And I havn't written since.
In the last 4 months I've been asked countless times what becoming a mother is like. What a question. I don't answer it. I just shyly say something positive. I'm scared of raving on about my baby all the time. I try change the subject. Keep my old self alive with my friends.
One of them asked me this the other day, and then told me that she thinks mothers become irrational.
Maybe now I know what she meant. I'm lying in bed and I just thought of something. It might be an explanation.
You become pregnant. You are one minute a wine drinking, coffee smelling, prosciutto eating human being, then you take a pregnancy test, and all that changes. Your mind keeps zooming back to the inside of your uterus. You are wondering about what's going on in there. and with good reason. What is happening in there is the biggest thing in the world. A division of cells that is so mathmatical but so miraculous. Cells that have to align in such a way to somehow form a tiny microscopic heart. Then that heart has to somehow start beating.
Once you are convinced that that has happened, you continue to wonder about what's happening in there. Arms and legs grow. They can tell you the sex. Your body actually produces another entire organ entirely dedicated to nourishing the baby inside the womb. The baby is attached to it by a chord.
And you go about life. You might go on tour with your band, and spend the nights vomiting under summer stages, climbing your 3 flights of stairs. Talking with strangers about how big or small your belly is and should be, all the while hoping. Doing nothing but having faith that your body is doing its job.
Then you feel somersaulting kicks, and you connect. So 20 to 30 weeks is bliss.
You might think about the birth from the very beginning. But these thoughts begin to fill your mind as the third trimester approaches.
The baby has to make a transition from floating, placenta-nourished to earthside air breather, drinker of milk, sufferer of temperature and gravity. And you birth the child you grew inside of you. If you're lucky, you get to do it without major surgery, with deep groans and pushing. Pushing. Like, pushing a bus across, I don't know, San Francisco? But you do it and then, there you are. Sitting naked on the end of your bed, the blood drained from your face with a rosy baby in your arms.
And. that is the moment it all changes. You don't trust anymore. You don't have faith that your body will look after this precious life. Because you have to. You fall desperately in love, and you feel the responsibility like a sharp pain in your side. Not because you don't want it, but because you feel you don't deserve it. And if she falls asleep on a surface that isn't your own body, you will check to see if she is breathing every 10 minutes for the next four months, because not doing that feels unfathomable. And you don't care if it seems unreasonable. You will leap up when she cries in fright, you will spend hours lying sprawled across your bed with your breast in her mouth.
You do what you can. So you should honour the placenta that used to do this work for you. I ate most of ours. Some of it is still leaking into brandy in the darkness of my pantry. Sweet placenta. Sometimes I really miss it. Not the keeping her inside, because I wouldn't give up the nuzzling and head kisses for anything in the world, and there is the fact that I can't wait to see who she will become. But that feeling that she is safe, nourished, content and floating.
That is irrational, no? Confusing? That is what becoming a mother feels like.