Monday, July 16, 2007

Melancholy Monday: On Transience

What a task to write a melancholy monday blog today; I couldn't be more euphoric as a newly minted mother. I have been falling deeply and madly in love for the past 72 hours. I catch myself just staring at my daughter's face, stroking her cheek, rubbing her back and kissing her all over. While everyone tells you that you will feel love at first sight or a love you never knew possible, the descriptions never do justice to the unbelievable emotional changes that occur upon seeing your child. In fact, if there is something to be melancholy about today--and surely there is--it is how much my well-honed analytical mind was an obstacle to the total bliss of becoming a mother.

I have often said that nature probably has it right when it comes to pregnancy. You are in all sorts of danger to get pregnant when you are young and surging with hormones. You make all sorts of bad decisions that can wind up getting you knocked up. And, perhaps that is best, since, in my experience, I waited a long time to have a child and thereby marshalled my intellect in the service preventing a pregnancy so much so that it was pretty difficult to make the decision to become a mother. [It should be clear to regular readers that I am a passionate advocate of family planning. I am not endorsing getting pregnant or continuing a pregnancy unless you are ready for motherhood.] If you have gone through a great deal of your life childless and you know, or at least think you know, what sort of changes and demands motherhood will place on you, well, it's not easy taking the plunge. At least, that is what I thought all of these years.

Now I am almost mourning the precious moments I am spending right now with this magical being--moments that seem so fragile, that are passing too fast for me to hold onto. I am already missing my baby and I have barely begun tending to her. I just don't want this to end. I guess its the way we feel when we fall madly and deeply in love--and we are wise enough to know that the intensity of that passion mellows eventually. I also realize, however, that I wouldn't last long in this state of euphoria.

It is true that being a new parenthood implies sleep deprivation, but in my case, its not that Maddie is waking me up constantly, but that I don't want to close my eyes and have her out of my sight. I want to spend every second with her and that is bound to burn me out.

Motherhood euphoria is inextricably bound up with melancholy--a melancholy borne from the realization that this will all go too fast.