Some moments are gifts. When you’re in one they feel like you’re dreaming even though you’re awake. When they happen, I think to myself “Don’t forget this, don’t forget this.” Here’s my story about saving those memories and sometimes, losing them.
I’m a proponent of capturing the moment, and that means I use technology on a daily basis. Like a lot of parents, I rely on my phone to capture the small moments and details that mean so much to me.
It’s my opinion that before new parents leave the hospital each one should get a smartphone. If you are considering an awesome baby shower gift, get mom and dad a cool phone if they don’t have one.
In the weeks after I gave birth, reading on my phone helped keep me awake during those long nights. Of course, I try to snap pictures of every adorable moment!
Sometimes blurry moments.
Not long ago, our one year old daughter started to learn how to count. If you have a toddler in your family or circle of friends, I highly recommend the book Ten Little Ladybugs. Our daughter loves grasping at the tiny red bugs that pop out of the page as we count together.
From then on, our house was prime for spontaneous bouts of counting. We’d say “Good job big girl” and I can only imagine she did it to elicit our happy, smiling reactions.
Last night Julia woke up at around 3am, which thankfully only happens once in a while these days. My husband got up like the champ that he is but she wouldn’t fall asleep. At this point I got up to help. She settled into the nook of my arm and chest and I draped my wrap around us both.
She looked up at me and was silent, which is rare. I looked at her and whispered “I love you” and she smiled like she knew what that meant.
She looked up at me with her big eyes and whispered “Two.” My eyes welled up and I said “mama and baby make two” just before she nodded off.
I’ve had an iPhone for a long time but I’m considering switching to a Nokia Lumia. Any thoughts? I like the amazing picture quality and I’ve just been disappointed with some iPhone features. My phone has never synced correctly to the cloud. When I was forced to update, it messed up and I had to restore to factory settings! I lost months of pictures and I cried. Not even photo restoring services could get them back. Thanks to Instagram, I still have these here.
Here’s to all the fleeting moments where I didn’t have a phone handy. Those are the moments that are only captured by the heart.
Recently, River Island contacted me to see what I thought of their spring lineup. If you’re a longtime reader of my blog, you know I’ve featured them before. I feel inspired by the spring trends for 2014, especially pastels. The sweet hues at River Island remind me of carefree strolling, sunny days, and two-hour lunches. I think something about pastels make you look like a woman in love.
As you become older and busier, you don’t always have time for a romantic afternoon with your other half. But that doesn’t mean I can’t have a beautiful day out with someone I absolutely love:
p.s. If you are looking for plus-size clothing as a size 14-16, River Island can be a great place to shop because their UK18 fits well, especially if there’s a little stretch. In terms of fashion-forward pieces, I think they beat ASOS too, which is saying something! If you are new to the brand, they are worth checking out.
Jacket + Earrings: c/o River Island, Pants: D. Perkins, Shoes: Donald J. Pliner, Bag: Kate Spade
Because I feel moved to share inspiring experiences with you, today I’m writing about the film All is Lost, written and directed by J.C. Chandor and starring Robert Redford. Some films are pure fun, some technical marvels, and others are quiet and devastating. All is Lost falls into the last category. Robert Redford described working on the film, “like stepping into a painting.”
It’s about a man (IMBD credits him as “Our Man” because we never learn his name) whose sailboat is damaged by a floating shipping container. Here begin his efforts to save his boat and himself, encouring a series of unfortunate events and harsh elements. The ending is the most emotional piece of cinema I’ve ever seen. Not many movies cause me to weep openly. Well OK, I fully admit that the right baby commercial can make me tear up, but in this case my crying was effusive. My reaction surprised me. If you have not seen the movie, please STOP reading now and come back later!
This is a film for someone who has lived a little. It will resonate with people who have striven for something, perhaps hopelessly. It will make you wax philosophical. In a way, the movie is like an indie-budget version of Gravity. But I enjoyed All is Lost so much more and Redford’s portrayal as a person adrift is superior. I can’t think of an adjective that describes this film succinctly so let’s just say it is magnificent. Redford is brilliant.
