Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Both...and.

The responses to my last post reminded me (yet again) why I love this community. I appreciate deeply that I can write what I wrote in a community afflicted by infertility and come out receiving....support and affirmation. Also, I enjoy the conversation. I like that you told me your stories about the ways you struggle/d in your role as a mother. You said things that were good for me to read. Things that were good for you to express. And perhaps things you needed to hear yourselves when you were where I was when I wrote that. Thank you, women. You are full of beauty and strength.

The naming of things that float in the air nameless is useful beyond measure. Like a mom friend of mine who was having marital difficulties said to me last week: "we told each other that things suck in our couple, and since then, it's been a lot better. Sometimes, just calling it helps a lot." I think that's what it was for me. I needed to call it.

Since then, as the previous paragraph would lead you to believe, things have felt easier. Naming the thing was key: I'm not sure I know who I am anymore in this new, all-encompassing role. Receiving such amazing support and knowing I'm not alone was also key. And also,  it helped a lot not to be hated for saying that motherhood is hard after years of infertility. Somehow, I couldn't shake off the ungrateful bitch prototype. I know it is survivor's guilt. My friend and fellow Canadian DE mama N gently reminded me that it wasn't doing anyone any good to lug around my survivor's guild. She said I could just drop it. Point well taken, N.

Another thing that helped was Mr. A suggesting that unless otherwise specified, I should consider Sunday my day off. I can hang out with he and Gummy if I want to, but I can also spend time doing other things. We've implemented that plan for a few Sundays now and it has helped a great deal. I feel refreshed and ready to start the week with Gummy on Monday.

Talking about the struggles also helped me to start appreciating the metaphorical icing, the cake, and the amazing espresso that is served with it. Pleasantville is ridiculously perfect for raising children (and conversely, it is an infertile's worst nightmare, as I can attest to). It has great community programs, lots of parks and walking paths for strollers, an array of activities geared to caregivers and their infants. My weeks are organized around several activities, which are sometimes followed by lunch with lovely women and their cute babies. Like the other Augusta and her sweet girl. And many other amazing mamas and their sweet little bundles.

For the large part, I am enjoying this time immensely. It's been great not to have to drive anywhere out of my community, but instead to inhabit it fully. I walk downtown everyday for various reasons. Gummy and I walk up to the University to have lunch with Sattva. I talk to the neighbours, to the mailman, to shopkeepers downtown (except at the good coffee shop, where most baristas are surly and more ill-tempered if I try to talk to them).

What I love best is my time with Gummy girl. I actually have time to delight in her, and there is much to delight in. She is a barrel of monkeys. Yesterday, she figured out that her favourite little bird makes noise when you shake it. So I saw her on her play mat shaking it close to her ear. So sweet! And this morning, during the baby aquafit (where the babies are in little boats while their mamas do silly exercises in the water), she leaned back on her boat, entirely chilled out, and said with her eyes "come on, mother, swim faster." She holds on tight when I carry her in my arms, and has started to give wet, open-mouthed kisses. She is known as the smiley girl in our circle, but I'm glad I'm the one who gets to see her in all her different moods. She is miraculous, my little Gummy.

Full time motherhood is still hard in some moments. And thankfully, it is mostly wonderful. "Both ...and" descriptions are better than "either...or" when talking about humans and their workings. It seems that for me, trying to only honour one side only (i.e., motherhood is amazing) is incomplete. Motherhood is both amazing and difficult, rewarding and thankless, challenging and boring, mundane and miraculous.

4 comments:

  1. Well, yes. Glad to hear you're carving out some time for you. And enjoying your girl when you're not.

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  2. I have lots of thoughts about your previous post, and started writing them up in a comment, but then it became much more than a comment, but not yet a blog post. Maybe this weekend as I've got a lot of airport time I'll finally write up my thoughts!

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  3. "Mundane and miraculous." And therein lies the potential for guilt. I fall into that trap regularly, but we just have to fight it. The days are long, but the years are short.

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  4. Oh, lovely post! I wish I could join you guys for lunch... Did you manage to drop that survior's guilt?

    You and Mr. A are so smart for realizing you need time to be YOU, and plus which, he needs time to be Daddy. It was super hard for me to accept that it was okay to say I wanted to be alone more than I wanted to be with my children. It sounds so awful. And of course, mostly I want to be with my children. But not always. So yes, both..and.

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