In the pit of my stomach, something rests. I felt it today- heavy, consuming, constant. It’s not my baby.
It’s more real to me right now than my baby is in most ways.
I’ll try to explain. Yesterday was my baby shower. People I love came from all distances bearing grins and gifts. I received hugs, laughs, well wishes, and far too many presents for my unborn child. Yet with each smiling face, I was met with the terrifying expectation that continues to disrupt my sleep:
I am not going to be Mandy in 28 days. I am going to be Mom.
There are times I can really ‘fit in’ with my identity as a mother. Times where I find my confidence, and hold onto it for dear life. I’ve gone through the motions before- cleaning, cooking, driving kids all over town, making sure bedtimes and dinners were had. The emotional side- the patience, the enduring love, the selflessness- I’ve even got some of that down too after taking care of my brothers and sister for the past 13 or so years. Occasionally motherhood is something that seems plausible, even probable, for me to embrace.
But as the days flicker by and my stomach drops lower, the pains more realistic, and the silences more defined, the harsh reality is that I have no idea what I am doing.
And there are times where I feel completely, inescapably alone. Where barriers between me and ‘normal people’ feel icy and concrete and indestructible and real. And there are days where I feel like I can’t be what I’m supposed to be, like I am being dragged by my hair into a battle I want nothing to do with, but have to fight because I deserve my punishment. I can’t run or hide. There is an awful, crippling doubt that takes real weight and presence in me, and it fights my baby for a place in my heart.
On days like today where I feel hysteria mounting, when I can’t even look into my nursery without shaking into sobs, when I prepare to face the whole day physically and emotionally alone, when I can feel reality like UV light in a Level 3 tanning bed- writing keeps me here. Articulating my pain and admitting my flaws sometimes feels like the only way to keep them from overtaking me. On paper, or on a blog post I guess, things are simple. I can delete my mistakes, I can rewrite a paragraph, I can rearrange my sentences. I can stop or I can go. I can be anyone I want to be. It’s safe.
But the funny part is, if life really worked that way, I wouldn’t need to write at all.