It’s been a few hours since I watched it and it still has me thinking. So many scenes seemed allegorical to me. Inexplicably, I feel inspired to sail. Probably because there is something romantic and a little bit poetic about the act of sailing—to be out in the ocean alone, rising and falling, rising and falling. Aren’t we all.
Rather than post 2014 resolutions, I want to share a strategy for making the most of your year by making the most of your day. I’ve used this successfully!
My best days are those when I wake up a full hour earlier than I’m “supposed” to wake up. Try it, I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to feel more in control of their day. I’m a stay-at-home mom who also works from home, so a good start is directly related to having a successful day. Here’s a little more about my morning ritual:
Know your body. Stretch for 1 minute.
Get fresh faced. Wash my face to feel super awake + bright. Brush teeth & apply lip balm.
Calm over caffeine. I skip coffee and sip a mug of chamomile-rose tea (with milk + honey.)
Feed your mind. Read a couple pages from a magazine or book. So important!
Feed your spirit. I close my eyes and just enjoy the quiet.
Feed your body. I grab something yummy packed w/ nutrients. Ex: Berries, almonds.
List your goals for the day. Start mapping out the day on paper. I love my planner!
Clean inbox = clear mind. Start answering email on my phone.
By the time your hour is spent, you are already in the midst of your day. Old me would just be getting up now! Use the extra time to get even more on top of the day and goals. When my daughter wakes up, we have breakfast together. A bright start helps me have a great day and a great week. Hope you make this one great too!
Thanks to Clearasil and Refinery29 for sponsoring this post. They invited me to share how I #WinTheDay. They sent me their juicy Superfruit Wash, which has made my mornings brighter. Also, all readers can try a Superfruit product for free (w/ mail-in rebate), details here.
I’ve thought about making this post for a long time and this week seemed like the perfect time to do it. The nature of a blog lends itself to always talking about oneself, and that’s awesome. However, blogging is also about community.
Not to make this too sad, but a few years ago a well respected member of the plus size fashion community, model Mia Amber, passed away and one of the first things I thought was that I never even told her how wonderful I thought she was. That was a personal lesson in expressing love for people who are important in my life.
Blogging would be no fun without all those who read this blog and all the blogs I read. I’m sort of an introvert and haven’t met many bloggers in person. However, the fact that I admire each of these women is undeniable. This year, I’m thankful for the plus size & curvy blogging community.
When the boutique My Curves & Me asked me what I thought about their intimates collection (ranging in sizes A-K and 28-46), I have to say I fell in love.
If you admire vintage inspired lace, scalloped edges, and flirty cuts, you are going to love these pieces as much as I do. Here, I curated my own dreamy collection. I hope you like my favorites! I know matching sets are held as the gold standard. But sometimes, a mixed set is more eye-catching. So when it comes to your boudoir wardrobe—keep an open mind.
Some of the best lingerie advice I ever got comes from professional titilizer Dita Von Teese, who said the most important thing to look for in lingerie is fit—you need to look and feel comfortable in what you are wearing. Ultimately, lingerie is more about how YOU feel in it.
What do you think of the looks I put together? Is your style no-fuss or all-frills?
Thank you to My Curves & Me and thanks for supporting the brands that help support this blog! Currently, the shop only delivers to the UK, but I hope you join me in expressing interest for those of us across the pond. x
Parenting is hard. Sometimes we need to vent about it and the internet is a great place to do it. But in some ways, life-after-baby is better. Yes, better! Here are some ways my life has improved since I became a parent.
I laugh more. Parenting is hilarious. Our baby can do things that make us laugh in a “wow this is so adorable” way but also in a “wow this is terrible/stressful but I’m going laugh anyway” way. We just “get” it now in a way you really can’t until you have children. Louis CK has never been more poignant.
I get up early every day. You know that feeling when you wake up and you think: “oh my god what time is it?” And it’s noon. I remember that feeling. These days I wake up between 7-7:30 every day and I can FEEL the length of the day. This is a hard adjustment but you will also surprise yourself with how much you can accomplish in a whole day.
