Thursday, August 02, 2007

When Mourning is Not Appropriate

It's been a slow week on my blog, I know. All of the family have left, Za is back at work, and so here I am facing the reality of my new life with Maddie. I realized today that Maddie is probably under-stimulated and bored now that so many family members have gone. She is a bit pouty that her Grandpa or Granna aren't bouncing her around and so, I discovered, a genius invention today: The Baby Bjorn. I can give her all the love she needs, while still trying to get some basic things done.

The interesting thing about being totally in the role of mother is how much I keep thinking that what I am going through is a little like boot camp. Whatever semblance of a person I was before, whatever pretensions I had of what I could accomplish, what I would like or prefer to do, is gone. Poof. I am being broken down--devasted really--to be completely rebuilt. Hopefully stronger and wiser. But, my memory of the old me--both body memory and self-perception--hasn't quite gotten the memo. I wake up from a 20 minute nap and realize that my time, my needs, my identity are no longer what rules my life. To make it worse, I keep thinking that I can beat the odds; I can somehow be the person who can hold onto her former self despite the total, all-consuming demands made on me by my daughter.

A wise, wise woman told me today that I have to just surrender; I have to embrace this new me and let go of who I was before. My former self is gone and there is no retrieving her. Mourning that woman is a waste of energy because someone marvelous and mysterious has been born in her place. We mourn when it is important to mark the passing of someone or something that was momentous in our life. Who I was before Maddie was, no doubt, formidable, but she did not die too soon or end tragically. She metamorphosed into this new self who I need to get to know and I cannot get to know if I spend too much time trying to retrieve what is gone and what I chose to banish.