When your other mother becomes someone else's mother
“Maybe part of the bittersweet feeling of watching new moms cross over is me wondering whether those feelings were wrong, and I’m a little afraid of those first-time moms might get it right, technically and emotionally, off the bat.”
Oh. This is it exactly.
Wow Claire, this was such a beautiful piece. Thank you for putting into words what I have been feeling for about three years now. My oldest turns 17 in three weeks. She has one more year until she can be legally released into the "wild", and part of me is an emotional wreck. This kid who once told me that she was planning to buy the house next door so we could be together forever, is now learning how to drive, taking the train by herself, working, and touring far away colleges. I am happy and proud for her and sad for myself. Bittersweet is the perfect adjective for parenthood.
‘How the setting sun could bring a sense of dread, how we began to understand some really dark shit we couldn’t fathom understanding before, how we wondered if we would ever feel free or happy again.’
I’m 6 weeks postpartum, and this sums it up. People don’t talk enough about how those early days really test you. Physically and emotionally, I was a mess. The only reason I’m not now is because I started on medication for post partum depression at 4 weeks.
Before the birth good friends of mine told me to get ice packs and pads, but didn’t mention any of the serious stuff. It makes you think you’re the only one. Thanks for putting this out there. 💗
well, I didn't have crying on Tuesday morning on my BINGO card, but here we are.
so beautifully written.
This was a sweet & beautiful piece! I sometimes wish I could Time Traveler's Wife my way back to the newborn scene for just a few hours and then hop back out. It was very hard to appreciate it at the time. But I would stay for days in the late toddler years.
I also appreciate that you end-noted it with a joke about pinworms, lol. We lived through that last year and it is grosser than you can imagine--luckily my husband took the lead on everything so I only saw a few worms. And everyone in the house gets to drink the medication, which is of course banana-flavored (why?) and terrible.
I just want you to know that the first time my husband and I met we bonded over both having had pinworms. And butt tape. So far none of our children have had it but when they do he’s butt tape guy. I did the lice triage 😳
Well, this made me tear up! My sons' best teacher had a teeny tiny 1.6 lb baby almost 16 weeks early. He is still in the NICU, but is finally gaining weight and will hopefully get to go home soon. It has been infuriating to watch her go through all of this while also having to go back to work immediately so she could save her leave for when her baby can go home. Can you imagine teaching 1st graders while your tiny little baby is in a box across town? Freaking America.
I think back to how unmoored I was by my newborns and how much I learned about myself - not all of it good - and I just watch new moms with absolute hero worship. And the only advice I ever give is "go outside every day" because that's the only advice my witch mom friend would give me and it was the best.
More tears! Claire!
My baby is 6 1/2 and I was really moved by this. Beautiful writing, Claire.
Just piping in here to say I love this, had me nearly crying in the coffee shop because my husbands sister just had her first and it was so sweet to see her on the other side, after all that waiting.
Nothing like a morning cry into my coffee! This was so well written, thank you.
I teared up at paragraph three. This is so good. Also, so glad for you all that you had Mrs. T.
This is excellent. Thank you!
This was beautiful
This lovely essay reminded me of the sadness I felt when my beloved sixth grade teacher went on maternity leave, something I hadn't thought of in years. Thanks for making space for these feelings <3 I also love how you describe that intangible bittersweetness of the first bit of parenthood. So complicated, so lovely, so hard...