There’s nothing as simultaneously humbling and empowering as birthing a child. The body is overtaken, wracked with feelings and experiences that its tenant has little control over, displaying the very real limits of joints and skin. Women are seen as the “fairer” sex, daintier and gentler than our counterparts. But there’s a vigor in this life-giving frame, a stature unmet by men. There’s a reason why Nature – with her unkempt soil and havocking winds – is called Mother. Striking cliffs and roaring streams come from deterioration, and new life is no different. A fire has to rage before a sequoia can grow.
Sitting here with my new baby, I’ve heard the term “fourth trimester” tossed around. He’s not ready to be out, this one. He wants to be held. All day, every day. Nothing can replace the touch and smell of mom, but there’s a certain amount of gear that provides welcome moments of relief. Robotics can make for an impressive mimic, rocking, swinging, vibrating, humming. Thank God for that. Because sometimes I desperately need to sit in solitude.
That’s my need as a human coming up against my baby’s human needs. There’s this idea that motherhood, with its history and innate sustainability, should unfold naturally. It doesn’t. The very nature of humanity means that each mother has been flawed by those before her. Our imperfections are never more apparent than when we’re passing them on, and we feel guilty and angry about our shortcomings. I can hardly describe my grief as I’ve mourned the mother that I should have been.
That’s one thing nobody tells you about building the future: it’s reliant on your past. Society today paints these baby days as picturesque. Picturesque? I can hardly take a photograph in my house because there’s too much mess and clutter and disarray. That’s the reality. There’s an overwhelming expectation for these moments to be sweet and touching, bathed in a glow of innocence. But I know now that there’s grace in not being graceful.
I guess that’s the change that happens somewhere between the first child and the third. I’ve matured enough to accept my own humanity.
I’ve been continuing my work with Fisher-Price and having a lot of discussions about parenting with fellow moms and dads who I respect and admire.You can get tips from all of us experienced parents with unique insights over at the FP Insiders site. Message the team on social media by including #FPinsiders in any posts – now’s your chance to ask questions about childhood development, toys, parenting tips and more!
How has parenthood changed you?