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Sunday, June 28, 2009

You are not alone

Becoming a mother was, for me, an identity crisis. While I was pregnant, I had this constant feeling of unease when talking about myself because I was in such uncharted territory.
After Annika was born, the pregnancy hormones kept me lurching down the motherhood path and I began to think I was changed forever.
Mother was the new me.
But that didn't last forever.
I realized this when I recently began craving cigarettes and booze, cravings I thought were long gone.
Last year when Annika was still a tiny newborn I envisioned myself turning into Suzie homemaker. I would be the type of mom who joined PTA, ran bake sales with my famous homemade chocolate chip cookies, carpooled all the neighborhood kids to soccer practice.....
Okay, maybe I've gone too far, the point is I am not that person and I never was.
I have been feeling my old self returning for a month or two now. And these feelings have coincided with the ending of my amenorrhea, due to breastfeeding.
It has also coincided with Annika sleeping better, which is a relief.
But this feeling of my old self caused me no end of distress. I never planned to be a mother. I never wanted children. When I was pregnant and when Annika was born, I thought that I had really changed. I thought that the old me, the one who disliked most children, was gone. Then I came back.
I started to wonder if I was going to turn out to be one of those horrible mothers who drinks in the bathroom and leaves her child with men she barely knows.
Would I be able to merge my former self with my new mommy self?
And then, to my relief, I found out that I am not alone.
I'm actually.....normal!
A few nights ago I went to a happy hour gathering of moms from my Attachment Parenting group.
I walked into the restaurant, which was BYOB, carrying my paper bag of beer, sat down, realized that all but three of us were pregnant. Only one other mom was drinking.
I decided not to be a dork, and acted like it was no big deal that I had brought booze. It turned out not to be.
As I poured my drink, another mom (who is a kind, caring and attentive mother) said to the group, "(My daughter) was screaming when I left, and I DO NOT care!" She laughed uproariously, adding to the giddiness of our table of mommies who all likely felt more relaxed than we had in days, if not weeks.
I realized as I sat drinking beer and laughing with these other moms that just because we are moms does not mean that we can't care more for ourselves than our children -- sometimes.
Just because we are moms doesn't mean we can't be selfish and crude, telling dirty jokes and bad mouthing our partners.
Just because we are moms does not mean we have to change.
I can still be a vulgar, selfish, drunk -- on occasion.
And I'm still a good mom.
What a fucking relief.

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