Secret thoughts of a new mother

Preface: Yesterday we had our annual winter board meeting for the Nebraska Writing Project. We meet in the morning, have lunch, and then venture out on a writing marathon for the afternoon. For four years I've attended this writing marathon and have cherished this time in Lincoln writing with some of Nebraska's finest teachers. Yesterday, however, feeling overwhelmed, I skipped out after lunch and went on my own writing marathon.  Here's what came from it: 

For seven years I dreamed of being a mom. And now, here I am: six months a mother and today I find myself escaping the role. I could be at home--I could've been home two hours ago, but I'm still in Lincoln, hiding out at a little coffee shop that is literally underground. I want to stay and wander the streets of Lincoln--spend money on frivolous things like Billy Collins poetry books, handmade earrings in the shapes of birds, and notebooks touting Whitman quotes on the front cover. I want to crawl into a tavern, drink a black and tan and eat all carbs and no vegetables. I want to strike up conversations with adults, conversations that don't include mention of bodily functions or superheroes.

I don't know how to deal with this sudden 24/7 responsibility that has given me a new identity. No longer am I Danielle--the teacher, writer, and aspiring intellectual. Now I am Danielle--J's mom--laundry folder, kid-wrangler. In some social situations I don't even know who to flock to anymore. Normally I gravitate towards readers, writers, thinkers, and society-shakers, but I feel like all I have to talk about is my new role as a mother since that's really all I've had time for lately. It seems natural then to lean towards mothers--especially new mothers. However, I don't feel like a "real" mom. I don't have labor and delivery stories, diaper-changing memories, or breast-feeding tips. So I'm an outcast--a haggard outcast who had read nothing more substantial than the newspaper or a fly-by article in The Atlantic once a month.

Deep down I think I am still a writer and aspiring intellectual, but this identity is buried beneath layers of insecurities from my new identity as a mom. Perhaps this is why I'm stuck in this underground coffee shop an hour away from my home spilling my heart on paper. I have a feeling there's a way to merge the two--who I once was with who I now am, but I haven't figured it out yet. Right now I just feel guilty for this confusion. Before we were blessed with little man, I hated hearing moms lament about their kids or their loss of freedom, but now that I'm here, I get it. Of course I appreciate my son, and I wouldn't change my life for anything. It's just difficult to transition rather suddenly into this new role. I didn't have a baby stewing inside of me for nine months forming that natural attachment; my baby came as a four year-old--broken and reluctant to accept me as his mom. I know this confusion is natural, but I can't help feeling like Douglas county's worst mother for feeling a need to escape.

I hope someday I'll feel like my same old self again. But...maybe feeling like my old self isn't the point at all. Maybe the point of all of this is to figure out who I'm intended to be....


Kristin said...

You will always be Danielle, even if you don't get to be your normal "Danielle" all the time now that you are also Danielle "Mom". :)

Elissa said...

You are wonderful. And I can relate :) Love you!

The Roberts said...

Love your last sentence. So fitting for us all that lose ourselves in parenting.