Selfish or SelflessPosted: April 2, 2012
I am acutely aware of these days of fleeting youth. When Husband and I were still dating, he often referred to me as his bud. As in a bud with the destiny to blossom into a fully ripe flower. But, as a 22, 24, 26 year old, I was not yet in season.
Now I know I am there. It is the springtime of my life. And don’t the warm seasons go by so much quicker than the others? Though they contain the most daylight (which makes sense, because I don’t see sleep being much of a priority for the years ahead), they are the most fleeting because they are the easiest. No donning of multiple layers. One could simply walk into the woods and forage some mushrooms, berries and beans for sustenance.
Ripening womanhood. That is me. I feel it and want to embody it as fully as I can without being inappropriate or coming off as an intrepid feminist. I like the way my breasts look in a sports bra these days I am nursing. I love carrying my son around on my hip, feeling my body support his growing limbs, knowing that it was me that nourished the cells perfectly in order to make him exist. This time last year he was a dream. A nascent dream, but one I could only imagine since my belly was still many months away from swelling. Pregnancy was worth every tear, every heave of morning sickness, each sleepy arousal from (very frequent) slumbers, just to have him in my arms today and every day going forward.
Not long after he was born I started to miss pregnancy. Its like it was over before I got a chance to embrace it. And in all honesty, I hated being pregnant. It was very hard for me, between constant fatigue and intense nausea, I often wished I waited until I was older and wiser. At least 30 years old to handle such a major life stage. But Husband (being nearly 8 years older) had reasons of his own, so we compromised. A baby!!
I’m not one of those mothers who spouts phrases like “I’m so blissfully happy” (even though I can totally see how people can say that). Because it is hard. I mean, not so truly hard until the last three months, but yes, it is hard! Sorry Self of four months ago who thought you lucked out with a remarkably easy baby! Sleep deprivation is nothing. It is the loss of self awareness, the inability to be selfish for even three hours in a row.
I used to be a very selfish person. I donated to charity, I gave granola bars to homeless beggars in traffic, I did crafts for friend’s weddings, I worked overtime without expecting to be paid extra. Now, I have to think twice before donating to WBUR’s spring fundraiser (should this $30/month be going to Baby’s college fund instead?), I can’t give up my hoard of car snacks because I require an excessive amount of calories each day (I have resorted to eating entire boxes of tic tacs when I’m snack bar-less), and I spent most of the time setting up for my dear friend’s bridal shower this past weekend worrying about then playing with my baby. I can’t think about staying a half hour late to help a patron (don’t even mention chatting with a colleague), because I need to relieve the nanny by an expected time.
It is in these rare moments of reflection that I know I am growing closer to my full potential. This is the first time in my life I’ve had true discipline. Sure, I’ve had my disordered moments of seeming self-control and willpower, but until I’ve had to literally ignore every need of my own, I know the past was just a silly way of avoiding the inevitable: growing up. Its the
test rest of my life, motherhood. I should have taken it on years ago though. Because I can tell, the best of me is yet to come.