PC: @echogrid via Unsplash
“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.” -Rajneesh
On November 15, 2010, at 12:51am, two people were born: a baby named John and a mother named Sarah. This November 15, we are both eight years old, doing a few things well, learning to be more confident in our bodies and our selves, believing that maybe we can do this life thing. I wrote these words here after 18 months of mothering, when I was only a toddler in mom years. I feel more confident in my mothering skin now, but also more humble, slower, more patient with myself and my son. I’m thankful for the years we have grown up together. We make each other better.
I think it was almost yesterday when we went home together, both needing to be carried. It was just a few days ago, it seems, that we both cried and cried in the middle of the night when one of us could not sleep, and so we were both awake.
I am fairly certain we just started this life only yesterday, two fresh, new people in the world with no ability to communicate our feelings, who could only whine and eat and sleep all day. Not knowing how to do anything that we very much needed to do.
That dark morning we both burst onto the scene, one of us a baby, one a mother. And suddenly those things that were mine before I was born became somebody else’s, just like that.
These hands, my own hands for so many years, now belonged to someone else. Hands that flipped buttons on a remote or cupped coffee cups in wee morning hours now flipped bottoms out of soiled diapers and cupped bottles fresh from the warmer.
Shoulders that had it easy all their lives now supported plush, rosy cheeks, attached to a baby who is fresh from his nap or a spill on the ground.
Arms that gave hugs to many or swished carefree by my side now lift and scoop and sway and rock, but only for a precious one or two.
Feet that tilted up horizontal, kicked back on the coffee table for hours or tucked beneath me criss-cross now bring me back and forth, back and forth from one bedroom to another, pacing up and down the hall to comfort, running to divert disaster in the kitchen, now in the bathroom, now in the yard.
Eyes that looked just about wherever they wanted, now notice when things are a bit strange, when blond curlys are making their way across tabletops, when tiny feet are too too close to the edge of something, or when patting is about to becoming hitting which will soon become crying. And these eyes, that once cried only for themselves, now welled up and overflowed at new things, at tiny smiles and sighs, burbles and giggles and chatty sounds. All so precious.
The babies looking at each other, one of us already in love.
And ears that once tuned out the world with the rhythms of song and conversation now hear everything at once, even the sounds of silence, and interpret the bangings, the quiet, and all of the rest with such accuracy these ears may as well be, yes, a second set of eyes. And these ears now strain in the mornings to hear a baby, having a sweet conversation with himself, and the sounds fill the heart right up and over. And there’s nothing to do but just soak it all in.
A planner once scratched full of meetings and face-to-faces emptied out for good the day that time stopped and started over. And then the planner simply said “Maternity leave”, with no scribbled-in appointments in the hours and days in between. A wide-open space for two babies to get to know each other. A baby human and a baby mother, both learning how to cry and breathe and eat, learning to ask for help when we both thought we were self-sufficient just a few days prior.
Yes, we are still new at this. Still both amateurs at being human and mother. So much more to discover, to see, to understand. Our eyes are wide open. We are both curious. We still cry. But now we give more hugs. There is more giggling and fewer tears. And we are learning, learning, learning. But we do it together.