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Wednesday’s Bloom: Textual Portraits of a New Mommy

Munchkin has to see what Mommy is doing at all times.

Mommy holds Munchkin up so that he can watch without toppling the dish holding the water for changing his diaper.

27 weeks | All at once you’re someone new (the free write) | no. 0020

I am going to try something different today. Here is my stream of mothering consciousness. I am tired, like literally dozing in between sentences, and the story for today is tangled in a knot in my head. Things I want to say, things I don’t feel like thinking about, things I don’t know if I should write because I don’t know if I am up for the repercussions of such honesty. Truth telling is so exhausting.

You know who’s not exhausted? The munchkin. He has taken like five fake naps today. And whereas some days we have a great nap-n-work flow between us, our signals are thoroughly crossed today. He is not only awake, but excelling at this body-propelling maneuver that he’s enlisted in the meantime before figuring the mechanics of crawling. Suddenly, in the the second it took to turn from 6 months to 6 months and one day, he’s able to move ANYWHERE! Nothing is out of his reach if he wants to get to it bad enough. I blink my eyes and he’s rolled somewhere, fallen over something, twisted into the oddest position, leaned ever so confidently to the floor, opened his gums over the table’s edge. What happened to my baby? You know, the one content to be swaddled and stationary most of the time. The one who couldn’t talk back to me, yell for me, pitch a fit about getting his nose picked, stick his feet in poop, complicate the diaper change with long, tensed legs, or BITE my nipple! Yes, it happened the very next day after his 6 month birthday. He smiled like it’s a thing we do now, a game. The owwwwuuh! makes him laugh.

It occurs to me I’ve eaten nothing of true substance today. Bad mommy, I think, you know, because of the breastfeeding. I will make it up to him. I will drink like a gallon of spinach and then not feel so bad about this bowl of plain and barbeque chips I’ve just refilled. I am drinking water, though. Lots of it, so that’s good.

Another good thing I’m doing is playing with him more. A couple of times a day I go and do nothing but sit with him as he explores his toys. I even leave my phone somewhere (okay, that was not so intentional, but at least I didn’t stop playing to go and get my phone). I actually enjoy play time. I like watching his skills evolve. I am also dreaming up creative-learning-playing projects for him. I’m observing what he’s drawn to, like water faucets, crumpling textures that make sounds, percussive beats. I think we’ll have fun exploring this world as our laboratory.

The munchkin nurses now. He has such control over the breast. It used to be so difficult to find and then maintain a good latch. And it hurt, especially on the left. I am so thankful I had so much help with breastfeeding in those first weeks after he was born. It is HARD work, and I want to encourage anyone feeling like it’s too hard for them to breastfeed, to continue trying. It gets better. The babies are intelligent. It’s a conversation as my midwife told me. And just like communication gets easier between two people who learn to listen well, mother and baby come into their optimal breastfeeding rhythm the more time they have to practice with SUPPORTIVE, positive-minded community around them. Did I mention I’m interested in studying to be a lactation consultant? I’m really loving breastfeeding and I want to help other families find their joy in it too.

I am making a list of all the things I never knew I’d appreciate until being on this side of the mothering. One of the first things was the microwave. It’s really amazing how it allows me to prepare meals with my free hand, or warms things quickly so that in the thirty minutes I might have to myself I don’t have to spend 25 of them at the stove. My parents think it’s funny I’ve reacquainted myself with the microwave after refusing for so many of my vegan years to use them. Things change when shaping your best life possible around the squeals and screams of an infant.

I’ve also added control-top stockings to that list. After shielding my legs and waistline from the annoying pressure of tightly-fitting pantyhose for the past 15 years, I find myself relieved that there exist this great invention to “hold it all in” while I perform my bridesmaid duties in a few weeks. I surprise myself in admitting this, but while I do enjoy my afterbelly at home in the mirror, I am uncomfortable with how I look in certain clothes that don’t flatter (read: conceal) my postpartum jiggles. I am happy though that my back is feeling better, and I won’t be limping down the aisle. We have to get our faces made up. As someone who never wears makeup I am curious as to who they’ll paint onto my face. I also have to figure out how to pump milk so that I don’t leak. Breastmilk leaves stains.

Munchkin sleeps now. So I will pause this stream for the sake of going to make a real meal for us. Even though my thoughts didn’t tell one cohesive story today, I have been working on other stories this week. Please visit my new storyboards and see what all is brewing in my bloom.

Thank you for reading and understanding that sometimes the heart of the story is just the wandering you do before getting to the point.

~~~

The munchkin, my first born, was born on a Wednesday. Wednesday’s Bloom: Textual Portraits of a New Mommy is an ongoing multi-media documentary project about my process as a mother. Today’s story is a part of Volume 1, 73 consecutive weeks of posts, spanning about the first year and a half of the munchkin’s life. Each episode explores my weekly discoveries, challenges, questions, and hopes as a mother. I also facilitate the New Mommy Writers’ Workshop for all mothers and women active in their mothering work who are excited about cultivating their own writing practices.

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