I used to check his breathing while he slept. Newborns have this knack for seeming like they’ve stopped breathing but they’re really just taking shallow breaths. It freaked me out every time. Sometimes I would prod him and hold my breath until he moved out of irritation.
I still check on him occasionally. I wake up in the middle of the night and make sure his belly is rising and falling with his breaths.
I developed a fear of driving. I foresaw a collision of twisted metal every time a another vehicle got near my car. All I knew is that I had my heart seated behind me in a rearfacing carseat. It didn’t matter how much my friend, the Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician, reassured me that the carseat was crash-resistant.
One of my mandates of motherhood was “Protect.”
It’s why I paid attention to the way I ate while I was pregnant.
It’s why I educated myself on birth matters.
It’s why I chose not to circumcise.
It’s why I choose to breastfeed.
It’s why I choose to parent the way I do.
It’s probably why most of us choose to parent the way we do.
But then we realize that no matter what we do, we can’t always protect them.
It’s why they say that motherhood is like having your heart walk around outside of your chest.
If you knew how many times I’ve started then deleted this post you might be tempted to slap the back of my head.
What could be so hard about writing about your first year of motherhood?
I don’t know. The words they come in fits and starts. They flow effortlessly when I’m laying in bed at night, nursing on my left side . They trickle into my consciousness when I take a shower while Baby E is asleep or parked in front of a kids show on PBS. Then I sit in front of my keyboard, start to type and —
– there’s crying because he wants me to be on my lap.
– or there’s crying because he wants to get off my lap.
– or there’s mischievous scampering out of my sight and into the kitchen cabinets.
– or his stubborn insistence that climbing the stairs is fun because then he gets to experiment with finding the best way to climb back down.
So I collect him, attempt to corral him, then sit back down to type. The words which were once there now seem foreign, cold, cliche, etc., etc., etc.
Perhaps the reason why I have such trouble is because I’ve already reflected on my first year of motherhood in this blog. Every post is a reflection of my journey through motherhood whether or not the post directly speaks about motherhood. That’s because motherhood is an extension of my personhood.
And I freaking love it.
This motherhood gig.
Even on days like today when it seems like I can’t get a spare moment to myself.
When my most important activities seem to be centered around distracting Baby E from gnawing on power cords.
When it seems like a mommy meltdown is around the corner.
But I’m glad he’s here.
That I’m the one he wants and needs most of the time.
That he deems me worthy of kisses and experimental bites sometimes.
That he’s mine and he’s not mine at the same time.
That’s my first year of motherhood.