Motherhood

I was unprepared for a lot of things about motherhood, but what’s been absolutely astonishing to me is how sensitive it’s made me to world events and tragedies. It’s not that I didn’t care before, it’s just that now I care twice as much.

On the anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, Facebook was flooded with little reminders. One of the little girls who were killed was named Charlotte and it haunted me all day. I couldn’t stop thinking about that poor mom who loved her Charlotte just as much as I love my Charlotte. I couldn’t stop imagining her pain.

Last night, a close friend of Catch’s family passed away. He was 24. He’d been very sick for a long time, so it wasn’t exactly sudden, but still… a mama lost her “baby” last night. As I lay in bed looking at Charlotte next to me, I cried for her. She will never be able to gaze upon her child again. I used to say that I can’t even imagine that kind of pain, but suddenly I can imagine it, and it’s paralyzing even in my imagination.

New moms are often made to feel like all of the worrying we do is silly. We spend our pregnancies researching the best brand of everything that will come in contact with our child. We spend their first days and weeks and months reading articles on feeding, sleeping, germs, vaccinations… you name it. We obsess. We carry hand sanitizer. Now we even have to worry about random mass shootings.

Can you blame us, though? All of a sudden, our hearts are totally separate from our bodies. That overwhelming vulnerability has triggered a sort of survival mode inside of us. I need to feel like I’m doing what’s best for my baby because her health and well being are intertwined with my own. I cannot be happy unless she is happy. I cannot sleep unless she sleeps. I cannot thrive unless she thrives.

If you were to ask me how motherhood has changed me, I think this is probably the most profound of all of the changes.

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21 thoughts on “Motherhood

  1. So true. I know that every time I read anything bad, sad or scary (let’s face it, the happy, touching ones too) to do with a child, I’m going to be brought to tears. Even commercials. My toddler’s books. I’m a permanent hormonal mess.

    • Yes! I think I have cried at more commercials since C was born than I did in my entire pre-C life combined! And the books! Who knew board books could be so damn beautiful!

      • Totally!!! We have one I bought when getting dd1 comfortable with the idea of dd2 coming, so it’s about little sisters, and I’ve read it twice now since dd2 was born and each time I get to the part where it talks about how the little sister will be so great because she’ll learn everything from the big sister… Ohhh man, I have to take extra breaths to not choke up!

  2. I saw the little blurb in my reader and almost couldn’t read this. I feel so frozen in fear as a mom. Not all the time but sad moments of every day when I hear of tragedy. I used to wonder how people could be so apathetic and now realize they’re probably parents and are not apathetic but think of their own children in these terrible circumstance and freeze.

    • Yes! Sometimes I think I come off as callous or uncaring because I don’t want to hear the details of the latest sad story, but really I just can’t handle it. And I know somewhere someone has no choice but to handle it, but in the moment I just want to hug my baby and be grateful it isn’t me.

  3. I can completely relate. Not that I didn’t care before, things just hit me SO much harder now. I used to be pretty stoic, now I cry at long distance phone commercials.

  4. Our hearts being separate from our bodies. This is perfect. I read a story about a mother who lost her son last night (even though I knew better) and I just lost it. I know I’d never make it through something like that and it scares the hell out of me. Motherhood is definitely the most changing experience.

  5. This is so 100% true for me as well. I find I’m so much more effected by the horrors that happen every day. But I’m also more tolerant of screaming kids and touched by watching kids playing fun games. Motherhood has changed everything that I am.

  6. I totally get this. I used to only get really upset about sad dog stories on the news I guess because that’s all I could relate to. But now, it hurts my heart to hear about sick or dying children and I immediately think, what would I do…how would I go on if that were my children. Part of me wants to put my babies in a bubble and protect them from this awful world the minute they are born.

  7. It’s crazy you mention it, because every story I hear it becomes “that could have been one of my kids”. My heart breaks every time I hear something about a mass shooting, or a school threat, or all these poor refugees spent children with nowhere to go. The breaking of my heart is so profound sometimes that I question every other time my “heart broke” in life and realize that I had no idea! Being a mom has really made me so empathetic and sympathetic to things where before I would have just said, “Oh, poor things” and now now I bawl my eyes out, hug my kids tighter, and love my family a little harder.

  8. Wonderful post. I’m finding my threshold for the suffering of others is getting lower already, too. I think if/ivf/rpl brought greater empathy to the fore and being pregnant is just the next step towards understanding other people’s sadness and hurt. It’s visceral now, whereas before it was mostly intellectual sympathy…

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