Aug 4, 2010

This is about motherhood

The last time we were at the library, I wanted so badly to wander the aisles, select books randomly, read their spines, their backs. And, ok, smell one or two. I adore the smell of musty books. New ones too.

But with two babies in tow I had to act fast, so I headed to the New Releases shelves and snatched two books on the end.

The Hand that First Held Mine, by Maggie O'Farrell was a seemingly serendipitous reunion between it, and me, the reader. A lovely read. I pay attention to different writing styles. It's fun; a passion of mine. Ms. O'Farrell certainly tapped into my emotional vulnerability. Her style is poetic. My heart picked up pace throughout. I stayed up until 1am finishing it last night. Cried. Checked on the kids.

And there's this part in there I just
have to share with you. I'll precursor it by stating that Lexie, a main character, is a journalist in 1960s London. She's a new mum and pens an article on the same. I've put some blanks where the author uses some language, to keep my blog PG. ;-)

It is lengthy, but never have I discovered such a resolute description of one of the MANY sides of motherhood.

The Women We Become After Children

"We change shape, we buy low-heeled shoes, we cut off our long hair. We begin to carry in our bags half-eaten rusks, a small tractor, a shred of beloved fabric, a plastic doll. We lose muscle tone, sleep, reason, perspective. Our hearts begin to live outside our bodies. They breathe, they eat, they crawl and-look!-they walk, they begin to speak to us. We learn that we must sometimes walk an inch at a time, to stop and examine every stick, every stone, every squashed tin along the way. We get used to not getting where we are going. We learn to darn, perhaps to cook, to patch the knees of dungarees. We get used to living with a love that suffuses us, suffocates us, blinds us, controls us. We live. We contemplate our bodies, our stretched skin, those threads of silver around our brows, our strangely enlarged feet. We look less in the mirror. We put our dry-clean-only clothes to the back of the wardrobe. Eventually, we throw them away. We school ourselves to stop saying ____ and _____ and learn to say 'my goodness' and 'heavens above.' We give up smoking, we colour our hair, we search the vistas of parks, swimming pools, libraries, cafes, for others of our kind. We know each other by our pushchairs, our sleepless gazes, the beakers we carry. We learn how to cool a fever, ease a cough, the four indicators of meningitis, that one must sometimes push a swing for two hours. We buy biscuit cutters, washable paints, aprons, plastic bowls. We no longer tolerate delayed buses, fighting in the street, smoking in restaurants, inconsistency, laziness, being cold. We contemplate younger women as they pass us in the street, with their cigarettes, their makeup, their tight-seamed dresses, their tiny handbags, their smooth, washed hair, and we turn away, we put down our heads, we keep pushing the pram up the hill."
by Maggie O'Farrell

The section feels a little "poor me" and that's not the part I relate to (most of the time..ha). I am honored to be the primary caretaker for my children. Even though their needs are endless, I thoroughly enjoy being their mommy!!
I adore them.

iPhone pics by who else? my hot babe husband Shawn


Weza said...

That excerpt is totally true. Today while travelling on the train, family in tow, I was struck by the wonder of the changes that take place throughout our lives. I relate to the flat shoes and no longer wearing clothes that need dry cleaning. Motherhood certainly changes us, there is no denying that. I, like you, love been a Mum, take pleasure in watching my children experience the world. There is nothing that compares.
Great post.

Sarah Hecox said...

I love love loved this post. And I really love all the changes. Yay for moms!

Jenna said...

Mindy, thank you for sharing that excerpt. I didn't read it as "feel sorry for mom" but rather the transformation that happens from caring for self, caring for womb and then child. I'm going to print it out and read it again.

Michelle said...

I loved this post too! And can so identify with the transformation of motherhood. I too wouldn't give it up for the world as my greatest joy and accomplishment are my children.