like a ton of bricks it hits me, and i am fallen, crumpled, trampled, folded into myself, the ball of me in fetal position, cradling myself to attempt in vain to comfort. i am suddenly saddened by yet another other's positive pregnancy test. and it makes no sense. i am not there yet. i am days away yet and there is waiting yet to do. why do i feel so suddenly my heart broke in two? i think perhaps it is some happy news that i have not felt in so long now. i cannot remember the last compliment or the last good thing that happened. i cannot recall when last i felt overjoyed by anything, when good news last struck me hard in the chest and lit me all aglow. when is the last time something good took me by surprise? when is the last time anything at all made my day? i should be so lucky, i suppose, to have aleksander here, making me fake laughter at his tickles, or as he calls them "tickies". but of late he calls me by my first name, particularly when he wants something. and of late everything is new and challenging and none of it is interesting. of late everything is worrisome and troubling. needing to complete the transitional errand-running and now, having finally finished, the check engine light comes on, reminding me of our huge credit debt from moving and surviving and how there is no money for a car repair and there is no money for a car payment and there is no money even for rent because the additional debt we requested via the student loan took a week-long detour. it's no wonder i've spent so much time online lately debating the merits of welfare and also working on the understanding of feminism and my place in the world - it's no wonder because everything else is worse to look at. it's no wonder that i need and welcome the distraction. and it's no wonder that i'm up late and everyone else has been asleep for an hour while i wait for a reply to anything i've posted anywhere, to know that my thoughts are at least not to be mistaken for lonely in the world of cyberspace. it is no wonder as well why i am suddenly feeling so incompetent as a mother again after all that pep talking i did for myself in recent weeks. why can i not be so perfect as to not cook with white pasta - it has all those awful sugars in it that cannot be digested properly, you know. why can i not be so perfect as to practice elimination communication instead of merely doing a wimpy cloth diaper? and why, even having used cloth diapers, do i insist on the ones that leave the mark on my poor baby's skin? why do i not instead research and pay for a better cover? why am i so imperfect as to sit here and self-obsess, losing sleep over myself, being drowned by my own narcissism when instead i could be dreaming? i do go to sleep to dream, and perhaps that's the best answer for my dilemma.
finding myself back where i started. as always, feeling out the holes in my being, figuring what should fill them, and being, as ever, confused about the matter. considering these days what i should do with my life, having thought momentarily that motherhood could be enough and realizing now that though i view it to be just about everything, which it is in so many ways, it is also very much not enough because you cannot converse, for instance, with a two-year-old about the depths of your thoughts the way that you can with someone much closer to your age. nor should one really be inclined to impose that sort of discussion on one's children. and the depths of my being includes things that go above and beyond potty training and "peter pan". honestly, my thoughts are usually completely self-absorbed, hence the blog, but these days i don't mind it so much since i have suddenly been called to the awareness that the thinking part of me and the part of me that is about art or about things other than diapering has been crushed of late between diapering and drooling. motherhood can be so oppressive, and i don't really think that it's supposed to be. of course, i could rail incessantly about the institution of motherhood in this country and how unsupported it is, especially when compared to say, sweden or denmark. however, that's been done before, hasn't it? and it's quite privileged nonetheless, isn't it? to complain about how much we're not supported as white, middle-class mothers (though of course, i am not really middle-class at the moment, i am stark-raving poor, though you wouldn't know it to look at all that i have, but that's america, now isn't it?). but of course, that's what the invention of the middle class has afforded us - time to stop and realize how much better we could all have it, time to realize the oppressiveness of the patriarchy, or of the oppressiveness of the government, or the class system, or capitalism. regardless of all that, the point that i was getting to is that i am feeling squished under the weight of my responsibilities, even as i am planning to add exponentially onto my workload with the addition of another child, i am feeling quite oppressed. i really have begun to remember what it was like to have autonomy and have subsequently begun to miss it. ah - autonomy. how lovely it all seems in retrospect, when clearly, i also remember, and can be reminded quite clearly by the blog itself, of how lonely it was, how miserable i was with no direction, nothing to fulfill me and no clue as to what i should be doing instead. and then mothering came along and distracted me from the quest for meaning and fulfillment. of course, now i have something that fulfills me, at least part time. i need to strike out again and find the things that interest me and bring me thoughts, real live, grown-up thoughts and maybe a little creativity thrown in for good measure. and i'm not talking about thoughts about the upcoming election, or the situation in iraq or israel, or whathaveyou, because i have plenty of thoughts about all that and those thoughts just fill me with anger and hatred and are not particularly fulfilling in a deep soul sort of way. i need to find an interest, a career, if you will. beyond blogging. though blogging does offer it's own unique fulfillment. i need to - and please pardon the cliche - find myself. oh self, where have you gone?
