“Entering Motherhood”

It was completely unexpected. No amount of parenting classes or advice from experienced sage-mothers even came close to scratching the surface. I had embarked on a journey that was taking me to destinations unknown. Some would say that the metamorphosis itself is the destination while I, dear reader, respectfully dissent. Having crossed over for me was just one of the steps I have taken on an endless journey called motherhood.

I was a mother in the making for the requisite, and approximate, nine-month gestation period. During that time I diligently read all those highly recommended baby books. I started to really listen to my mother and all the advice she had to offer. I drank mother-to-be tea. I tapped into my inner goddess. Certainly I was in my zone and by no means should I have been blind-sided by the real-life truth of having actually become a mother, right? Well, I’ll say it again: It was completely unexpected. To attempt to quantify the amount of pure joy and pure love and pure adoration that is ushered into a new mother’s being the very moment she lays eyes on her child would be less than futile. However, it is the confluence of those three and a myriad more oxytocin-producing emotions and states of mind that inspire us new mothers to somewhat convey what its actually like.

To me, holding that little human for the first time stirred my soul in such a way that made me invincible! Her presence in and of itself inspired me to, more than ever, be the very best that I can be. She made me truly fearless. Whereas I thought I was already pretty powerful and fearless in my own right, the self-esteem I sported in the past paled in comparison to what becoming a mother did for me in those first few moments. I was on top of the world. And then postpartum took over.

Yes, folks – postpartum “I-don’t-know-what” set in. I never saw a doctor for the way I was feeling. As you might already ascertain after reading the first couple of paragraphs here, I am the type of individual to attempt to work through ‘issues.’ Now don’t get me wrong, I do believe in therapy and have undergone psychoanalysis a time or two in my life. But something about that postpartum state and all the stigma that has been associated with it affected me in such a way that I unconsciously ‘swept it under the rug.’ NEVER AGAIN! Looking back at those first few months, I was a complete train wreck. It was entirely out of character for me to burst out into spontaneous waterworks, with full-out sobbing action, over simple quasi-issues with even easier solutions – but I did so regularly. My supportive and very understanding husband was with me every step of the way and to his credit did his best to settle me down and reassure me that everything was going to be just fine. But it wasn’t until fate put me together with just about the most awesome mom’s group in town that things started to get better for me.

I can honestly say that becoming a mother has made me a better citizen of the world. It all started when I entered that great mom’s group. Of course there are the play dates to go to, and the occasional “Mom’s Night Out” get-togethers at a local establishment, and all those things that one would expect from a mother’s group. But the greatest benefit for me came from the invaluable insight into personal mothering experiences that the women of the group shared with me. Now you want to talk about therapy? How about it? Joining that mother’s group was the best kind of therapy out there for me! The members of my group are all first time mothers to babies born in 2008. Truly, we are all in the same boat. And in the spirit of getting back to basics, I think I speak for each member of the group when I say this: There is something very fundamental, and almost tribal, about surrounding ourselves with other women as we start to raise our babies. Not to put too fine a point on it – In my humble opinion it is the embodiment of community. Getting back to basics and making meaningful connections with other fellow humans to me is the stuff of which world citizenry is made.

I am still figuring things out. I am still learning so much from my mother. And, I am still appalled when she tries to make me believe that I was so much more well-prepared for motherhood than she was. I look at her in disbelief and wonder to myself if she’s just trying to make me feel better. My husband and I live in a city where no other family members do. Our support system is spread out over two continents. To come and visit me and my husband, our parents have to travel by air five and seven hours, respectively. My mom, on the other hand had my grandmother (who reached mothering rock star status way before) right with her when she was a newbie. But then again, my mom also became a mom in the 70’s in Panama and as such I suspect that there wasn’t a whole lot of literature for her to learn from – much less abounding opportunities to assist her in tapping into her inner goddess. Maybe she appreciates the technology that I have taken advantage of lovingly observing me with eyes that have seen the dawning of motherhood without those resources available today. And then again, maybe she really is trying to make me feel better. In any event, that woman has attained a mothering rock star status herself that I can only hope to reach in my lifetime.

So here I am, almost two years into this journey called motherhood and I’m having a great time. My kid is pretty great and the kind of comedy that she puts out money just cannot buy! It took a while for me to set out on this journey and now that I’m on it I can’t stop asking myself – what took me so long to get here? I really do love, enjoy, and cherish being a mother.


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