My Dear. My Lovey. My Mila Marguerite. She is everything. The sun, moon, and stars all wrapped up in a tiny bundle of soft, pinkish skin and fuzzy hair. Her tiny mouth can make the most horrific sounds but then squeak so sweetly. Her smiles light up my heart like a lantern.
There is so much to share with you about this journey into motherhood. But I’ve had a serious case of writer’s block since the day I saw those two pink lines on the pregnancy test. Actually, writer’s avoidance would be a more accurate description. To go from miscarriage to healthy baby in the scope of a year has been difficult, to say the least. I’ve been paralyzed by fear and the feeling of déjà vu which has marred many of the milestones we passed along the way. I plan to write about it all someday. Soon I hope, as pregnancy brain and new-parent sleep deprivation have added a thick fog to my memories of the last ten months.
For now, I will attempt to write about these past six weeks. which have been some of the hardest I’ve ever experienced. While most people would add “but the most rewarding” to that last sentence, I’m not quite there yet. I’m still in the tangled wood, mucking through. Except, unlike the days that preceded her birth, I’m not alone. I’ve got this new little force that’s attached to me as I walk. She looks up at me with her big, bush-baby eyes and for some odd reason, she trusts me.
This trust has not been fully earned, however. I often miss the mark. Sometimes I try to project way too much adulthood on this tiny fledgling. Like when she screams, I softly say to her, “Mommy’s here. I hear you. I know that you are sad.” She screams some more because these verbal reassurances are useless to a newborn. My breasts tingle to remind me that her needs are much more rudimentary. I need milk, I am wet, I feel tired, I want comfort. She strips me down.
My daily goals have begun to mirror this simplicity. Eat, go to the bathroom, try to sleep (keyword try). No schedule. Daytime and nighttime blending into each other in a maddening loop. I find myself sitting on the couch for hours at a time, no bra, switching baby from side to side and bouncing her in between. My modern mind requires entertainment, so I turn on television and binge watch five seasons of Sex and the City or check Facebook sixty times, refreshing the page like a drug addict.
It’s in these seemingly endless minutes, I question our purpose on this planet. I think about my pre-baby life with its to-do lists and a nine-to-five goal-driven career and I long for the order and feelings of accomplishment it brought me. But then I look down at my daughter (my daughter…it feels so foreign to say these words) and suddenly it all feels a bit meaningless. The solar system of my life has shifted its orbit to circle this little girl who makes the funniest faces when she poops. I begin to wish I could give my mother a hug right then and there.
As I chat with visitors about how things are going, I find myself referencing my life after her birth with the hinge, “and then she came.” Without tone or context, the phrase can come across resentful. And while there are moments where I do feel that way, mostly it’s like in the creation story, when God said, “Let there be light.” There was nothing wrong with the darkness but when she came, she lit us up with her cries and her wide-eyes and her warm skin. And we were never the same.
I read somewhere that when a baby is born, there is also a death of the woman you once were. Perhaps this is why I shook from head to toe when they told me it was time to push. It wasn’t excitement. I was terrified of meeting her, of the transfer of energy from myself to someone else. It feels morose to reference this death when there is so much life and light that emerges at the same time. In fact, I don’t feel that the woman I was is gone. Maybe it’s better to call it a transfiguration.
© 2015 D. Willson