to be poignant about what it is that i do and why is the weight upon me at the moment. to say how it is that i see this is spinning in my thoughts, the complexity of my motivations and the never-ending questioning of what they are, where they come from and how i can come to understand them or even to discover them. how i can come to understand myself, to unearth myself from beneath the images spilled into my head from out the books and all other forms of media, to unearth myself from beneath my history and the processes of my journey and the everyday and the confusing and the confounding. to unearth myself from out my mothers and my fathers and my sisters. to unearth myself from out my grandmothers and grandfathers. from out my ethnicity. to unearth myself from beneath each role and each archetype i posses or each that possesses me. to unearth myself from out myself and the ghosts of myself walking around me, the multiple dimensions of each choice made at every moment in an infinity of choice-making, the ghosts of my fifteen year old self who can still think that the kid in the newest version of peter pan is cute, the ghosts of my three year old self, wondering if the heap of old lady in the alley is dead or merely drunk, the ghosts of my twenty-one year old self, crying, fighting with my husband, trying to find truth and meaning and beauty in life, and perhaps even the ghosts of my future selves, all spinning inside my head and trying desperately to make the correct decisions with each moment, each choice before me so that i spend the best amount of time doing the best that was given to me and the most fulfilling thing possible always, constantly, despite the inconveniences it causes and knowing perhaps that really the choices made are the most convenient, the least disruptive and the easiest made, or alternately, no choice at all... but where do i find me? where am i hidden? is it true that i might be more satisfied elsewhere, doing more, doing less? did i make the decisions that have brought me to where i am for the right reasons? am i selling myself short? the question more precisely: did i arrive at motherhood, or did motherhood arrive at me? did i choose to be a stay-at-home-mother because that was something that i truly feel is a calling for me, or did i choose to be a stay-at-home-mother because it is what is best for my children and really, i hate work and would rather not have to go back? more precisely, barring those early years, do i intend on staying home for as long as i do simply because there is a lack of other options? will i find fulfillment? i truly do not like to make a game out of putting the groceries away. i do not sing songs with a smile on my face. i am not thrilled with my two-year-old's behavior most of the time. i can not muster the care bear strength to do all this and do it without complaint like some martyr to motherhood. but - is that okay? is this pressure that i feel to be the perfect mom who bakes and gardens and sings raffi songs and reads stories all day long while serving up organic, whole foods and sewing my own organic cotton diapers - is it reasonable? is it really what i want at all, or is it merely the perfect mom heroine in my head who births perfectly and breastfeeds perfectly and disciplines perfectly and never has a bad word to say about it? is this some fiction that i created, or did it come from somewhere else? how do i cut her off at the knees? i can never hope to aspire to that. i feel nearly done reading discipline books and scouring the electronic fields of mothering for the answer to my problems. i feel like what i do naturally is probably good enough. more importantly, i feel that what i do naturally is my best and that to strive for much more than that is setting myself up for failure. i cannot, i do not think, retrain my brain to do without words like "no" or to not get annoyed or upset. i can only attempt to not yell, as i have been doing the last six years with my husband. and what i am finding aids in this best is to lower the bar dramatically. if i do not feel the pressure to be the perfect supermom all the goddamned time, then i am much more able to get through the day with my two-year-old without wanting to strangle him (much). motherhood really does change your life - it makes you loathe the creature pulling on your leg, whining, and wonder why you ever did this in the first place (though of course, not all the time, just most of it).
nope. not pregnant. can't see why i thought it would be so simple. of course, there were a few factors that stacked the odds against us and i know that it's all for the best and we'll probably just succeed next month. but it's so hard for me to ever have hope. i shirk at the word. i know that if there's a "maybe" in my life, that it almost always means "no". but i do have some amount of control in this situation. i'm feeling really well released from expectation at the moment, for what it's worth. bah!
