Tag Archives: motherhood

The Art of Making Time

Before I had my daughter, I was lost in a maze of mirrors. At every angle, I’d see a new face reflected eternally, like a scene in one of those crime dramas where the hero shoots  the villian in the maze and only shatters the glass. The villian’s laughter can be heard, even seen. But we don’t know what’s real, what’s reflection.

I kept asking the mirrors Who am I? What am I doing here? What do I want? Who’s asking these questions?

It seemed as though hours, years, decades of time yawned before me in infinite reflection. I was pulled against my will into its hungry, empty, sharpened jaws.

I did not have a baby to fill my time or complete my sense of self. I had one because I heard a calling in my heart and I accepted that calling without expectation.

Now that she’s here, however, time has taken on new dimensions, new value. There never seems to be enough. Seriously, if you asked me right now to choose between a 5 carat sapphire and 5 hours of free time to do what I want, I would choose the hunk of time.

I’d spend it lavishly on myself, reading that new novel by Miranda July, while soaking in a hot bubble bath. I’d do a meditation, get a massage, make love, take a yoga class, write this blog, feed, feed, feed myself with beauty.

Suddenly, now that time is scarce, I know exactly what I want to do. I know who Tai is. She is ready to saturate the world with her juices and she is a lot less afraid of what people think.

She is learning, through the fierce initiation of motherhood, that time has a texture, like dough, that can be kneaded and expanded. It’s the raw stuff of existence that you can shape by hand.

I’m not going to take on more than I can chew with this time thing. But I promise to make it. For myself.

And the infinite reflection?

Maybe it’s all there is. Now, that doesn’t scare me one bit.


Happy Snake Day

I lifted the lid of the diaper genie with my foot and there it was again: a whiff of fear so strong it cut right through me. I got angry. “How the fuck am I supposed to deal with this?” I asked out loud.

What I was referring to were the tsunami-like waves of worry that I experience with regard to my new daughter. She is a plump, healthy little thing. I have no logical reason for this overwhelming fear response but sometimes gruesome images suddenly snap into my brain without warning. I call them panic-visions. I asked my husband if he had them, in general, and he said yes. I’d had them before too: of the truck plowing into me, of the subway blowing up, but now, with my baby bird, these visions have spun out of control. A couple of times every day, I am reduced to tears that I will lose my hold on her while falling down the stairs and she will be sent tumbling, or I will get into some other kind of accident, or worse yet, that someone else will be holding her at the time of said accident, for which I will feel guilt as well as grief.

I wonder if I am experiencing postpartum depression. A friend of mine once brilliantly described depression as the result of refusing to change when it’s time to change. Then, what is depression if not a form of fear? Images of depression on tv are of listless, un-showered people, staring off into space, refusing to play with their dog. I don’t feel like I fit that description exactly. I’m still wearing lip-gloss and have moments of downright perkiness. What I’m feeling is a little more violent. More passionate. But maybe it is a form of depression after all.

I know with postpartum, there are hormones involved. Women are often told that our experiences are due to hormones, as though that makes it less real. But maybe the added impact of hormones upon depression makes things more real and adds to the urgency of needing to change. I’m not saying this is my fault. I’m saying, hormones or not, it’s my responsibility.

Makarta, a spiritual teacher, channeled by Ken Ludden and a few others, once said that one of the purposes of incarnating as a female is that it forces you to deal with your emotions. I thought of this now, in the wake of one of my panic-visions. Either I learn to put my fear in a box or it will eat me from the inside. I can already literally feel it draining my life-force.

I take a deep breath. I think of the multitudes of mothers who have come before me and have suffered The Worry. This gives me strength, knowing that others have endured this aspect of motherhood. I check in on my little one, sleeping soundly. I try very hard to receive this moment with gratitude. On some remote level, I know it is helping me to grow. Helping me to appreciate life. Also, it’s one thing to meditate when everything’s hunky dory. It’s quite another to find stillness in the heat of the blaze.

I am stripped and raw. I had no idea what this would cost me. Yet, I have no regrets. I am in love. I have wanted love more than anything. And love this big brings about a restructuring of sorts. Maybe part of what I’m feeling is the fear of the snake the first time it sheds its skin, the fear of the tree in its first autumn, mistaking the loss of leaves as a sign of death. And it is a little death. If I can manage it with a measure of grace, who knows, maybe I’ll manage the big death with some of that same grace. That is my hope.

But I don’t want to get ahead of myself.  At this point, motherhood is teaching me, through its sheer impact, to live one day at a time. Today, I took us all out for a walk, baby, dog and me. We watched the leaves falling in the breeze and the light peeking through the trees, teasingly. We stood beneath the noble evergreen and for a moment, embraced in that green, I felt safe.

And of course, writing always helps. Being heard is the icing on the cake, so thank you.

Happy Snake Day to me.


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