Thank you, easier.

It’s easier this time, this maternity leave. It’s easier because, well, she’s easier. And yet, it’s so much more than that.⁣

It’s easier because “I know” now the knowledge that first time motherhood denies of you. It’s easier because second children are blessedly unfair in the understandings they afford; understandings that your first (be it you or them) would have never dared relent.⁣

It’s easier because I’m here, but FULLY here. I’ve stopped listening to the bullshit of everything outside of this, of us, and am embracing a motherly instinct and intuition. Pieces of me that I feel I only just met, but have known all along.⁣

(And for reasons I won’t elaborate on, out of not wanting this to be about it, and my hurts, it is remarkably easier because my mother is purposefully no longer in our lives.)⁣

In strange, unexplainable, and starkly tangible ways, it’s easier because of what our world has come to in the grips of this pandemic. The pressure to take the “new baby” out to socialize and to be there for happenings (despite my every inner voice of anxiety screaming in consternation and uncertainty) — it is blissfully absent. Weeks on end we stay at home, only ever leaving for long walks or to pick up O in the afternoons, and it is a peaceful balm to the introversion rooted deeply in my soul. These things didn’t require a pandemic to occur, but they are things I only (and finally) allowed of myself *because* of the pandemic.⁣

It’s easier because of time. Mothering through anxiety for five years has left me with a hardened knowing. This knowing is not here anymore to impress, or to give a damn about what’s being thought of who she is as a mother. This knowing savours honesty, embraces the mess of it all, and respects and believes in the journey EXACTLY as it is.⁣

And, let’s be real, it’s easier because of the meds.⁣

Thank you, easier.⁣

💚⁣ ⁣

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I promise.

Dear me,⁣

I’m sitting here on our phone looking back at pictures you took. It’s January, 2016. You have just recently become a mom for the first time, and are six weeks postpartum.⁣

The majority of the pictures are of the babe your body created. You aren’t in many, and in those that you are, there is a purposeful effort on your behalf for the photo’s focus to be on anything else but you.⁣

But, I look to you anyways. Your face. Your hair. Your eyes. The layers that tell a story. Faint smiles, tangled curls in sloppy buns, dark circles and sleepy squints, a breast milk stained cardigan on it’s sixth day of wear. The story of a woman trying. Trying and tired, trying and unsure, trying and afraid.⁣

Ah, all that what would come in those months ahead. The countless hours of colic, the incredibly little, little sleep, the exasperation at the useless futility of everything you tried, the heart pounding anxiety at anything “gone wrong” that would envelope you in a bundle of trauma. The culmination of it all breaking you. Chasms laid wide, intrusive thoughts hungrily consuming the darkness now bare. An unspoken guilt that consumed you, perpetuating and furthering the cycle. Rinse, repeat, remorse and regret.⁣

It will be okay, I whisper to you. Gently placing my finger on your shoulder on the screen, as if it could be a hug that transcends time and instils in you the hope you didn’t have. You WILL overcome. The colic goes away, eventually. He sleeps, eventually. You get help from doctors, finally. It starts to work. The pieces come together. You find what he needs. You find what you need. Together, you thrive.⁣

You’re even crazy enough in five years to do it all over again, mental health reckonings and all. But, we figure it out that time sooner. ⁣She actually sleeps. She’s happier. She’s easier.⁣

Right now, though.⁣

It feels like you can’t breath.⁣

I know. I hear you.⁣

But, you will.⁣

We will.⁣

I promise.

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Fumbling towards.

I’m trying to make sense of who I am as a mom. Still.

I don’t really know what this making sense looks like, tastes like, or feels like to wear against the skin of my arms, but I keep trying to reach forward into the realm of mom identities and find something to latch onto.

I’m not the crunchy mom. Not the boss mom. Not the Pinterest/crafty mom. Not the helicopter mom. Not the wine mom. Not the perfect mom. Definitely not the cool mom.

There is nothing wrong with any of these moms, I’m just not them.

In this attempting to make sense of my mom identity, I’m doing something I try hard to not do to anyone else. I’m labeling myself, and admittedly masking it as attempt to try to figure out where I fit. I’m taking a square and pushing it into the round hole of mom identities, and expecting to meet my deliverance.

These walls are too thick.

I guess I could be a wannabe minimalist mom. An RIE mom (on my good days). An obviously plus sized mom. A boring/little too honest mom. Kinda the hot mess mom. A “reads too much and really loves sleep and chocolate” mom.

Or, in any case, the sum of those moms.

But what lies in the lingering and claiming/writing/marinating of such mom identity(s)? Is there sense to uncover? Ease to be found? Will I be less of a foggy mess and more (wiggles fingers *magically*) “with purpose”?

Side note: will blogging in this bloody thing become not be such a forgetful, directionless conquest?

Or in claiming something, anything, on this mothering journey, and trying to fit into it — will it only further lead to my own bewildered, dazzling confusion?

Perhaps this making sense… it is more than a label. More than a type. More than a niche.

Perhaps it is simply settling on where I find myself smiling in this mothering journey, and letting that be the sense and the identity that I need.

I don’t know. But I’m fumbling. It is a peaceful, awkward tumble. I’m reaching towards and casting away. Eventually, I’ll land.

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