My baby teaches me stuff. Me: “John, the baby is so fussy I can’t handle it.” Husband: “She’s not fussy, she’s teaching you patience. You just aren’t learning.” Although I had to take a moment after hearing my husband’s comment, he was right. I am a more patient person now.
I eat breakfast every morning. In my pre-mom days I had the bad habit of skipping breakfast. But now I have to feed a toddler every morning so I eat too. How did I forget that food = energy? A plate of eggs, bacon, fresh fruit, and buttery toast gives me enough energy to chase a toddler until nap time.
I have the privilege of watching my spouse be a parent. When I met John I never imagined that we would one day be parents together, but I wouldn’t want to be a parent with anyone but him. He was incredible from the day we found out I was pregnant, through pregnancy pillows and late night cheesecake cravings, through labor pains and the birth of our daughter, to the everyday challenges and wonders of raising a child. Seeing the man you love hold your baby for the first time and be so gentle and tender—amazing.
She makes me want to come out of my shell. I’m a bit of an introvert in real life and don’t normally strike up conversations with people I don’t know. But when I’m with our daughter so many people want to chat us up—other moms, the librarian, random old ladies. She is open and friendly and she reminds me to be more open and friendly.
I value time so much more now. When you have a lot of free time, it can be easy to take that time for granted. I hardly ever get time that is all to myself so when I do have some, I savor it. Going out with my husband on date night reminds me of when we were first dating—I get so excited when I’m dressing up for our evening out. We have a rule though: no talking about baby. We always break it!
I joined the secret world of moms. I’m a mom now so I’m part of mom club. I’ve connected with so many wonderful mothers through my blog and other spaces. Things I’ve learned in mom club: don’t be so quick to judge others. Watch out for each other’s kids when you are in public. Offer help if you can give it. Always bring an extra toy/snack. We love being moms but we are people too and can talk about non-mom stuff as well as anyone.
My imagination is back. Are we having a tea party? Dressing up as cowgirl princesses? Making paper mache chickens? I’m exercising that part of my brain that likes to make-believe and every day I see how play leads to learning. I’m trying to be more imaginative in my grown-up life too.
Adventure is out there. Last week we spent a day at the LA Zoo. The other day we touched sharks and played with a baby sea lion (through the glass) at the Long Beach Aquarium. We strolled up a long winding path to a lighthouse overlooking the Pacific. We’ve hiked with a baby in a baby carrier. We are planning a family vacation. Seriously, who are we? Before we were parents we used to stay home most weekends. Wanting our daughter to have experiences out in the world has brought us out into the world again.
Of course, the best part of life-after-baby is our baby herself! Feel free to share to your favorite thing about being a parent in the comments below.
In this post I wanted to share some the favorite corners of my home. From my upholstered coffee table, flowers from our garden, book nooks, and to the ever-present baby gear (love our new high chair!), these are the things that make this home feel like us.
I partnered with LA Furniture Store to bring you a $150 giveaway. LA Furniture offers a wide selection of modern furniture and decor, in addition to transitional pieces that would fit in any home. I have included some of my favorite items (each $150 or less) from their shop. I really want that starburst wall mirror!
Every new mom needs one. I was three months pregnant when my diaper bag search began. Now, I love handbags; give me buttery suede, vachetta leather, metal hardware, secret pockets, and a flirty drop length. With in mind, you can understand why my pregnancy glow was diminished when I found that the diaper bag market is comprised of poofy, pastel, nylon behemoths. I began to wonder: was my diaper bag supposed to replace my purse? Because I did not know how I felt about that. I started to think that by replacing my bag, I was surrendering a part of my identity. While babies might find Winnie the Pooh totally charming, I don’t want a little pants-less bear all over my everyday bag.
“Well, that’s it,” I said to my husband, “there goes my sexy womanhood… I’m a mom now… with a horrible bag. Are these mom jeans now?”
“Aren’t all your jeans mom jeans now?” he asked with a wry smile.
