Welcome to my Weblog!
Welcome to 1 Mother 2 Another! To read my most recent weblog entries, scroll down. To read entries from one category, click the links at right. To read my journey from the beginning, click here. To find out more about me, click here.
Top 5s
Short on time? Click here to go to my Top 5s Page - links to my top five recommendations in every category from Breastfeeding Sites to Urban Living Solutions.

On Being Vulnerable

Isaiah, my girlfriend Abby’s oldest child, turned three recently.  I was privileged enough to be at his birth and I can’t believe it’s been three years.  He’s definitively left babyhood behind, and is now far less toddler than little boy.  Abby was the first of my girlfriends to have a baby, and I remember being selfishly depressed when she became pregnant; I knew instinctively that the face of our friendship would alter, that motherhood would change her; that there would be a chasm between us of life experiences she had had and I had not.

Fortunately, of course, that selfishness was short-lived and I threw myself into her pregnancy with gusto, reading up on everything and ultimately being a sort of doula for her during the birth.  And our relationship clearly survived, even deepened because of her motherhood.  But I was right in that there were things she could discuss with me that, while I sympathized, I could not empathize.  Becoming a mother opens you up to a whole new world of love and devotion, and with that comes an exponential amount of vulnerability and dependence on others.

While we awaited Isaiah’s arrival three years ago our church went through the season of Advent, of preparing for the Messiah’s arrival.  I know Abby spent a lot of time thinking about what Mary had gone through, her total reliance on others to find her a place to sleep and bear her child.  Abby bought a home, moved in and renovated the kitchen while heavily pregnant.  I remember my Lamaze coach cautioning us that one of the signs of imminent labor is the urge to clean everything in sight – the nesting instinct!  As I got closer to my due date, I completely understood; all I wanted to do was stay home and put tiny little clothes away in tiny little drawers.  I’d stand in the doorway of our office-turned-nursery and think, “Come!” 

You spend so much of your pregnancy wanting the baby to arrive, wanting to have ownership and control of your body again.  And then she’s finally here and you realize she’s still part of your body, always will be, but now you can’t protect her nearly as easily.  The most important part of your body is now outside you and you’ll spend the rest of your life trying to keep her safe.  I spent the first 36 hours of Maddie’s life hooked up to a catheter because of the c-section, so I was pinned to the bed and at the mercy of others when I wanted to hold her.  I had to depend on everyone else to change her, swaddle her correctly (like I knew from right!) and bring her to me for feeding.  Even on a morphine drip, I felt my frustration at not being able to provide everything for her.  You give your heart completely to this stranger that you just met and feel the awesome weight of stewardship; this life has been given to you to protect and nourish.  Great.  How do I do that, again?

I had a girlfriend call me a few months after her child’s birth, sobbing and terrified.  She was convinced that her husband, whose family has no history of heart disease, was about to die of a heart attack.  She knew it was irrational and she couldn’t help it.  When you become a mother, you realize how full, how extraordinary your life is.  And you also realize how much you have to lose. 

I have never hit the full-blown panic attack of my girlfriend, but I do look at Brian and come up against an impenetrable wall when I try to imagine life without him.  It’s not as if I’d never thought about it before Maddie was born, but the ties that bind us are so much stronger, the stakes feel so much higher.  I have so much, and that makes me extremely vulnerable.

My pastor said once that you never truly understand what it means to be self-sacrificing until you are a parent, and for the past six months I’ve begun to understand what he means.  There’s the sacrifices in the obvious way – less sleep, no more movie dates, giving up your eating out twice a week habit – but there’s also the sacrifice of control.  You finally realize you are in a dangerous position, and that you must step out of your comfort zone and relinquish your pretense at being in charge.  By letting go, you open yourself up to the potential for a lot of hurt, but oh, the rewards are infinitely worth it.


Post a Comment

House Rules

Here are the rules for posting comments on 1mother2another.com. Posting a comment that violates these rules will result in the comment’s deletion, and you’ll probably be banned from commenting in the future.

1) Register first. If you would like to post a comment, you must create an account with us. Check out the home page to do so.

2) Constructive comments only. If you cannot maintain a respectful tone in your posting, even in disagreement, your comment will be deleted. We’re all trying to find our way in this thing and are struggling to be the best moms we can. If you disagree with something I say, feel free to politely email me. If you disagree with another reader’s posting, you’re welcome to kindly post in reply. Vitriolic diatribes will be deleted. This site is about encouraging and supporting, not tearing down and chastising.

3) Questions welcomed. If an entry raises a question, you’re welcome to email me directly or post it. Keep in mind that postings will result in public replies by strangers and not just me.

4) Don’t steal. All original writings contained within this website are under copyright protection. If you link to us, please credit us as your source and provide a link back to our website. If you're interested in using an excerpt in published material, please contact us.

5) Share your photos! We'd love to have photos from our registered readers to show on our home page under "Maddie's friends". Email us a jpeg of your little one's best photo to photos@1mother2another.com. Please, no photos from professional photographers which fall under copyright protection.