Motherhood Makes Me Miss

by Anna, Contributing Writer

Photo by Eric Yerke

Photo by Eric Yerke

The way my stomach used to look and feel before it turned into pillowy softness and jellowy mush,

How my hair used to cover my whole head in even lengths before it fell out in chunks when my son was three months old

When my eyes looked sparkly in pictures rather than puffy with this new level of exhaustion

My old clothes--the shirts that won’t budge over my now-widened waist and chest, the pants that insist on a smaller hip-size than the one motherhood gave me

‘Free time’: what is that anyway and why didn’t I use it better while I had it?

My pre-baby brain, the one that didn’t leave the laundry sink running on hot all night long and the one that actually remembers names and words for things

My pre-baby self, the one with fewer worries and more assurances

 

But as my baby grows, I miss

 The spit up on my shirts, a reminder of those first simple and soggy months of babyhood

Waking in the night to tend to a crying infant, for sometimes being needed so much is a badge I wear proudly

Constantly holding and smelling the small body of a newborn

The closeness of breastfeeding, the quiet moments together off in our own little world

The long days of soothing and swaying, the stuff mothers across time and space are made of

When my baby’s babbles and laughter are like a soundtrack just for me

When my baby can’t roll over or sit up, for it means they are momentarily safe right where they are

When my baby can roll, for it’s always surprising how far they will go

When my baby can’t eat or drink anything but breastmilk, one less thing to worry about

When my baby sits up without falling over, an early sign of independence


Photo by Eric Yerke

Photo by Eric Yerke

And I also miss...

 Sleeping in chunks of time longer than three hours

Sleeping without a monitor next to the bed, a reminder that I never get a night off

Sleeping in, or just sleep

When dates with my husband just meant putting on something sexy and letting the dog out before we left and didn’t mean trying to find a babysitter and figuring out all of the details

Only having to worry about cleaning up after myself and my husband and dogs

Not having to buckle a child into a carseat because it’s such a pain

When my body was just my own and not someone else’s home for nine months

When my breasts belonged to my husband and weren’t raw from my baby’s needs

 

But even so, even even so I won’t ever regret or forget...

 The tiny body of my newborn son

The sound of his coo

When he first locked eyes with me

A smile of recognition: when he knew I am his mom

His tiny fingers finding mine to curl around

The scuffling sound of my hungry son searching for my nipple

How little newborn diapers actually are

How quickly they grow out of them

A baby’s wide eyes studying the pictures in a book or the sway of the branches outside, all so new

What his tongue did when he first tasted solid food

The time he sat up on his own, or crawled across the room, or pulled to a stand, or took that first step--each movement a separate milestone, worthy of celebrating

When he reaches for me

When he learned how to give me a kiss

 

And I will never regret or forget...

 How my heart has learned to open up in a thousand new ways to the child we’re raising

How my life is so different now than my pre-baby life but this is no longer a loss and it’s now a strange kind of joy

When I realize I have a lot inside of me that knows how to love, understand, and appreciate a child; I  only need to reach out and embrace it.