Why was this even a big deal, right? It is just a bag. Right? I held off on the diaper bag decision for a couple months and I would go through a few more stages of soon-to-be-mommy disquietude. I went on three distinct diaper bag adventures and failed each time.
At first I thought that whenever I went out, I would just bring two bags. One for baby and one for me. I mean, I have seen businesswomen carry two bags to work. I tried the double-bag method to baby’s first checkup. A canvas diaper bag was on my shoulder. With my free arm I was carrying the baby inside her car seat through the lobby and toward an elevator. My lilac quilted leather Kate Spade dangled on a skinny chain and as I drew closer to the elevator I had to arch my shoulder more and more so that my bag wouldn’t slip. Not an elegant arrangement. I vowed, never again.
Next, I decided that I would just have to find a really, really nice baby bag. Designer diaper bags are never referred to as “diaper bags” instead, they are called “baby bags.” You can find baby bags by LV, Prada, Burberry, and Gucci. And in the slightly-less-expensive-but-still-expensive genre, you can find baby bags by Kate Spade or Marc by Marc Jacobs. Some of the latter styles were so pretty they could pass for purses. The others seemed to me so extravagant as to be silly—spend over $1000 for something that will some day hold soiled baby onesies? Who am I, Kanye West? When I handled some in real life, I was disappointed by the lack of functionality. Even I knew that the bag had to have substance and style.
What, your baby doesn’t have a Gucci bottle warmer? You terrible mother.
These were the Scylla and Charybdis of diaper bags. On my third attempt I went out with the small and plain canvas diaper bag we received off on our registry. Save for a debit card and my phone, I left the rest of my stuff at home. Inevitably, I longed for the contents of my purse: my lip balm, a tin of mints, a book, hair tie, pen. Ultra-minimalist diaper bag packing was not for me. There had to be a better option out there. Just as in matters of love, the right one will find you when you stop looking. Let me tell you, the perfect baby bag found me.
It’s the Ju-Ju-Be baby bag! I can tell that a mom designed it. Allow me to gush about all its smart features. First, it has a coating on the exterior so it’s simple to wipe clean and no worries if I am ever caught in a summer shower. I am used to covering my purse with my coat when it rains, so this is a big deal for me. This baby bag also has a little opening on one corner that acts as a sort of trapped door to empty out all the little bits and crumbs that end up on the bottom of our bags. And if you have one of those truly intense mommy-baby outings, the whole thing is machine washable.
So… many… pockets.
I’m all about substance over style now—at least in so far as diaper bags are concerned. That means cleanliness and being more solutions-oriented. I have learned you should look for a diaper bag that has a light color lining, because when the lining is dark it makes it hard to find things inside. When my baby is crying and needs a change, bottle, or snack, those extra seconds matter and saves me from a baby that goes from fussy to meltdown-mode. There are no loud Velcro fasteners on this bag (shhh, baby is sleeping); the bag has zippers and magnetic closures.
The diaper bag did not replace my purse, but I have a place in our diaper bag to keep a few of my essentials and I save my nice bags for going out sans baby. Inside the “mommy pocket” there is a place for my wallet, key, glasses, hand sanitizer, pen, book, camera—all in its own place so I never have to dig for my lipstick amongst stray diapers. The Ju-Ju-Be brand has cute add-ons too like a “pacifier pod” that clips onto the bag. Our baby doesn’t use a pacifier but I almost want to get it just so I can stash something in the pod. But what? Contenders: shot glass, ibuprofen, birth control, emergency cash. Now, some of the are a little loud but a few I really love, including a pretty red geometric print and a blue floral print. And so ended my diaper bag odyssey.
What would YOU keep in a paci pod?
There is an adage that “wisdom cannot be told.” Some things you have to learn yourself. Well, you have to become a mom to really understand the nature of the (diaper bag) beast. It took me a few months but one day, I just knew. A diaper bag isn’t about identity, surrender, or mom jeans. It’s about being smart when you go out with a baby! Thus, you would be wise to choose something that can serve your needs best—whatever those may be. Because ultimately what the perfect diaper bag will do is become invisible. I take my daughter to the park, to the library, grocery shopping, pediatrician visits, or to browse the bookstore. We travel together. She is seeing the world for the first time and I get to see her seeing it for the first time. Our bag? It just carries stuff.
