Musings - motherhood at year one


Our Chloe turned one last week, and it's been sort of a bittersweet occasion. Sweet because we survived a year; she's blossoming into an incredibly headstrong yet intelligent child and it's been a joy to witness her her daily transition from a baby to a tottering toddler with opinions. She seems to be turning (for better or worse) into a mini version of my judgmental self. And somehow bitter, because of everything else going on in the world today that has left me constantly betrayed and worried about her future.

I never intended to extend this blog into motherhood territory, but I feel that there is now more to be said then ever about the changes I've gone through. I've come full circle into understanding finally what it means to be living consciously; and it doesn't involve curating anything or buying anything. It involves actually learning to be spontaneous and to take things in stride and to just inhale the moment.  I've discovered infinite patience and flexibility that I never knew I had in me even as I've become more and more disillusioned and anxious about the world. I find myself remembering that I never wanted to be a mother for the longest time, and now I cannot fathom a world without my child. I find myself looking respectfully at other parents these days, with an understanding and kindly pity for those without partners, families and resources to navigate them through parenthood.

As a childless working woman, I never understood why anyone would subject themselves to 3am feedings, embarrassing tantrums at grocery stores and paychecks that went to paying for diapers instead of vacations. Now as a working mother, I finally understand that sometimes you choose paths you never intend to take and they end up being some of the most rewarding.

I'm still regretful sometimes especially when things like gestational diabetes and hemorrhoids and the inability to enjoy a night out unencumbered wade into my life. Motherhood is probably a joy for some, but for most, I suspect we do it because we're systematically and culturally programmed to. I already know that one is more than enough for me; I neither have the strength nor the selflessness to afford another. And perhaps, the world doesn't need one more person to drain its resources. There are so many other things that seem so much more selfless that I'd imagined myself doing e.g. running an animal sanctuary, adopting one of the millions of abandoned children, working at a food security non-profit, spending my energy overhauling politics and education and welfare. Being a mother and choosing to bring a child up in a world that is so uncertain and scary, and taxing an already fucked environment certainly seems like the most selfish thing I could have done.

And yet somehow my justification (just or not) is this: I will bring my child up to make a difference. That if I could try my damnedest to raise a kind, courageous and thoughtful child who changes the world in her own way it wouldn't just have been a selfish, biological urge. It's the reason I wake each day and trudge along, trying to live and trying to carve meaning; I finally have some end goal to work towards even as hope remains but a distant glimmer for the fate of the earth.