05.18.12 Truth & Wisdom
BY Jen Tobin
Transformation. You know, I feel like at 37, I’ve already lived three separate lives. There’s everything before college, college and the years that came after and then there’s that time I had a baby and everything that came after that. By far, the biggest transformation I’ve made has been going from a regular person to being a Mom.
Before those two pink lines arrived on the stick I peed on, my life, mostly was all about me. Not that I presented in any sort of selfish manner, but I could sleep in, eat what I wanted and generally go to the store to get milk on a whim. After those two pink lines, and I mean right after they appeared, I no longer ate what I wanted, hardly slept and worried now about someone else more than myself. I am in no way implying either is better or worse, my life was just now…different. And so was I.
I was so convinced I was going to have a natural birth that when my doctor told me he couldn’t guarantee any woman a natural birth on my first visit to him, I nodded my head and said “of course” but secretly disbelieved him. I was going to be guaranteed that, because that’s what I wanted. I was still used to doing things the way I wanted them. Things were still, just a little, about me.
When I never dilated and had to have a c-section, I got to understand what surrender is all about. I got to see first hand what it is to sacrifice yourself for your child. The term “cesarean section” is thrown around these days and 60% of American women have them, so people are desensitized to the severity of them. We who have experienced them know better. Six layers of the abdomen are sliced into, that baby is airlifted out of you and the recovery is about six weeks long, plus some. We become slightly dependent on those around us for help and care. Doing it alone is not the best option. For someone as independent as I am, this was one of the most difficult things I’ve experienced to date. It was my initiation into motherhood and into making hard choices that had nothing to do with what I really wanted, but what I wanted for my child; her safety being the most paramount.
I still don’t know how I’m fairing, a year after she’s been born. I think I’m doing okay, surviving certainly and even enjoying my new role. I can’t even imagine how this new role is going to stretch me, contribute to my evolution and what kind of unforeseen challenges I will inevitably face. In the meantime, I work full time and try to suffice my own agenda of writing, exercising, sleeping and eating and those things I used to take for granted are now on my “please God, let me able to …” list. Sleep, of course, being highest on that list. I try to remember I had 36 years of sleeping in and spontaneously going to the store. So, now that I have to pack someone else up, grab a few diapers, a sippy cup and a board book before I go…well, it could be worse.
I remember that time I didn’t have a baby fondly, like a movie I watched a long time ago and struggle to remember the killer lines. Sometimes it’s fuzzy and I wonder if it really happened, if it was really my life. I took care of other people’s children for so long, I thought I had it all figured out. I got to leave those kids at 5 o’clock and I just didn’t worry too much about who they were going to marry or how they’d get to college. So it’s different when it’s your own, yes. You were all right.
My body is different, my brain is different, my dreams are different and my worries are different after this transformation to motherhood. I still feel like a butterfly emerging from the cocoon; all wet and plump and awkward, not knowing what to do with the wings I just sprouted out of nowhere. I’m navigating the journey and I know it’s beautiful, but sometimes it’s hard to see through the newness of it all and I try to remember that it’s okay. I try to remember I can mourn my old life and still be in love with my new one simultaneously. Transformation isn’t always easy, but I’m pretty certain it’s worth it.
Featured image via littleblueworldphoto.com