This is what my husband looks like these days. I love a man with a baby. Ju-Ju-Be is Hangover approved.
So mamas, what do you think of this bag? Am I the last person to find out about Ju-Ju-Be? Do you love your diaper bag? Are you a single woman who doesn’t even want to think about diaper bags—I totally understand—run away! Let me know.
I feel like an adult when I prepare. After becoming a mom I learned that a successful day is often just good preparation. Keep your bag stocked with all of baby’s and your needs. Buy things like Baby Motrin before baby ever gets a fever. Don’t wait to run out of diapers to replenish. Charge your phone. Plan meals in advance. Always carry cash.
But sometimes the inclination to prepare can get out of hand.
The other night a thought crossed my mind: “Maybe I should buy some bottled water?” This quickly turned into, “We definitely need bottled water for guests or just for convenience,” which turned into “shouldn’t we have emergency supplies like water in the house?” This became “oh my god we live in California and we don’t even have an earthquake kit?!” Next I’m researching non-perishable foods, flashlights, those crinkly foil blankets, and emergency baby supplies. But then I slipped into thinking about a true disaster, like in the movies. We would need cash, things to barter (gold? should I buy gold?), tactical backpacks—not normal backpacks—tactical ones, supplies we can carry, hiking shoes, weatherproof clothing sleeping bags, and maybe a tent. And since I’m now envisioning some post-apocalyptic survival scenario, we might need a weapon. A gun? Two guns. Whoa whoa that seems crazy. Maybe a knife? Yea. A knife. Maybe a gun.
I think the sometimes-beautiful-comedy that is my life would be well suited to Italian cinema of the 1950s, which was the inspiration behind this dress. The dresses from the era are so full and swishy, I added a short tulle skirt underneath my dress for volume. I think eyelet dresses are romantic and love the slightly structured bodice of this one. My evening involved fizzy drinks, sitting under strings of lights, a dramatic exit, and ended with me tip-toeing barefoot into my house with my husband to find a sleeping baby, so I would say the night had plenty of movie moments.
Dress: Ralph Lauren, Sunglasses: asos, Jacket: asos, Shoes: Valentino
—This was one of the first things that crossed my mind when I first learned I was pregnant. For about a minute I contemplated buying plane tickets immediately just so I could be in Paris with my husband before the baby arrived. But the thought of being in Paris without the ability to drink wine was too heartbreaking to think of, so my dream was quickly quashed. I know this is a silly worry - is it? And maybe even a little selfish, which in mommy blog world is pretty much a cardinal sin, “Thou shalt always think of your child first.” Clearly, I was off to a bad start. Would my child one day see me as her own Lucille Bluth?
And what’s so great about that French city anyway? I guess because I’ve only been there in my mind. Maybe I’ve been hooked ever since I read the children’s book Madeline, which is really strange when you think of it. Tell me you got appendicitis at boarding school and I don’t think, “oh how charming!” It must have been those dreamy illustrations. And it’s been figurative illustrations ever since. Oh, to see Paris with my own eyes, not just through Hemingway, James, Dickens, or Baldwin. Or it would be just likethe film Midnight in Paris and time would blur and the sky would actually turn into Van Gogh’s Starry Night.
Of course, there’s no where else to stay but the Plaza Athénée, just like Carrie Bradshaw—because if you’re going to Paris you might as well go all the way to Paris. And lots of wine and laughter and love. That’s how I imagine myself in France. So you see that fiction, reality, and dreaminess have all thoroughly mixed together in my mind, like a 10AM cocktail swirling in mother Bluth’s hand (with toast!). I confided in my mother about my worries about my future non-existent travel. She told me exactly what I needed to hear: “Oh darling, you can still do all those things and I will watch your baby if ever you need a vacation alone with John.” Thanks mom.
