This past year

[In true motherly fashion, I began this post six weeks ago. It was the anniversary of Little Man's entry earthside. As he took his birthday nap, I mused. I'm just now getting back to it and publishing these birthday ruminations. ]

A year ago today I sat just about where I’m sitting now. Propped up on pillows on the right side of the bed a snuggle’s breath away from my sleeping baby.

So much has changed. For one thing, the bed now sits in a Chicago apartment building rather than above a garage in South Carolina. For another there are no longer ambiguous stains on my sheets (pee? sweat? breast milk?)- only unambiguous ones (drool, definitely drool). The kitchen cabinets sport baby locks, the desk drawers have yardsticks stuck through the handles, and the trash can sits on top of the sofa. On the book shelf,  Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth and Birthing from Within have been replaced by That’s Not My Teddy and Goodnight Moon. Mr. Quotidian and I spend our dates on the couch with a bottle of wine rather than out… somewhere. Our movies come with mandatory intermissions. 6:30 a.m. is considered sleeping in.

Yet the babe sleeping next to me is still the same, essentially at least. Yes, he’s longer, heavier, and has 7 teeth now. And yes, instead of just sleeping he also giggles, grabs at cats’ tails, and wills himself towards the ceiling fan. He has gone through several nicknames in the intervening months. (He now prefers Mr. Thed from his daddy and Snuggle-wuggle-wigwam on his silly days.) And yet he still locks eyes with me as he nurses. Still clenches my heart with his cries. Still trusts me.

So perhaps it’s me that’s changed? I now know my way around such terms as bilirubin, meconium, and object permanence. I can decipher all  most of the forum abbreviations. (Though BM still throws me each time. In mothering forums, it usually means breastmilk. My first thought is always bowel movement.So typical sentences such as “we’ve been giving her a bottle of bm before bed…” always cause a double take.) I have working opinions on breastfeeding, infant sleep, milestones, and vaccinations.

But those things seem more like growth rather than change.  In the same way that Little Man being able to get off the couch by himself is simply a new expression of the established need to explore his surroundings, being a mama has forced me to adapt and learn new coping devices. But does that really change who I am? Is motherhood a feather duster that simply brushes away old habits and selfishness, leaving the shelf cleaner but in basically the same form? Or is it a chrysalis in which everything I am is broken down, liquified, and then remade in an all together new form? How much can a person adapt before they become someone new? Does it even matter? Perhaps it’s just frivolous introspection aggravated by lack of sleep.

I feel like I should have some big personal epiphany to share with you regarding motherhood, change, and self. Words that would buff out the scratches and stains left by the day after day after day, leaving the dignity of motherhood to gleam in the melting afternoon light. Lacking that however, I am unsure how to end this. So perhaps I will just settle back into the pillows and watch as the light dribbles shadows across my sweet one’s face.  As I have many times this past year.


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Posted in Uncategorized 11 years, 5 months ago at 3:12 pm.


2 Replies

  1. oh Jana… lovely. Yes, you have changed… he has changed you… it is the right word. And you will NEVER be the same person you were the seconds, minutes, days, years before he was born. Motherhood make us gentler (if that is even possible in you) and stronger (ditto) and smarter (ditto again). The world is still your oyster, you just have a beautiful pearl to share it with now. Love you so much.

  2. Jana@ Collected Quotidian Jul 17th 2012

    Beth, thank you. I miss you.

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