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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Motherhood Induced Schizophrenia

In the form of novelist Stephenie Meyer, about two things I am absolutely certain: I desperately don't want to be pregnant anymore. And I'm absolutely terrified to have another baby. I'm starting to find that motherhood is producing these diametrically opposed feelings more and more often. One moment I am blissfully dreaming about how sweet it will be to have a little baby girl, and the next I am panicked about how I will balance Henry's demands to play cars, the baby's demands to be fed, and my demands to shower and sleep. (Note: Bubba's demands are definitely an afterthought).

Motherhood may be unique in its ability to fracture a seemingly normal woman into Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I've definitely experienced ups and downs in other realms of my life - but the ups and downs of marriage or work are nothing compared to the rollercoaster ride of motherhood. I can go from entirely loving motherhood (watching Henry's pure joy in pushing a shopping cart), to completely loathing it (watching in pure terror as Henry knocks down a grocery store display), and back to entirely loving it again (watching Henry's sweet face as he apologizes) - all in the course of one shopping trip. Similar scenarios are played and replayed several times a day.

I suppose one reason for the conflicting feelings that motherhood produces is that motherhood itself has inherent contrasts. I am at once a guardian of a child of God and a janitor responsible for dirty diapers, clothes, and bodies. I am at once the vessel of a new life and lumbering, large, and awkward. I endure both temper tantrums and endless hugs; I experience both drudgery and boundless wonder; I feel the greatest frustration and the deepest love.

I am hoping that my pregnancy has amplified my swinging moods. Henry has definitely noticed my strange behaviour and, seeking a barometer of my moods, will often tentatively ask, "Mommy happy?" He asked this the other day when, in an attempt to take a much needed rest, I foolishly supplied him with a cookie sheet full of flour for him to use to play with his toy diggers. I congratulated myself on my ingenuity as I lay down on the bed, and Henry was busily distracted for nearly half an hour. When I went to check on him in the kitchen, I found that it is certainly not a wise idea to leave a 2 year old alone with a small mountain of flour. Henry noticed my crestfallen face as I observed the disaster in the kitchen and asked, quietly, "Mommy happy?"

My answer to that question now is certainly different then it was at the time, but as I think of my little Henry, his incredibly beautiful face and his boundless curiosity and energy, I'd have to say that yes, Henry, Mommy's happy. A little crazy, but happy.

11 comments:

Ann said...

I love your blog and I like that I'm not the only mommy that feels crazy. Really crazy.

jdm said...

I have to say that I have had those moments when I just need a break and I'll turn on cartoons and just pray that they watch. Usually I wake up to a baby poking his finger in my eyelid. Then I feel really guilty for about a second until I look at the clock and only 10 minutes has passed. Then I am just grateful that I got a break. Anyhow I know exactly how you feel. It's scary! And it takes a lot to take care of two but it is also the most fun I have ever had.

janel said...

Awww, I love this post! Especially that you began with a Stephanie Meyer phrase, because then I don't feel so guilty for recognizing it. The flour mountain story was great. And the contrasts you described are so true, and so contrasting that it's no wonder we get schizophrenia. Thanks for summing it up so perfectly.

Molly said...

Thank you-perfect. I'm not pregnant anymore, but still have these ups and downs, rights and lefts, ins and outs that all go with motherhood. Liam, too, asks me if I'm happy. And it usually follows him doing something that I get upset about. One day I told myself I was just going to laugh over everything and see if that made it a better day. And you call yourself crazy?! (btw, laughing helped, but was followed by crying at some point....again, crazy.)

Stacy and Mike said...

This post left me wanting to cry and laugh at the same time. This post was soooooooo well stated that every mother can relate to the ups and downs in 60 seconds or less. I just had to leave for a few seconds as two of the three were screaming their heads off.
Talk to you soon. You'll be great!!!

Jason and Rachel said...

Just this morning I awoke to:"mommie, the potty is broken, it ran out of batteries! daddy is going to be soooo mad at me!" Motherhood is just as you said, more than you can expect, in all aspects--the goods and the down right uglies. I remember feeling so anxious about my second baby, but just remember that you will NOT be pregnant when taking care of them. You will still be tired and onery at times, but not pregnant and that makes a HUGE difference! Well, unless you guys get ambitious and you do get pregnant! :):) Hee hee. Great entry!

Marci said...

I forget to check on your blog now that it is private! This made me want to cry and laugh as well. I feel you really I do! Just today as I looked at Nathan as he was crying because the dress up shoes had hurt him and thought "seriously, I have four and I am soon to have number 5..." I haven't come to terms with how to deal with that thought so I just let it be. Can't change it so I will adapt and incorporate it.

kim and morgan said...

Amen sista!!!! Love your blog. I can relate to it for sure!!! You can do this woman. How many more weeks/days?

Emily said...

It seemed so scary to go from one kid to two. Especially when my second was going to be a girl... I get you! You'll get into the swing of things. And then you'll have another.....?

chelsea said...

we definitely all experience the ups and downs, but i doubt anyone could illustrate it as well as you. i call luke dr. jekell and mr. hyde all the time. babies have that switching attitude thing down! good luck with your remaining days or weeks and think of how nice it will be to not be pregnant and having to get up and go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, yes you'll still have to get up, but at least you can snuggle a baby this time.

Lizzy Jane said...

Just beautiful, Kim.