Or maybe instead of worry I'd hope. Pregnancy is a wonderful period in a woman's life when people actually care if she's exhausted. Once you're a mother, exhaustion is a given, and, what's worse, it's totally incurable. I have a lot of negative emotions regarding my exhaustion. I feel frustrated, and I feel frustrated about feeling frustrated, and then I feel guilty for feeling frustrated, and then I feel depressed, and then I cry, and Aron gets mad when I cry, and then I get mad back. We don't fight: we're sulkers.
We're also members of the exclusive Publix Baby Club, exclusive insofar as it excludes from membership those who don't have babies, which sometimes seems like no one. Procreation is so fucking typical, and it requires no special talents or traits. Everyone's doing it, and everyone's doing it at roughly the same time. I didn't join Facebook until after having Graham (and I joined to show him off), but the somewhat depressing truth that I have discovered from Facebook is that many of my old high school classmates have kids, most within a year of Graham's age. How can something so common feel so uniquely special? Maybe evolutionary instincts are duping me, or maybe, as I'm more inclined to believe, Graham is uniquely wonderful and these other kids are only averagely wonderful, the way every puppy is cute but no puppy is as cute as a Welsh corgi puppy. Anyway, Publix: the primary perk of belonging to the Baby Club is coupons. The secondary perk is free psychological advice. Maybe it says something about my recent emotional state that I found this coupon-booklet counseling occasionally profound:
"Moms of young children are consumed with being caretakers. We sacrifice sleep and our own desires and needs to care for a baby. It's not surprising that we sometimes look in the mirror and wonder who we are. Moms need identity. Here are some fill-in-the-blank statements to jump-start your thinking and help you come up with some answers to the 'Who am I?' question:
- Three adjectives that describe me are...
- My greatest strengths are...
- My most obvious weaknesses are...
- What I want most in the world is...
- If given the gift of a day with no responsibilities, I would...
- If I received an 'outstanding award' in 10 years, it would be for...
- The one thing I can do this week that will help me to get that award is..."
So clearly there is little of value here, and particularly unhelpful is the "outstanding award" part: I just don't understand what it means. I think what I originally regarded as profound was the part about how moms sacrifice their needs and desires. But that's not really profound. It's just true.
People lie to me. It has happened twice. Twice a person has looked at Graham or a picture of him and has remarked that he/she wants kids, "just not yet." And then later, during conversations with others that I was near enough to overhear, these two people have expressed an intense aversion to parenthood: not the nonplussed "not yet" perspective—the vehement "no, never!" one. These people probably had kind reasons for misleading me: they likely didn't want me to know that they find me freakish for choosing parenthood. It is insane to raise a human. That's my assessment after a whole five+ months of human-raising. It's insane. So to have the "no, never!" attitude toward parenthood is sensible, and it doesn't upset me to hear it expressed. But Graham does about one hundred things each day that I think could melt a no-never heart. Like I said, he's the specialest! The best thing to happen to this lady, who kinda-sorta wanted to be a mother but felt terrified of motherhood actually happening to her, was to get pregnant semi-accidentally. It's like I was given a gift that some senseless reluctance risked me missing out on. Thank you, drunken sex.
Three adjectives that describe me: busy, grumpy, contradictory. You're right if you don't want a baby, but you're also wrong. The thing is that, no matter how frustrating and exhausting it is, motherhood is never not worth it, because the effort it exacts is all for the wellness of a beautiful, innocent, happy, perfect creature whom you grew inside of you, whom you labored out of your body, whose life happens with and depends on your life, and that will just always be true.
Graham turns six months tomorrow. It feels, though, like he's been here for years. Here's a Graham poem:
He's a nice kid at night, quiet
Quite the bunny in the hole
the snow on the streets
the secret smooch that stays on your mind
and stays untold.
and stays untold.
He's quite a sight at night
Gray against the black
meager light against its lack
He's the life to me
He breathes inand when he's done with that
he breathes out.