How is it that these tiny beings are capable of generating within us such extremely gratifying, exhausting, conflicting emotions? For roughly 40 weeks we experience realities of soreness, nausea, shortness of breath, and an overload of mucus. In the midst of sweet butterfly kicks we quickly learn just where our ribs are located. We hear the galloping of little heartbeats, which help us to wade through seas of pillows and comforters that never seem to quite make that back pain go away. We hear, “Just wait until you see him or her.” But the reality is that these are just the precluding phrases in an entire chapter of early motherhood.
Daily we find hilarious moments of great joy, immediately followed by fear, pain, and exasperation. It’s hard to know whether exhaustion comes more from the turbulence of newly awakened emotions, or the sheer weight of carrying, raising, and training these tiny versions of ourselves. And somehow, in the passing of long days and short years, we find ourselves wanting to start this crazy journey all over again with another tiny life. Somewhere in the highs and lows we have found a calling while stretching ourselves to the limits. In the process, we find new identity. Although we remain ourselves at the core, we are somehow more having learned of these emotions, these lessons, and these children.
The great complexities of this entire experience are oversimplified in the self-defining phrase that means the most to those who personally relate: I’m a mom.