The other parts of me.

I'm sorry because in my mind, you have existed since the day Constantine was conceived.

Dear Olive,
It's a very strange feeling - loving, hating, fearing and longing for someone, the idea of someone, who doesn't exist. To put aside things I'd like to give you and share with you, and to feel a sickness when I think about you really being here. This is selfish. What woman has ever looked forward to labor? I just don't know if I can do it again and I'm sorry. I'm sorry because in my mind, you have existed since the day Constantine was conceived. I've imagined your voice, your eyes, your hair. I've passed by clothes and imagined you wearing them. I have watched Constantine learn to crawl, to say words, try new foods, and imagined you doing the same.
When we talk about it, he always says that I will eventually want another child, so I can't do anything to my body to prevent it. Because it's messing with God's hand. I do want you, Olive. I would love to hold you and watch Constantine give you kisses and be a proud big brother. But I don't know if I will ever be ready to enter into that again.
During labor, I felt like I was going to die. After Constantine was born, I felt overpowering love, but also terrible, sharp, stinging pain. I know it's cowardly, but I don't think that I will ever want a pregnancy more than I fear both the pain of labor and the damage to my body. I feel like I was robbed. I wanted to want you, to be excited about you, to eagerly anticipate you. And now I am afraid to make you exist. I am realizing that I'm not who I thought I'd be. I had a plan and this was not it and now I don't know how to adjust. I imagined Constantine's peaceful birth and my open-arms welcoming of motherhood. But his birth has left me with so many questions and so much fear. The only sure thing is that I love him with my deepest soul.
But I do not always love this. Sometimes, if I'm honest, I just can't stand the thought of those sleepless nights and the utterly unglamorous matted hair, sunken eyes, washing diaper waste off of my arms after yet another leak, wearing only clothes that I can nurse in, and feeling so suddenly immersed in the world of motherhood that I feel like all the world has forgotten that I ever loved anything else. Although no part of me regrets these things, because I have had a son whose smile restores me every time, I'm scared to do it again. I know I would get through the hard parts and that your precious smile would fill my heart with love. But I'm still afraid. And, I guess, I'm selfish, as well. No small part of me looks forward to Constantine's first day of school, when I can start working again. I don't know how to explain this. I love him so much. But I have been missing the other parts of me. If I continue to have children, will I run out of time? Will I disappear?
Even writing this, I know how selfish it sounds. I know that my life is here, now. I'm a mom. And that's a good thing to be. I love being a mom. I've just been mourning the fading other parts of who I am.

Comments

kathi_wright says,

this was honest and gritty and heart-wrenching as well. doubt and fear are normal, i believe. it doesn't make you a bad person or a lesser mother. it proves you human, and as imperfect and vulnerable as all of us. i had one daughter, just the two of us, alone from birth to the time she sprouted wings. she survived me. i survived the rocky teenage years. you are a wise wench. i believe in you!

Believe says,

Olive. Symbol of peace.

Wench says,

My feelings have morphed a lot since writing this. Every bit as complicated, still fearful, still sad, but I think there is less resentment.

ErikaStellar says,

I appreciate your honesty and gumption here. I don't have children, but your story foreshadows the thoughts and feelings I'd experience. Thank you for sharing.

jl333 says,

This is deep. Thanks for sharing.

RaisedByWolves says,

Your thoughts are clear, power filled, insightful, and moving.

Redx3 says,

Motherhood is always its own struggle. You have laid it out so gingerly, unmasked in the light of inner truth. I hope it brings you some peace. Beautifully written.

KharisJo says,

This is so honest and intellegent, W and illustrates well the conflicting priorities as well as the joy that motherhood brings. i remember being so scared of labor the second time around after the first, but when it came it was actually easier. I had no pain relief the first time but asked for some gas the second. Congrats on feature :)

flikchik says,

Thank you for being so honest and sharing your inner most thoughts about something that isn't easily admitted. I've never had the "normal" desire for motherhood that most other women have; I've never wanted children. And yet when asked, I ususally lie and say "I guess it wasn't God's plan for me." It was my plan, but I just don't want to have to defend what most people think is a selfish and abnormal choice. Thank you for letting me feel a bit more normal.

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