I haven’t had much to say the past few months.
I have had so much to say the past few months.
Sometimes it comes pouring out of my mouth like ectoplasm, provoked by the social outrage of the day, or just the day-to-day drama of being a human woman during the 21st century.
racism sexism gun-violence police brutality the donald democratic primary friendships self-worth money everything
Or I suppose I just imagine it that way, a film of unholy outpourings, because pregnancy has cautioned me to hush. If I were to express thoughts or feelings I would surely spiral into madness. So I say nothing.
I have been hyperaware, yet this has not served me. I sit with the awareness, absorb it, and don’t know what to do with it.
The lesson of pregnancy has been to live with constant discomfort, and thus to remain silent. Feeling often like a skittish horse, sensing movement and threats I have no business engaging with, often leaves me unable to sit in my skin. Unable to write. So I wait for the moment to pass, self-soothing with warm baths and the balm of time. My rage recedes as an outgoing tide, and my anxiety froths about in my blood until it too subsides.
I haven’t said a word.
– – –
Any time I contemplate taking for myself, a purloined moment to read for pleasure or tap at this keyboard, I push aside in favor of What Needs to Get Done. What Needs to Get Done includes reading up on labor and delivery and how to raise a non-racist white male in America; setting up the diaper changing area and deep cleaning the bathroom because the good lord knows I will not be doing this once the baby comes; going to prenatal yoga so I can ease the unrelenting hip and leg pain and taking a nap because I was awake all night for no good reason at all.
So I don’t say much. I don’t write much. It is Not What’s Necessary right now, and I have pared down that which is Not Necessary until I’ve whittled away my favorite qualities in myself: stripped away, raw and emotions bleeding through like sap.
This means that the baby has taken over my life in ways I’m not entirely comfortable with.Yet, I remind myself, I didn’t decide to have the baby for my own comfort.
I am not the person who gives herself up for her children. Yet that’s exactly what I’ve done.
– – –
This version of myself is also ruthless in ways I’ve never been. I must admit, I like this change. Usual Me treads softly, avoiding people’s bunions and corns. I care for your sore spots and don’t challenge you.
Pregnant Me doesn’t give a fuck. Don’t get me wrong–I don’t want to hurt your feelings. But if you’re being a dumbass/racist/sexist/ignorant prick, I bring my axe with me. New me has liberally used the unfriend/unfollow/block button with more license than ever before. This baby has made me learn to care for myself, and by extension himself, in radical ways. This is the person I have always wanted to be.
It’s all thanks to this wiggly ball of unknown infant in my belly.
– – –
I don’t suppose I’ll ever get the old me back, and right now I’m okay with that. Sometimes I’m not, but as I slowly recover my voice and how to use it, I look ahead without any fear.
This is the key to using my voice. I’ve been searching for it since I started writing, but for some reason it took becoming silent to learn that soon, I’ll know how to roar.
This one of the truest things I have ever read Natalie. It’s a weird thing that happens when you have a baby. You do lose yourself, in a way, because, honestly, how could you not? This creature explodes into your life and one minute you’re not a mother and then you are and figuring out how to be that and do that and raise a baby into someone you’re proud to put out into the world is impossibly complicated. But is also true, at least for me, and I think for you too, that becoming a mother turned me into the most authentic version of myself. I’m both more and less of what I was before, and hyper focused on the things that really matter because time is limited and I want to spend it on the important stuff. Motherhood. It’s tough stuff, and there are a lot of ways to do it. Be patient and be kind to yourself. You’re already doing great.
I can’t think of better person to be a new parent. You are going to raise an amazing kid.
It’s good to learn while you are pregnant when not to give a fuck. That will serve you well in motherhood. And life in general.
Getting rid of that which is Not Necessary is a much needed skill, both for now and the years to come.
You are a Mama Lion! I had noticed that you were quieter in the last few months, but not in a bad way — in a contemplative way. I’m glad that you were storing up the words for essays like this and defending those you love. I hope you are able to let go of the Unnecessary but saving some part of yourself for writing. I miss your voice so much. Love you.
There’s so much to identify with in this piece. Strange times we are living in.