In the process of packing up our house these last weeks, I’ve read through several of my old journals and was struck by this particular entry, written during Vivienne’s toddler years. She has always brought me so much joy, but the transition to motherhood was hard for me.
This brief entry so concisely captured that time, I haven’t been able to stop thinking of it.
As written in 2014:
Motherhood is like all the things people have already said about it. There’s an exhaustive list of duties, sacrifices, joys, and trials. It is, as they say, easy to get swept up in it. It does, as they say, change you.
Thirty months into it, I realize I haven’t really reflected on the particular ways I’m different, or what I’ve lost and gained (other than the obvious: lost freedom, deeper love). It may even be true that the very act of reflection will restore part of my lost pre-motherhood self.
I do feel lost. There’s this person, cultivated over years of single-hood, that’s been swallowed up by a new person — like overwriting an old version of a software program. Except it’s not fully an improvement. Some of the wonderful functions of Version 1.0 didn’t make it over.
Version 2.0 is productive, tired, a quick decision maker, less creative, more practical, anxious, unsatisfied, conscientious, particular, and operating at maximum capacity. There are some important Version 1.0 functions that need to be rebuilt — I need to develop Version 3.0.
Reading it now, I’m chuckling a bit that somehow this crystallized for me by way of a software metaphor. It really was a turning point though; I started to see my experience of motherhood as transformational, but not entirely out of my control. I gave myself permission to be “in development” — a condition I’m still living with, and I’m happy to report, that feels like a good thing.