It all started when I was about 7 months pregnant. Mothers I knew, full of warnings and words of wisdom, began texting and calling. Most of the warnings related to the horrors of childbirth (like this relative who told me she got 30 stitches! Another warned me of unexpected bowel movements). As if that wasn’t frightening enough, other mothers forewarned me about the constant exhaustion that accompanies parenthood. “You’ll never sleep the same,” they said. “You’ll be lucky if you sleep much in the first few months.” My sleep-loving self shuddered.
What I wished those mothers had told me is this:
Your life is a book you must read slowly. A page at a time.
Enjoy word plays, the sound of time moving as you turn each page. Smell the woody-crispness — that scent only new books have — change, and do not be afraid. Mouth the words of your own story unfolding.
What I wished those mothers had said is this:
Enjoy the gift of moments in a day. The joy of seeing your child’s lips curve in her first smile. The strength in the lift of her head. Her eyes once blank lighting up in fascination as she stares at the world unfolding around her: the wall ornaments, black and white frames making a square-shape she cannot yet name, the purpled pattern on bedsheets like fireworks!
Her skin soft like morning mist, her skin the scent of mountain tops.
What I wish those mothers had told me is this:
How motherhood can awaken the possibilities in my mornings. How motherhood will make my life fuller than the sun at midday. How my night though sleepless can be more satisfying than any sleep.
Mothers, let’s not be afraid.
P.S. This post, like all the others posts I have written this year, was written during Niya’s naptime. It was originally entitled, “The Things I Can Only Do During Naptime” but became a different thing entirely. I am really enjoying how naptime provides a structure for me to write — how motherhood is encouraging my creativity instead of impeding it.