Tonight as I returned to my desk to get my own words down, I started reading other mommy blogs. Writers need to read widely. Moms need to know they are not alone. I pushed myself to prioritize getting my daily word count completed, but I fell deep into the dreamy writing of Kristen Hedges. This, I think, helped me as a writer (or perhaps it hindered me there, but that is a story for another day…or post) and as a mom.
I tried to describe to Dawn the conflicted feelings associated with no longer breastfeeding. Bittersweet, though cliché, is a good word choice. Conflicted. Contradictory. It was no longer comfortable. I was touched out. We both knew it was time to move on. But still. Longing. Aching. A sadness that comes with anything so final. Even something you wanted to end.
This, I said to a friend, is how motherhood feels in general to me. The highest highs and hardest lows and being caught in between. The way that some moments I want him to grow up and play a bit more independently and at the same exact time I want him to stay little forever — to put down that book he is “reading” on his own and run to me for a hug.
I could go on and on trying to describe this paradox; however, in reading Kristen’s blog tonight, I found the words. They are not my words. But they are the words that capture the conflict, the contradictory nature of motherhood so beautifully:
A murky, in between place. I wake, and I am the victim of my own life. I ache for the old self, the one who was touched only by a husband, rather than by ten kneading, needing, milk-tacky fingers. The one who freely wrote and worked and created and imagined and inhaled and exhaled without interruption. What a luxurious life she led! I parted from her willingly, I know. And I am happy that I chose this new life, for it is far more beautiful. But because I am human, there are days when I miss the ease, and the quiet, and the space.