being a stay-at-home-mom means that i don't get a whole lot of pats on the back for the things i do. no, "you really handled that situation great" or "what a healthy snack choice!". not that people who work get encouragement like that either, but they do get feedback. i remember bosses saying, "let's do this" and i'd say, "how about such and such" and they agree with my idea or say, "better yet, yes" or what have you. that's feedback. that's positive reinforcement. i always knew when my bosses liked me and i always did better work when they did. nowadays, my boss is a two-year-old who doesn't like anything that i do. i don't have "colleagues" at the moment since i just moved to a new city, and i'm not feeling like my family much gives a hoot or can remotely understand what it is i do all day. i come from working women. fierce, independent, single-mother working women. they just don't even get what i'm doing. or maybe they can only see it as something to envy, or they think that somehow it's easy since i don't have a job. i don't know, but i just don't get encouragement from anywhere these days. and no one seems to understand the passion with which i parent, being the hip, attachment parenting-mama that i am. no one gets that when i'm on mothering for instance, i'm doing research for work. i'm working out all my issues all the time so that i don't royally screw up my son. not that that won't happen anyway. i'm forever working on how to be the best person i can be, and right now i'm passionate about motherhood because that is what i am doing. i can't be as laid-back about my actions as my mother can because i haven't resolved myself to only doing what i already know how to do. i'm convinced that somehow i've got to improve upon what i know - get better at mothering. like going back to school for a master's degree or continuing to do weekend workshops to stay abreast of my field, i am obsessed with doing this and doing this right. i mean, i'm not all that obsessed. i frequently remind myself that i do what I know how to do and that when i know better, i do better. problem is, i keep learning all the time.
quite tired from fighting with jon/crying last night. i should not read threads on mothering anymore. there is something wrong with me. i hate birth stories. i hate reading about breastfeeding. of course, i love it, but the birth stories, especially ones that somehow end with everything being right with the world with a perfect babe in arms, make me cry, make me remember my own birth and how it was perfect, but not perfect, how all was not right with the world, but the world was filled with injustice and confusion. if i read about the convenience, simplicities of breastfeeding, i am reminded of being unable to nurse alex. i suppose that i feel very proud of all that i have done - my birth, my pumping for 13 months, and yet at times all i can feel is not confident or proud of how i dealt with all that's happened to me, but beat up by it. how do i shift my thinking? when is it going to stop being about me? is it really only sometimes and that's okay? i'm scared. even as i want so bad to be pregnant, i am terrified. i am so afraid that everything won't be perfect (which of course it won't) and i'm afraid that i'm putting too much into wanting the perfect birth and the perfect child and the perfect nursing relationship to heal what i've lost, to somehow prove that i can do it because somehow i've failed. and the guilt that results in feeling like a failure somehow leads around to feeling guilt for feeling that way - like, it's not about me, stupid, it's alex's life now, he's the one who will have to deal with it; nothing happened to me, it just happened. then all last night i dreamt that alex died and it would hit me suddenly, "he's gone" and i would fold under the weight of it, sobbing in my sleep.
potential. am i pulsing with potential? glowing with potential? blood-pumping, life force potential. potential for changes and for new beginnings and for rebirth and for life again and for myself again swollen-bellied, achy, tired, exhaustion set-in potential. arms wrapped around cradling self and husband and family potential. the potential for everything is but days away from an answer. i am questioning how i feel about everything because i am feeling so much about everything. i am terrified and ecstatic, confident and apprehensive, certain and yet doubtful. i am imagining perhaps the pulsing, the cramping of new beginnings, a uterus unfolding. i am imagining perhaps the tender breastedness. i am imagining perhaps the magnified appetite. i am awaiting dizziness and nausea. i am awaiting uncertainty and the possibility, the potential for anything. and then i am again reminded of the potential for perfection, even as i remind myself that it is such a silly thought, that nothing ever turns out how i imagine it to. and isn't that the point? to be open and ready for anything? to follow the path as it unfolds, in a sense unquestioning, even as there is an open-ended awareness and a sense of preparation for the impossible. am i? is it? could it be? am i even filled up with anxiety about this? not particularly. there is a general sense of calm as well as a general sense of thumb-twiddleyness. a waiting. an anticipation. a waiting waiting waiting. i am waiting for my potential to be fulfilled.