Monday, November 10, 2008

Ramblings on Motherhood Written by a Brain of Little Sleep

I am spent. Utterly exhausted. While talking with Surrey after teaching our last class yesterday, I realized that in this one weekend I have spoken and interacted with more people than I have the entire year. It is a little overwhelming, but my brain is starved for the intellectual stimulation.

I love being my daughter's mother, but there are so many identity issues around becoming one. The transition into motherhood causes one to explore and question identity. Especially if, like me, you come to it unexpectedly and rather late in life.

I have done so many things with my life, worn so many monikers, swirled them about me like Salome's veils and shed them when they were no longer apt or when I could no longer support their weight. Artist, writer, actor, dancer, fight choreographer, educator, athlete, director...and now mother. In some ways, each built on the other, skill enhancing skill, art strengthening art. And because I've had such a full life already, in a simpler world it would seem the transition to motherhood would build on all the others.

If you buy that, I've also got a bridge in Brooklyn that you might be interested in.

These last three years have been a struggle and internal chaos in the presence of the most immense love and perfection I have ever known. The conflict is intense. Arabis is my joy. I had almost given up on ever having a child. It certainly was no longer in my mind after my divorce. And the moment I felt her growing inside me, I felt the fiercest and strongest emotions I will ever know. But she grew in the midst of so much turmoil, my own brain having long been known as my own worst enemy.

When I held my daughter for the first time, whispered her secret name in her ear and spoke to her softly in Armenian, being a mother was enough. There was nothing else.

It is who I am: Arabis' mother, but it is not ALL that I am. All that came before, all that I have done, all the people I have loved that make me who I am contribute to it. I am mother and so much more.

But when all your time is spent with a small child, the rest can fade to the background and seem like another world. There is a mourning for the past as well as a joy in the present and I wonder that more women don't speak of this for fear of seeming unloving or ungrateful of just purely unnatural.

I remind myself daily that she is only small once and that this time is so precious and so fleeting. Watching her and learning the world anew through her is a joy like nothing I have ever experienced. But I feel my life on hold, while I give her as much of me as I can, *while* I can, to help her walk strong and confident in the world.

I am finding myself anew while she is discovering who she is. Perhaps it is a parallel process. The thing I am learning not to do, trying not do, and it is the hardest for me, is mourn the past, mourn who I was. Pregnancy wrecked havoc on my body and I have still not recovered. I still carry much of the baby weight, exacerbating my old dance injuries. I will never be the athlete I was before.

A chrysalis phase? Metamorphosis. As long as I don't end up a cockroach at the end of the journey, I think I'm doing okay.

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