This whole mom thing is weird. I can’t quite believe that’s what I am. Please, I’m still not over the whole pregnancy thing. Really? Human beings are born out of other human bodies? You would think by now someone would have come up with a way to make babies in a green house. Why do kangaroos get pockets but we don’t?The public aspect of pregnancy was weird. Coworkers I never said hello to would come up, let their hands rest on my belly, and ask personal questions. I hated how this profound, personal change in my life was made so explicitly obvious by the way it took over my body. On the day I went into labor, I saw Steve Buscemi. He was hiding his face, because you know, heâ€™s famous and it must be incredibly distracting to be regularly recognized. But I was like â€œDude, Steve Buscemi, I hide my face to YOU, man! I’m in freaking labor so don’t look at me!â€
As for the mom thing, that’s a whole other dimension beyond my comprehension. Some friends with children say â€œI canâ€™t remember a time when [insert childâ€™s name] wasnâ€™t here. I canâ€™t remember life before them.â€ Uh, I remember my pre-Baby life all too well. For so long, I kept waiting for things to revert to “normal.”
I see when people meet me for the first time how they immediately dismiss me into the â€œMom Bucket.â€ Literally, a light goes out from their eyes. It makes me want to grab them by the cuff of their tattered rock t-shirt and say â€œLook dude, I was cool! I was in a band!â€ (I was never in a band, but you know what I mean.) The other reaction I get is complete and utter acceptance. Now, married with a child, I fit into a recognizable demographic, and as a lifetime member of the misfits, I find this unsettling.
So this baby — he’s like an irrevocable life alteration, huh. Donâ€™t worry. Iâ€™m not returning Baby or changing my mind. Je non regrette nien. The jokes he has inspired alone are worth having him around, as well as his giggles, Michelin Man body, stomach crunches, and dinosaur noises. If Husband and I did not have Baby, I would have carried the bitter taste of disappointment in my mouth till I died. (Sorry to sound so dramatic, but that is how I feel.)
But with any change, even one as welcome as Baby Is Magic, there is a lot to get used to. For example, itâ€™s no longer Husband and Wife, but Husband and Wife and Baby — so our attention, affection, and devotion gets split three ways instead of two (or mostly, just one — Baby gets all). I have to make room in my thoughts, heart, apartment, relationships with other people including Husband, and time for Baby.
I think one of the hard thingsto get used to is I have lost my mind. I really miss having my mind. Because of Dadâ€™s Mind Cancer, I have been cognizant that I am able to navigate complicated, tedious, dry contracts or map out a short story that represents my life p.o.v. and just appreciate it. No longer, dude. Now I am continually leaving things behind, losing track of receipts right in front of me. Sleep deprivation, hormonal sea changes — it all contributes to Mind Cloud. I am in the midst of a fourth revision of a novel and have no idea how Iâ€™m going to get it done when I think like that guy in Memento.
Today, I was thinking how becoming a mom is like reincarnation, or what I think reincarnation might be like. You’re in your new life, but you carry this memory residue of the past. The thing is it’s not very useful to keep holding onto the vestiges of your old life. So here it is — I am going to let it go. I am going to forget the life that was there before Baby, so I can be more fully here in Mind Cloud Land.