The other side

Recently I read a really relevant-to-my-life-right-now post on a blog I follow about a Mom who has reached the "other side" of motherhood.

You know - The Other Side? 

The side where you go to bed with the knowledge that you won't have to wake up for 8 whole hours. The side where you tell your kids to go take a bath and you'll be up to read them a story after you finish your whiskey sour.  The side where you tell them to get their own damn milk, I'm not your maid for crying out loud! 

Right now I am on the opposite of The Other Side.  With a 2 1/2-year-old, 15-month-old and 2-week-old I am so deep in the trenches I can't see daylight.     

At first the thought of being out of the trenches seems glorious and magical, sort of like finding a $20 bill in the back pocket of your jeans.  Especially right now.  Because when you have a newborn everything about your life gets put on hold. 


And while on hold temporarily, it's on hold indefinitely. 

Everything I've struggled to learn over the past 15 months with two children I have to totally start over and re-learn how to do with three.  Our trump tight morning routine.  Getting into and out of the car.  Lunch.   

Every milestone - eating at a restaurant, taking the train at the zoo, going to the park or just playing in the back yard... now that we have a newborn it's back to the hovel we go.  We're starting again from scratch.

And my body... oh sweet lord my body.  Since grade school I've had about 10 - 15 extra pounds hanging around, so it's not so much the weight that's bothersome so much as it's the... well... this shit is jacked up in a serious way.  It just ain't right.  With each pregnancy it's gotten progressively worse and now it's to the point where I don't know if I should call a trainer or a priest.  I've got things bulging here and hanging there... by the time Nick is legally allowed to come within a 50-foot-radius of me again he'll need a road map.  Maybe I'll just tell him to follow the stretch marks that run north and south. 

Including the two miscarriages I had before Ellie, I've been pregnant 34 out of the past 48 months.  And you can pretty much fill in the rest of the blanks with breastfeeding.  Call me selfish, but I'm ready to stop sharing my body parts.  I'm ready for things to stop leaking out of me.  I'm ready to be able to take cold medicine the next time I'm sick.

I'm ready to reclaim my body, my career, my life.  I'm ready to go on a family vacation to the beach and take a girls road trip to the American Doll store in Chicago.  I'm ready to pee without an audience.   

But then there's the other side of being on The Other Side. 

I'm just going to say it - and you're going to call me crazy and send me links to everything I've written over the past five months - I'm going to miss being pregnant.  I waddle into a room and immediately become the girl everyone wants to talk to.  Strangers everywhere want to know everything about me, want to share their own pregnancy/baby/parent stories and before I know it I've made a room full of new friends.

People scramble to get me second helpings of ice cream.  I even got a free case for my new phone because the AT&T sales person said I looked like I was "miserably suffering" as I tried to walk across the store. 

Cool, huh?

And then there's the excitement, the unparallelled awesome anticipation of meeting the person that you created with your husband (or one night stand - I'm not judging) for the first time.  Having their little personalities revealed to you bit by bit, one day at a time, like a flower opening up to the sun.

The first smile, the first word, the first steps, feeling their gentle breath on your neck as you carry them, limp and sleeping up to their beds... well, there are just no words in the English language sacred enough to describe what these things do to your heart. 

And it makes me sad to think about that coming to an end.

I'm 35 now - the sun is starting to set on my child bearing years.  And I'm really, really ready to get out of the holding pattern and let the good times roll.

So am I absolutely, positively sure we're done having kids?  Yes.  No doubt.  Absolutely.    

Am I going to let my maternity clothes hang in my closet for a couple more years just in case?  Yes.  No doubt.  Absolutely.     


michelle said...

So well said, and I SO get it!!! I'm starting to emerge on the other side. Mine are 6, 4, 3 and 1... so I can now tell some of them to get their own damn milk. This is the first Christmas in seven years that I'm not pregnant or breastfeeding. My body is a wreck. Destroyed. But I do love not sharing it anymore. Am I finished having babies? At 36, yes. Absolutely. I totally get your thoughts on it, though. I did FINALLY get rid of six years worth of maternity clothes... but probably only because we moved. I get it. And you.

Rita Templeton said...

AMEN. I have a six year old, a three year old, a two year old, and am pregnant with baby #4 - who, by the way, was the result of me leaving my maternity clothes hanging in the closet after we were "absolutely, positively done." ;) I'm right here in the trenches with you ... and as used and worn-out and perpetually behind as I feel, I couldn't agree more with your assessment of being pregnant and having a little baby. I know this is my last time, and it gives me such a bittersweet feeling.

But I'm going to enjoy it - and then anxiously await "the other side!"

Casey said...

H-I have to admit that its been about 2 months since I read the blog so I was sitting in bed tonight catching up. While laughing so hard I was snorting Rich rolled over and asked if I was propositioning him or ir I needed the heimlich. It truely a supernatural power you have for humor! Hadley is beautiful and I am envious of all of the estrogen in your house (Rich is grateful its your house and not ours!) Thanks for the honesty about feeling like a failure mom! I still have those days and scott is 2! Good for you and Nick for working something out to take the pressure off! If there is any justice in the world you will soon be a best selling author and not have to worry about the loss of equity! Thanks for bringing some laughter into my life tonight! I miss hanging out and as soon as you feel up to dragging the meyer brigade out of the house let me know! Or if there is a night you have free let me know and we can have a big girls night out!

Veronica said...

LOVE IT! I'm 98% sure my husband and I are done having kids with our two (especially after the 10-pound little man who just blew out my nether regions) but now after 3 months I miss being pregnant, too. The pregnancy part was always easy, compared to your stories anyway, it was the recovery that made me not want to do it again. The fact that we can bleed for weeks at a time and NOT DIE is amazing to me. All while "surviving" on two hour cat naps, if you're lucky, 24/7 with a zombie baby* strapped to our mangled breasts. Hang in there and try not to think so far ahead to the big "Other Side" and just think about getting yourself to the "I'm not delirious and can get everyone dressed including myself" other side. They call them baby steps for a reason. OH, and definitely have your husband start planning a weekend get-away or even a night out for the two of you so you can look forward to something fun. Just make sure to pack the prophylactics. ;)

*I started calling my son, and all newborn breastfed babies for that matter, "Zombie Baby" because I'm sure that's where move writers have gotten inspiration for all of those zombie flicks. While awake they only have one need, boobie milk! Until they get it, they flail and thrash while their heads move side to side routing with their mouths open seeking out the "mother load" of milk. If that's not enough, the grunts and groans that come out of their little bodies is enough to make you think they're going to attack you in your sleep.

Veronica said...