So maybe the dream is not dashed, just delayed. For now, here’s a peek into my Parisian style imagination, in which I prance around the City of Light with my friends Isabel Marant, Vanessa Bruno, and Sonia Rykiel.
This post was originally written for another blog but I am reprinting here. The links are out of date but the ideas aren’t. I wrote this when I still pregnant. I still see myself in Paris one day, but Julia is there too.
Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and shake my pre-mommy self into working more. In retrospect, I had so much time back then. Being a work-at-home mom sometimes feels like a comedy of errors:
My day starts at 7AM when the baby wakes but let me fast-forward to around 10AM when I decide to work. Alright, the baby is playing quietly in her swing? Great! Let me get some work done. I get everything ready and I start working: I’m reading over some documents, I glance over at the baby, glance back to the documents.
Look at me, I’m such a modern mom!
But quiet time only lasts 10 minutes. Sigh. I unbuckle baby out of the swing and nurse her for 15 minutes until she falls asleep. I place her gently in her crib and sit down in front of my laptop. Now hmmm, why doesn’t anticipatory repudiation apply to unilateral contracts? Ohh wait I suppose that if the deal is such that… Wahhhh!
I tip toe to the bedroom and peep inside at the edge of the door. The baby catches my eye and flails her arms as if to say “Hurry!” I pick baby up. Really, just a 30 minute nap? She lays her head softly onto my shoulder, head of curls a mess. Yes, I can rock you for a little while until you wake up fully.
Once baby is awake she sits in her Bumbo, a baby-sized seat made of some kind of rubbery foam. There she watches The Chica Show, about a puppet chicken that communicates in squeaks and works in a magical costume shop.
While baby is entertained I shall make myself a salad. Feeling ambitious, I even make my own salad dressing whipping up dijon, honey, and balsamic vinegar. I chop up a small avocado. I slice two dates and crumble some goat cheese. Ah, a beautiful and nutritious meal.
Look at me eating things I bought at the Farmer’s Market, I’m such a natural mom!
Let me just sit down to—wwwahhh!—Well, ok baby, I can hold you on my lap while I eat my salad. I eat quickly. It’s nursing time again. I sit in repose cradling the baby as the sun floods in. I pull out my phone. I check Instagram. I scroll through beautiful lives of my single, childless friends. Look down to pajama pants and bare feet.
How about a book? I read her favorite, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do You See? I make distinct voices for each animal, because I care about showmanship. I pretend to be Maggie Smith when I do the duck voice.
Now baby is calm, but still far from sleep. I switch the television to Pandora and Fiona Apple’s Across the Universe plays. I sway, spin, and loop around the room with baby in my arms. Baby squeals with laughter when I lift her into the air as I sing, “Nothing’s gonna change my worlddd…” She smiles at me with big brown eyes and raises her own baby arms.
After a few songs, I put baby down on her baby mat. Finally, a bit more quiet time. What time is it? ONLY 11:30? Oh god, when is my husband getting home? Focus. Read, write. Solid 30 minutes. Catch baby rubbing eyes. Better pick her up before she gets overtired.
Look at me, I’m such an intuitive mom!
Place sleeping baby on bed. Sneak out to laptop. A glorious hour session of work while baby naps. Text from John: “Be home late today. (encouraging emojis)” Great. Baby wakes up. But! I receive a windfall: my sister visits and agrees to watch the baby. I quickly change into actual clothes and actual shoes. No time to do my hair I hope people think I intended to look messy. I pack my blush pink leather bag and head to a nearby cafe.
I feel incredibly indulgent. I order an iced latte. Dig through my bag for wallet and find a stray baby sock. Pay cash. Sit at a long table facing a big window. Look at me working at a cafe with an iced drink and no baby, I feel like a less glamourous, more sleepy Nicolette Mason. I could order a macaron and totally Instagram it. But I don’t. At the cafe I get three whole hours of work before heading back to find a sleeping baby. She wakes as I enter the room. It’s nice to get a break but I still miss her when I’m away.
Look at me being a mom.
