Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Magnitude of Multiples...And Identity Crisis

Last night was twice as bad since she woke up twice instead of once, but bedtime was good again...Asleep by 7:45. No screaming.  I guess you can't have it all.....If I have to choose though, I think I'd rather take the hour of screaming than the waking up at night, especially if she's going to wake up more than once.  No, no, I guess I'll take the waking up because at least then I get a little me time at the end of the day, and really, I don't usually stay up too long in the middle of the night. No, wait--interrupted sleep stinks, especially if you get woken up out of a deep sleep, so I'd rather have the screaming.  Sigh. Six in one hand, half a dozen scattered somewhere else...I guess I'll take what I can get and complain about the rest.

I'm loving this book Expectations: 30 Women Talk About Becoming a Mother that I'm reading before bed. All the essays are kinda short so   So far there are two essays that are me all over and totally put words to some of my crazy thoughts much more eloquently than I've been able to do here (I'm saving excerpts from those for later). I've also flagged the heck out of a number of other passages I like and plan on boring you all with said passages, but in small doses, I promise.  I'm starting with the one below because it fits the occasion.  It's by a mother (Debbie Isaacman) of triplets who spent her whole pregnancy worrying about the health of her multiple births and just hoping that all would be alive and healthy at birth, which they were.  I can't imagine life with multiples. When I pass people with twins, and there are a ton in Hampden right now, I want to bow down in front of their double stroller and ask them to bless me with their breastmilk.  Isaacman puts my constant complaining in perspective and confirms my biggest fear: I am a total weenie.

"So I don't get frazzled when they all need their diapers changed at once, or when they've all decided to throw their soup bowls down at the same time, or when one of them has discovered the cat food and has dumped it all over the kitchen floor, because I feel so grateful to have three healthy children. I don't care if they all cry at once, either. I feel lucky because I have three children who can cry at once.

"I hear about women who only have one child but who are frazzled, and sometimes I want to say, "You know, it's not that bad.  Be thankful you have the day to get through." You have to feel fortunate if you have healthy children because there are so many people who have children with disabilities and for who getting through their day is a major accomplishment. A multiple isn't as challenging as that."

That's a little more heartfelt than my usual dose of sarcasm, and I'm getting all itchy and uncomfortable as a result so don't expect more where that came from.  And just to wash it all down and end on a more me-ish note, here's a passage from an essay by Vivien Dai that I relate to a little more (well, I can relate to the second paragraph, less so the first but it seems a necessary intro to the second):

"One of the most vivid memories I have is about a week after he was born. Jay was finally leaving the house for work after staying home and taking care of us all week.  We'd had this wonderful water birth and the whole house felt just like a big, warm womb.  I hadn't even stepped out of the house all week.  So there I was, standing at the door with Brandon in my arms, waving goodbye to Jay.  The screen door was between me and the outside world, and all of a sudden I had a nervous breakdown. I felt like I was waving goodbye to my old self.  I mean, I was a dancer, an artist. I'm supposed to be out there in the world, and all of a sudden I'm here with this little being who'd totally dependent on me, and I didn't know who I was or what I was supposed to do next.

"I guess I never imagined the logistics of motherhood. I didn't think about identity crisis. I didn't think about the crying or the sleepless nights. I thought, 'I'm going to be a great mom. I'm going to love my kid and I'm going to be able to handle it all. And if I can't, I'm going to push myself to the limit to be able to.'"

That's definitely how I went into it. I've pushed myself to the limit to accomplish whatever else I wanted to accomplish and didn't see how motherhood would be any different or how the limits here would feel so unattainable, like trying to bike ride to Mars....

1 comment:

  1. Now you know how I learned patience through motherhood. You can't do anything about most of the stuff so you might as well roll with it.


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