I don’t feel like a mama anymore.
I wasn’t expecting this.
I’m numb, I think, to how eviscerated from my identity this makes me.
It’s starting to feel like another lifetime. It was. The more time that passes between that time and the present, the less like me I become. I got pregnant at 19. I gave birth to a baby and also to myself as a mama and adult.
And I was all in, every part of me— I was Mama to the core. God!!! I loved being Isaac’s mama!!!
But now I am without child. I struggled for a good long while with what to say when asked “do you have children”. But now it’s just harder to explain myself so I find that saying “no I do not”— because I don’t— to not be that awful.
Which is relative of course. When the truth is as harrowing as mine is, a truth that never leaves or lessens or is forgotten, there are many things that aren’t as awful. Saying “I don’t have children” isn’t that hard for me because nothing is harder than actually not having my child.
I find this is true for so much, now. Hard things aren’t as terribly hard anymore. I guess this makes sense, or else I’m numb, except that I’m never free from this pain— I’m just used to being in breathless pain. If I had a knife lodged in my heart and was bleeding all over the place and crying out in agony, you would know that I was in pain. But if that knife were still there 3 yrs later and I wasn’t crying out anymore, would you really think I was ok? There’s still a knife stuck in my heart. I’ve learned how to live with this disability— I haven’t cured it.
Not feeling like a mom is par for the course. Day in and day out, my role has drastically changed—my life has completely altered. Regardless of my memories and yearnings, the energy that went into being a mama is gone. The love & devotion— the anxiety and worry— the deep and complete caring/nuturing/giving/surrendering does not exist like that for anyone else. There is a spaciousness that simply cannot coexist with responsibility for another human being. Of all the things I knew and loved and embraced as a mama, in the voidness of childlessness I have discovered room in my being that was robustly occupied and is now flabby and empty and, as aforementioned, spacious– but I’m not sure that it’s available to me or for anyone/thing else. As Mama, all time was spoken for with tasks or thoughts, needs or considerations of Isaac. And now it is not like that— I am constantly aware of this.
That’s all. I have no happy uplifting wrap it up nice and tidy ending today. I’m also not falling apart. I’ve been living with the awareness of this for sometime now. There’s no place to put it. As the holiday season begins and I witness the hustle and bustle begin, I find myself getting very still and quiet– removed. I am not who I was, and that is who I am now. Perhaps someday I will be someone because of who I am and not because of who I’m not anymore. All I know for sure is this heart in me, this heart that loved, that hoped, that mama’d— still beats so strong and true. And that’s enough for today.
“Refuse the old means of measurement.
Rely instead on the thrumming wilderness of self. Listen.” –Donika Kelly