What a long winded way to tell you I wore these pink chinos from ASOS curve that make me happy, random striped top, F21 necklace, ASOS sunglasses, and Cole Haan spectator pumps for my afternoon outside.
I wanted a love story. The sort of aching, vulnerable, reluctant-but-inevitable-submission-into love found in the pages of Jane Eyre or Pride and Prejudice. I thought love would be poetry and English fields, even though I’ve never even been to England nor did I marry Mr. Darcy.
The occasion of the day inspires me to put my feelings to ink. And I have so many of them. I lay awake at night and wonder: how many stories go untold? Why are we islands? I have so many stories to tell. Women and mothers—we have a story to tell.
So I got pregnant. And it was a big f—ing deal. Where’s the Walt Whitman, James Joyce, or Mark Twain of pregnancy?
I know, I know. Brilliant women all over the world become mothers and become so busy being mothers that there is hardly time to talk or write or make art about being mothers. And it makes me think there is a great chasm in our culture because of it. Our stories should be told. Then I realize that they are told. A mother will sing her song to her child.
What story did your mother tell you and in what tone? Was it mellifluous and honeyed, sour, reticent, or dreamy? Love is a story. The absence of love is a story. Children grow up to be the bearers of those stories, for better or worse.
I remember my high school English teacher told us you can only really write about something you know and right now I am so intimately aware of my experience as a mother that I cannot escape writing about it. If prompted, motherly musings just pour out of me.
First: I know I am not alone. I read stories about mothers crying in locked bathrooms or screaming in their cars, just to get through their day. I read even more stories about the quiet desperation of so many mothers. These women are everywhere and nowhere because these things are messy, don’t fit the ideal of motherhood, get labeled post-partum depression or something else that can be quickly dismissed as other. And even if that’s not exactly my story, it is one story and it’s a worthy story too.
Whence does a mother begin? The question reminds of the heap paradox from college. No single grain of sand makes a heap. A couple grains of sand do not equal a heap. But eventually you’re a heap. My mother told me you begin to be a mother during labor. I remember labor pains even though my doctor said I would forget them. Contractions felt like stabbing. Not like a bunch of little knives. Like one big knife pushing against my whole body. I was Sisyphus pushing a sharp rock, every 2 minutes. I disagree with my mother.
For me, motherhood did not begin at labor. It began the moment immediately after I pushed my baby into the world and she was placed on my chest, writhing and perfect, and looked at me for the first time, eyes like blue almonds. I looked back into those eyes and she was the big bang, a cosmic singularity, Plato’s unmoved mover. All that contained in one seven pound, ten-ounce baby girl. My life was destroyed and assembled back together again in an instant.
I remember my life before becoming a mother. It was pretty indulgent. There was a lot of good food, good sex, cynicism, money thrown around, and different states of momentary intoxication. Ah, and what may be the biggest indulgence of all: the freedom to not care. At least not more than about myself – and hey, maybe not even about myself sometimes. But that’s not life anymore. No one really talks about that to pregnant women. It’s not in the What to Expect book.
Since having a baby I feel like I am become halved and my baby is the other half. It’s this feeling that compels me to avoid drinking, drugs, frivolous purchases, and pushes me to obtain things like vitamins and life insurance. In a very real way my life is no longer my own. It’s hers too. And there’s the rub. That’s hard to accept as a woman who enjoys having an independent identity. Alas, the rabbit hole goes much deeper. Sometimes I do miss that part of my life, but going back to my former life would probably be the worst thing that could happen to me. Because there would be a baby-sized hole in that alternate future.
See, my life had meaning pre-baby. But Julia has added purpose to my life unlike anything else. Through her eyes I’m seeing the world for the first time again. She inspires me to become the person I want to be, makes me think I can still change the world. Life is harder and more wonderful than ever.
And she is poetry come alive. Sometimes she is Bukowski, spitting and growling, sometimes she’s as disarming as a Brontë passage, and sometimes she’s a little bit Neruda when I catch her smiling in her sleep and I can tell she’s dreaming. I wanted a love story and quite unexpectedly I find myself in the middle of one.