The end is the beginning. Or the beginning is the end.
I’m deeply aware that these hours are the last ones I’ll be as me. Me as I know it. A solo actress. Who reads a book in my pajamas indoors even on a sunny Saturday morning. Who has a rich internal life, looking at patterns to make sense of the world. Who started dancing when I was 39. Who survived trauma and whose scars still need to be tended, mended, daily. Who stops to watch a butterfly. Who feels others’ pain.
I realize though, this whole time I’ve been navigating a life, an identity, or identities as they are in relationship to and with others – as a daughter, a sister, a granddaughter, a niece, a great niece, a cousin, a wife, a partner, a daughter-in-law, an aunt, a friend, a survivor. I was born with many of those identities, and only later chose others, or they chose me.
So this forthcoming identity – mom, mama, mommy – while it was a choice, I admitted aloud today that I’m not enthusiastic about it. I’m even dreading it. I feel so strongly I said it twice.
Aren’t you so excited about becoming a parent? Isn’t this a miracle? Can you believe how lucky you got? Isn’t this something you’ve always dreamed of?
No, yes, no, no.
This cult of motherhood – the tedium, the physicality, the longest days and shortest years, the needs and wants and desires of another being so fully reliant on me, the survival, the mom’s groups, the milestones, the complexity, the recognition that there is no perfection and yet we all are encouraged – no, forced – to strive for it – there’s so much packed into this ending, or beginning, that it will take the rest of my lifetime to sort through.
I don’t know this person. This new roommate who I didn’t interview, who is born with my DNA, my cleft chin and cheek shape, maybe my genetic mutation, god, I hope not. And born in a month with the longest light of the year and in a month where death has been in the darkness.
Maybe I’ll wear this identity like a badge. Maybe I’ll bury it. Maybe I’ll refer to myself as “Mom of Person X.’ Maybe I’ll forget about it sometimes. Maybe I won’t. Maybe she’ll be the one to forge this new identity for me, through her birth and in my newly born relationship to her.
Either way, the end is coming.