Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Transparent

It is surprising how much we, as people, take things for granted. There are many things you can probably apply this to, but I'm speaking specifically of the body. Ownership of your body is something you probably almost never think of, right? Your body, with all of it's little functions, malfunctions, troubles and joys are things that we pretty much don't have to consider. They just are, they just do, you are just you and that's the way it is. Of course, until, say, a truck runs over your foot, or you break your arm wrestling, or become very ill. Or get pregnant. Interestingly enough, that last thing is something that's normal, merely a body function, a healthy, natural happening. But it trumps all, because besides the fact that it makes you more aware of your body function (or not), it also causes you to realize that you're not on your own. At all. It's one of the most selfless decisions possible. "I plan to give my body to someone else for about a year so that they can live."
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When I was pregnant with Andrew, he thought it a good sport to kick me in the ribs so often and so hard, that I was still quite sore for over a month after he was born. I never got x-rays to prove it, but I'm fairly certain, from all indications, that my bottom ribs were fractured.

The person inside makes decisions to do things on their own that affect me, yet, there is nothing that I can do about it.

There's something that is kind of exciting in an Alien movie way about watching a baby move through my skin, yet it's dehumanizing, in a sense. While all of this is taking place inside of me, on the outside, I care for two small people who, no matter how gorgeous and wonderful, are still rather young and challenging. Every single need is met by me. Food and nap schedules, constant decisions about playtime activities ("Can we watch another video?"), attempts to be a creative and loving mother, all depend on me, ever moment of the day. And night. The happiness, health, and forming of two boys to be men rest in my hands. (I don't mean to say that Greg doesn't do a hell of a lot whenever he's home, but I'm just talking about being "Mommy", for which there is no substitute. Also, he works long hours, so often we don't see him at all.)
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Who am I? What is my purpose, besides a human manufacturing plant? This baby will appear in three months. Do I have the energy, the drive, the focus for three? I'm pretty certain the job I have chosen as a mother is one of the most challenging options possible to me. I could have been a stay at home wife with a fun, crafty business. I could have had an outside, part-time job and pretended that I was still a mall-rat. I could have crafted and shopped and created and lived and loved and traveled with Greg and by myself. I could have time. We could have more use of our money for our own selfish pursuits (diapers, pull-ups, etc are rather costly). So what was I thinking?

There is no out for me.

Please note that I feel bad for even thinking this way. It's not that I wish to return any of my children, but I would like to rediscover the joy, to be actually excited about them. It would be nice to love my job again.
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When Greg was deployed the first time, I remember suddenly wanting a baby. It became a need. Within a few months of Greg returning, I was pregnant with Andrew, and we were so thrilled. I was realistic about children -- being the oldest of nine tends to instill that in a person -- yet being a mom was something that I could never be truly prepared for. How could anyone? I didn't realize that I had the capacity to be that tired, that angry, that overworked, that emotional, pumped that full of hormones. I didn't realize that it was possible to have that much love, patience, joy, hope, and expectation. But what does it mean? Why do I want it? And once again: who am I?

All of my life, I thought that I knew who I was. But looking back now, I realize that I've often only defined myself by my surroundings. Relationships, life situation, etc. It's time to find me.
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I have never appreciated my mom more. It was impossible for me to appreciate all of the selflessness, the strength, the endurance, and the constant giving of herself until I became a mom as well. I only have three. She has nine.

Please don't take this post as a cry for help, or a need for all kinds of "hey, chin up, it's going to get better" comments. I realize that this time in my life is the most challenging possible. It doesn't get harder than having only small people in the house, with no older ones to help. They will grow up. Things will probably get easier in some ways, while harder in others. In my head I know these things. I'm not asking for your pity, but since we share so much of our lives through this blog, I think that it's important that I share this struggle with you all (if you've actually made it this far through such a long post.)
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I've spend much time meditating this while knitting feverishly on a lace-weight shawl. I feel as though I've knit my frustrations, my anger, my fears, my insecurity and doubt and hope and love and concern all into this shawl. I need to know that I am just Faith, the person, beyond, besides, separate from all of the "stuff". Stitch by stitch, row by row, through creating I am slowly finding myself.
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5 comments:

a. susie said...

Not only did I finish it, I was riveted!

No pity...no platitudes...just, I hear your voice...and the voice is Faith!

Every mom everywhere is saying, "Yeah..."

Mom2Zoey said...

Wow, are you reading my mind? I often wonder what I would be doing if I wasn't a mom. There are days I just want to go out, by myself and do something for myself. Of course that is almost impossible. I just remember the advice I was given that has gotten me through every tough patch so far "This too shall pass." I remember being completely frustrated with nursing or having to rock her to sleep but now I miss those things so much. I just tell myself someday they will be all grown up and not need me anymore and I will miss being needed. Then I will have all the time in the world to reinvent "Alicia."

a. susie said...

What is it with tiny people and boots?! They are just so darn cute! The combination of tshirt, diaper/pull-up/boots/big huge obnoxious grins...!

Gracie said...

hey, chin up, it's going to get better

Sara said...

Bravo for being real and honest. I think that working in a daycare with four infants is tough sometimes, but I send them home every night, and I don't have the responsibilities that a parent has. Sometimes you lose sight of who you are when there is so much going on around you. I've heard from Hebrew scholars that the word holiness can be described as "otherness" or "uniquely other." I hope you uncover your otherness, the you that is unique to you, in a way that overflows onto those around you. Life giving birth to life.