One of my college friends just had her first baby at age 40. We are the kind of friends who aren't close/close but we love and respect one another and have laughed a lot together over the years. I don't know her journey to motherhood; I tell myself I can guess at some of the details. And I'm pretty sure she's someone who has wanted to have children for a long time, as opposed to being someone who wasn't sure or was pretty sure she didn't until she finally did.
Her baby girl was born a couple weeks ago and I've been thinking of her so much--been thinking of her so much for the past several months as her pregnancy progressed across the country from me. I rarely reached out. It's hard to find the words to say "I feel my own pregnancy when I think of you. I feel how hard it was, how surprising, how long and short, how uncomfortable, how special, how unlike anything else."
Hard to find the words to say "Oh my god my life is so changed since these babies came. Blown to bits and reconstructed. Devastating to who I was. A more expansive understanding of who I am and who I want to be."
Words cease to matter because you know that she can't hear them until she's crossed over. And yet she wants to hear them, sometimes, maybe, depending on the day and who they're coming from. Or maybe never.
Now this little, tiny baby girl is outside her body, a member of the population on this Earth, a future woman. And I think about my friend, wondering how she's doing. Finding it hard to really ask the question to show that I really want to know.
It occurred to me tonight that one of the reasons it's so lonely to be a new mother is that many other mothers might be avoiding saying the wrong thing, not wanting to jinx you or scare you or take you to a place you haven't gotten to or might not ever get to. I don't want to say "Wow I'm really thinking about you. That time was so exhausting and confusing and ego-smashing and hormonal." if she's nowhere near there. Yuck. Get that sad, scary shit away from me!
But what if that is where she is and she doesn't hear from anyone else that we were there too? That I felt like a failure so often. That my husband had to tell me to put Lily down and go for a walk outside because the rage in me directed at my screaming baby girl who only wanted me but wouldn't stop crying was going to damage.
It's so confusing to be given these tiny people to take home when none of us know what we're doing. So confusing to realize our own parents had no idea what they were doing.