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.