I got lost in motherhood, and now I’m not sure how to find myself again.
I wade through sleepless nights, mindlessly walking forever in long hallways, sitting in darkened rooms, rocking her small body, swaddled in warmth, as I fade into the black of the curtains and drown in the static from the white noise machine.
The woman I was, even two weeks ago, has seemingly vanished, and quite honestly, I am too exhausted to try to find her. But that’s not how it works, is it? How can I find a person who no longer exists? There are multiple “mes” who have gone into a chrysalis before, only to emerge a new, stronger, better version of myself.
But each time I have emerged, I have recognized my reflection. I could still see me in the middle of these beautiful new wings—but not this time.
The woman in the mirror is a stranger. This body I exist in, a foreign land, a new landscape I have never trekked, a new language I have not yet grasped, and meanwhile, I hold a fresh, small human for me to care for. I hold her entire world within my shaking hands. My foreign body, the only home she’s ever known. Perhaps, she knows this new woman more than I do. Perhaps, she will teach me who this woman is.
Our bond begins to bridge the communication gap as we learn to understand the world through one another’s mind. I begin to view my body through her eyes—a home. My arms, her haven sheltering her from storms, protecting her from monsters. I learn to be the calm to her chaos, the anchor in a hurricane ridden sea. She becomes my reason for breathing, a lighthouse guiding me out of the dark and rough waters. Helping me hold out for the morning sunrise.
Together, we will move mountains. We will trek across the earth, creating memories in every corner of the globe. My daughter and I will speak in our own special language that we have built from facial expressions, gestures, and unsaid words. A language that began as baby babbles and cries, then develops into secrets to confide, shared over coffee at our kitchen table.
When we look back at how lost we once were, it will feel as foreign as this time does now. How the tables will turn! How we will grow into one another, shaping our lives from each other’s guidance. The river of her carving away at my landscape, forever changing me; and her, water, carrying away pieces of her mother, tucking them inside for the day she spreads her wings, leaving me and her nest behind. I hope she chases her dreams, but remembers that I was once her home.
Even as an adult, I still crave the rhythmic beating of my mother’s heart, as if to be cradled under her wings again. I wonder if my mother feels the same, maybe I helped walk her back home to herself when she, too, was new. A new mom, a new person, a new woman.
Mothers think we guide our babies, which is true, but we often forget how much we learn from them, too. I may have lost myself in motherhood, but I feel like my daughter will show me the way home.