I got pregnant 9 years ago, December 2000. She turned 8 on September 25th. I cannot believe my kid is that old already and I cannot believe that she was conceived almost a decade ago. I remember the day, I lied to my mom and said I was at my dad's an extra day. I lied to my dad and said I was going back to my mom's that day. I actually stayed at my ex-boyfriend's at the time and while on the pill, we had a nice holiday night together and had sex. Little did I know, I got pregnant that night and my life was completely changed forever. I was in high school, I was just a few months into being 18 and was in my first hardcore relationship, my first love.
Time has past since that day, obviously. My kid is a person of her own. She doesn't "need" me as much as she did the day she was born and sometimes I am sad about. I miss having a seven pound, four ounce baby to hold and rock to sleep. I miss giving her baths in the baby bath tub, putting her in her crib, and feeding her. While the time has gotten fun, I still get all "mommed up" and long for a baby sometimes. She's in second grade now, kicking ass in math and reading, telling the boys who fuck with her off (like, girls can't play football!) and reading books about Anne Frank and science. She's curious about things, like why did the Holocaust happen? What do drugs and alcohol do to the body? How does diabetes work? What does my lungs look like when I have an asthma attack? I'm often amazed at the things she says or asks sometimes. The way she sees things is amazing. Some of the most favorite things I hear from someone come from her brain and her mouth: "... are there onions on here? Oh wait, my tastebuds were daydreaming. Nevermind!"
I have to say I am proud to be her mom. I am also proud that I've given her the space to be who she wants to be. I do not shame her for liking things and let her be who she chooses to be, let her wear what she wants to wear, and let her create who she wants to be by herself. Clearly, I step in when things become a safety issue, but she's turned out to be a pretty amazing eight year old. She questions everything, is aware of the things around her, loving and caring, animated about what she likes, honest, and fierce.
Parenting has challenged me. It has challenged me on levels I never thought it would. Who I AM as a persyn, how my actions can affect her, my language and how I speak to her and others, my patience, my abilities, my mental health, my honesty. Parenting has fallen on a huge range of emotions and raw feelings: pure love and happiness to frustration and irritability. The beginning of the book "Of Woman Born" by Adrienne Rich hit me so hard because the sheer honesty Rich explains how she has felt from mothering completely explained myself. It refreshing to hear the sheer honest words of a fellow mother.
I still get blown away that I am a 27 year old womyn with an 8 year old daughter. That I have already gone through pregnancy, birth, first tooth, first steps, first day of Kindergarten when so many around me have not had those experiences.
The choice I made so many years ago created the persyn I am today. I sometimes have guilt for the choices I made because most of it affects the fact that I am a mother. Intensive mothering is SO engrained in our society, I HAVE to be with my child at all times and that thing inside my head that says I am not doing it good enough is always there. Even though I know I am doing the best I can in the moment I am in. Nothing is perfect, ever. Including my mothering and with that I still think I am doing a good job, even if that guilt of not being with her every waking moment is there. I still need to balance myself and being a mother, otherwise I lose myself and I am not as good of a mother that I can be.
Parenting is a radical act because I am raising a fucking child. I grew her, she is a part of me, she grew inside my body, and I pushed her out of me. I saw her come into the world, crying and starring at me. My body grew her and she was healthy (and still is!). Parenting is the most radical thing I do because like I said: I am raising a child, a humyn being, a persyn who will once, someday maybe have her own kids, develop her thoughts more than she has now, move away from me, and have her own life. And even through all of that, I am still her fucking mom. How fucking beautiful.
Review: The Night Masquerade
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