No one has ever adequately described the first few weeks of motherhood. Maternity clothes are a little too big, but regular clothes are like sausage casings. You want desperately to leave the house, but are not exactly sure how to do it or where you would go.
And you try to get back into the swing of things, and yet, you have absolutely no idea where to start.
I'm not exactly clear on when we're supposed to be able to get it "together." As of late, I've lacked any sense of motivation to get out of milk stained bras and t-shirts, and back into "life" - whatever that is these days. I'm still floating in that weird space where I'm pretty close to being immediately post-partum, but far enough from it that I should be inching back in the saddle again, not necessarily because I have someone or something telling me to get with it, but because there are deadlines looming over me. Exciting deadlines. But deadlines just the same.
The laundry piles are overwhelming, thanks to the mysterious dinner-time baby puke fest that's been visiting us these past few evenings along with my unintentional boycott of nursing bra pads. The kids want nothing to do with anyone else but me, with bed time turning into fights for space on my lap, making me want to scoop them up and cry or run away and hide, depending on how I'm feeling that day.
And in the chaos, I long for complete solitude and silence. And in the quiet, still of the night, I long for the frenetic energy of the new day.
These early weeks and months transition us from baby vessel to feeding machine, with little time or space for the woman and person we were or will be. It is survival, not living, in these days. I grab what is clean and what fits to clothe myself, regardless of whether it matches. I eat what I can find, sometimes whatever my kids leave on their plates.
And I sleep with one ear to the ground or the hall, listening for children and babies who might call for me in the middle of the night, never truly rested upon waking.
I can picture the day when my sole existence does not revolve around hungry mouths, stinky diapers, and needy babies - when all the pieces of "me" are again connected in a way that makes me real and alive, and less like a walking apparition.
But for now. For however many days and weeks it takes, I am mother.