursed and he cried, we walked and he cried. I didn’t sleep well again for the next 11 months. He was up 4-6 times a night, every night. I was un-made.
I would not say that I had PPD or that I really even got the baby blues. I was just plain exhausted and to top it off I no longer knew who I was. I wasn’t me anymore. I didn’t know who I was. What what I was was an “easy” answer, I was a mom, I knew it from the moment I held my baby, I knew it with every cell of my body, I was mom. But who was that?
It was a slippery slope. I could feel that if I allowed myself to, I could become depressed about it, I could panic and start sinking like someone who was drowning, lost in a sea of self questioning. Being un-made is a difficult process.
Slowly as the months passed and we got to know each other, as we walked out that first “I’m a mom” moment, even when I questioned it or didn’t feel like it, as I acted on the knowledge and held on for dear life some days, as if to a rescue flotation device, to that first moment knowledge, to that bond, I began to find myself again. But it wasn’t the self I had known before. It was a completely different me. Sure, I had some of the same likes and dislikes, I didn’t completely change, but I no longer was the me I was before. I hardly even remember what it was like to be that person. I knew that I had to let it go, I had to fully embrace the unknown person that I was becoming and let go of the person I had been in order to become the flesh version of the mom-vision I had in those first few moments.
The other day, my mom told me I was doing a great job, that I was very patient (patience is not a strong suit with me!) with my very spirited son and had been through his difficult baby-hood. She said that she knew that I knew best; she could see me act on what was best for my son and that I should not let what anyone else thought or said influence the way I treated/raised my son. I was his mom and I knew best. I felt empowered and I finally saw my new self in the mirror that my mom was holding up for me. I am mom. And the letting go has been worth it. The questioning, the uncertainty, has been worth it. And he, my little one, has been the making of me.