I babysat on Mother’s Day this year. I think I was 14 weeks pregnant by then, and my client said to me “I am not going to wish you a happy Mother’s Day because you have no idea. You just have no idea what it means to be a mom.” And although I wished that she would have kept her trap shut, she did have a point.
Because I don’t have any idea. I crave burgers and vanilla soft serve. I constantly go to the bathroom. I have swollen tits and an ever expanding-abdomen but that does not make me a mother. I am more like a shelter, a house. A house that has major water retention issues and sore floorboards.
And I’ve got to say, it’s a lonely path wandering in these stretchy pants.
I feel alone as I decline offers to late night parties or drinks with friends. I feel alone as I surf the Internet on crib safety or register for a baby wipe warmer. I feel alone as I remain horizontal, hung-over with hormones, channel surfing — watching snippets of sitcoms about parenthood and feeling nothing but nauseous.
I am alone with my terrified thoughts in bed. I know my husband has anxiety and fears too but he sleeps through the night as I stare at my bookcase of books that I will probably never read now. I can feel the shifts in my hips. The cramping in my legs. And I’m pretty sure my breasts will never be the same.
I fear that I am not a good provider. That I am not a worthy parent. That my career will not want me back after this sabbatical. I fear I don’t have what it takes on a daily basis and what kind of mom will I be if decide not to buy the wiper warmer?
I miss the old me who was busy and buzzing and throwing back Malbec and laughing past midnight. I miss the old sleeper who could rest all night uninterrupted. I miss the gossipy subjects I used to rattle on about, the energy I used to have, how I used to hike and not get winded, how I could paint my own toenails, how I used to feel sexy and desirable and somewhat put together.
And yet, I know me well enough, that I will miss this part too if I’m not careful. I’ll be too busy reminiscing about the old me or trying to manufacture some clue as to who the new me will look like that I’ll miss this silent and sensitive pause in between the two.
I’ll miss all the delicate preparations. The thrill of telling my folks. The anticipation of waiting to find out gender. The friends who visit and touch my belly and want to know what it’s like. The first ultra sound. The first heart beat on the Doppler pounding away. The names I have deliberated and gone to battle with my husband for.
And I won’t be awake for all those private moments that my baby and I have together, when no one else is aware. When my little one squirms in my belly when I am listening to classical music in the car. Or when he hears me sing off-key. Or when I try to sleep. Or when I drink orange juice. When I’m having a private moment, and suddenly there is a knocking on my walls. My baby lets me know that everything is okay.
For right now, and for the next four months, it’s just him and me. He is just mine. And I am just his. And that’s it. It’s just the two of us — roaming this Earth together. And as lonely as I feel sometimes, I need to pause and realize, that I am never, ever, alone.
There’s no car seat to purchase. No babysitter on call. No grandmas fighting over who gets to hold him next.
He needs nothing but me. And he’s content. And so, for once, am I.