To read Part I of this blog, please click here.
By Bindu Adai-Mathew
This was it. This was why they had been created. So contrary to what Playboy magazine may try to convince us, women’s breasts were more than just merely decorative. They actually had a purpose (although I had to admit, I could have given Pamela Anderson some competition). So once I came to the accept the fact that my breasts had a true functional role in life other than just to fill out a blouse or create lustful thoughts in my husband, I had to also accept that for the next one year, my breasts were not my own. I was a cow. A cow in its truest, rawest functional sense. One that could produce disease-fighting, health-promoting, immunity-boosting benefits for my newly born spawn. I could be depressed about it or I could try to see myself empowered. I am a woman. I had created this little life. Or more accurately, God had created life through me. I looked at myself in the mirror, placed my hands squarely on my childbearing hips, stuck out my sore breasts in pride, sucked in my stomach (or as far in as it would go in) and repeated as confidently as I could…
I am woman. Hear me moo.
But nursing, or in my case, trying to nurse was not my only motherhood challenge.
Motherhood, I found, was also the end of life as I knew it. And I think for me that was the hardest part. I enjoyed my life. It wasn’t an exciting life. I wasn’t out at nightclubs or at the beach. I wasn’t at parties or bars. Granted, I probably wasted much of my time doing absolutely nothing useful or productive for mankind. I’ll be the first to admit that I probably spent most of my pre-motherhood time languidly lounging on the couch (in a flowing white gauzy robe nonetheless) while staring mindlessly for hours at the television, watching whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. But it was my time. Mine to decide what I wanted to do and mine to do decide when I wanted to do it. Now “my time” is confined to the four walls of my bathroom, the one place where I can close the doors, have some privacy, have some quality quiet time and find solace. For 10 minutes.
Motherhood was also the end of another favorite pastime of mine. Sleep. Good old fashioned “put your head on the pillow and don’t open your eyes till morning” sleep. I’m talking the real decadent kind of sleep. The sleep ‘til really, really late in the morning. At least until 9:30am! Now my beauty sleep gets constantly interrupted with my daughter waking up for milk periodically through the night. And by periodically, I mean, at the minimum, three to four times.
Oh, wait, you wonder. How old is your daughter? A year and a half. And she’s still waking up for milk in the night? I thought that stopped at 3 months. Yeah, I reply with a tight-lipped grimace. So did I. Apparently I got the one child out of a 100 that can’t seem to stop wanting milk at night.
Tsk, tsk, tsk, you murmur to me with a shaking of you head. You must stop that bad habit right away. You should just let her cry through the night. Yeah, I reply with a tight-lipped grimace. I should. But apparently I married the one husband out of a 100 who values sleep less than letting his sweet baby girl cry for more than 5 seconds at any given time.
Yes, motherhood was definitely the end of many things for me. Some of which (mindless tv…reading…sleeping…sigh) I really miss. And I’m still reading the same book I bought just days before I went into labor. I’m proud to admit that I am making progress. I have now hit chapter three. At this rate, it looks like I’m at a good pace to finish it up just as we drive Ava off to college.
So why do we do it? Or more importantly, why did I do it? After all, I knew, didn’t I? I knew. Or at least I thought I did. The twelve years younger sister aka Little Sis—the very person who was the major reason I was so reluctant to take motherhood on so quickly after marriage. In reality, as much work as I remember my baby sister being, it’s nothing compared to being the actual parent…but today she remains the very reason I know that no matter how much work, how exhausted I feel, how frustrated I feel, how much I have to give up (albeit even unwillingly)…in the end, motherhood is all worth it.
I know that just like that little sibling I so desperately wanted who also came so many years later than I wanted…I now cannot imagine my life without my little sister, just as I now cannot imagine my life without my daughter. Both are blood. Through thick and thin. Through stupid fights and misunderstandings, we have ties that bind us. And although Little Sis is 12 years younger, there are some advantages to that, I’ve come to realize. We have a deal. I changed her diapers, and one day she’ll change mine.
I figure between her and Ava, I’m covered. For life.