notes on motherhood.

October 28, 2014

erin-steps-breast-feeding-cropped A month or two ago I was with a friend at a playground when she asked me how I was adjusting to motherhood. I don’t remember exactly what I said. Something about feeling pretty good about it, I think. And I do. I feel pretty good about motherhood.

But what I might have said had I had the presence of mind, is that more than any single thing I’ve encountered in 30 years on this planet, motherhood tests my bravery on a daily basis.

It has required me to develop a kind of unflinching courage in the face of screaming cars and mosquitoes and tiny not-yet-emerging teeth. I don’t mean to make it sound as if I walk around terrified. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Motherhood has forced me to tap into the part of myself that is not fearful. It requires that I dare to leave my tiny child in someone else’s capable hands while I work. That I courageously enter a crowded subway car in a week when everyone’s whispering Ebola. That I am undaunted by crossing streets or climbing stairs or nursing in public. And of course, this is just the everyday stuff.

In case you’ve missed them, here are some of the pieces I’ve been writing about motherhood lately. I realize this stuff might not apply or appeal to everyone, but in case it does, I thought it might be nice to put the pieces all in one easy-to-find spot.*

Baby’s Firsts: The Myth of Missing Out
Anything To Get a Laugh
Tender Days: Thoughts on Postpartum Healing
Natural Childbirth for the Non-Athlete
Beyond Breathing: What We Really Learned in Our Natural Childbirth Class

*Here’s a funny thing about freelance writing: headlines. Did you know that writers rarely write their own headlines? These are what the stories might have been called—you know—if I were master of the universe.

>>Photo of me (on someone else’s stoop) by Lightworks360. More from our little family photo shoot, HERE.<<

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  • Reply Suzan Katzir October 28, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    When I was not yet pregnant with my first child, a friend passed along this piece of wisdom that someone had passed long to her, probably part of a much longer chain: There'll be a day toward the end of the first 6 weeks of motherhood when you look up from the fog of utter exhaustion (emotional, mental, physical) and realize, "Oh. I /am/ coping." It'll take a full six weeks, but it will happen. I have to admit that in my case, when things had gone dreadfully wrong in many ways, that it took me more like 4 months, but it did happen.

  • Reply Sophia October 28, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    I love your piece on Baby's Firsts! SO true, and such a relief when I figured this out!

    • Reply Erin October 28, 2014 at 5:16 pm

      Thanks so much!

  • Reply Liv October 28, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    Lovely insights.

    And on another note, I coordinate posts for a big blog, and I always feel badly changing titles. But sometimes it can't be helped! I have a focus keyword to incorporate! 😉

    • Reply Erin October 28, 2014 at 5:16 pm

      Oh, totally! I had to change titles all the time as an editor!

  • Reply Renae October 28, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    I don't have kids yet… But I still love your posts on motherhood! And ps. I think I like your titles better! 😉

  • Reply Kim Johnstone October 28, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    Like the above reader, I also don't have children (yet), but your posts are very comforting and encouraging to all kinds of mothers, even the potential ones. Thank you for compiling your recent articles here. They are a joy to read. 🙂

  • Reply Kellee October 28, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    This was wonderful to read. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply C October 29, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    I loved reading all your pieces on motherhood! I have a 5-yr-old girl and a 1 month old girl…in some ways it feels like I'm starting over, having been out of the "baby" phase for so long. Even the second time around, motherhood is still surprising me, but I suppose that will probably never end.

  • Reply October 29, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    I find it really strange that you are worried about Ebola. I'm live in South Africa and it isn't even a blip on my radar. You really don't need to worry about it – it's hard to catch. Unless you come into contact with an Ebola patient's vomit/diarrhea/blood (and even then it needs to get into your system) you and your baby are going to be fine.

    • Reply Erin October 30, 2014 at 1:33 am

      Hey there: I'm not *actually* losing sleep over Ebola!

  • Reply Anonymous October 29, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    Long time reader, but had to comment on this one: trust me when I say I am not unfamiliar when the anxiety that comes with being a new motherhood in a crazy city, but "unflinching courage" for taking a subway, hiring a babysitter, climbing stairs, and nursing in public? You normally seem more down-to-earth than this. Surely parts of this post were tongue-in-cheek when you must know most mothers around the world face so many unimaginable hardships.

    I usually like your posts, and appreciate the sentiment underneath this, but its wording made it feel very tone-deaf, self congratulatory, and unaware to me. I'm very surprised, that's all.

    • Reply Erin October 30, 2014 at 1:44 am

      Sorry to hear this struck the wrong tone for you.

    • Reply Anonymous October 31, 2014 at 3:06 pm

      Yes. I agree. The tone of this felt very odd and obtuse. All this talk of your bravery oddly made you sound quite fearful and anxious.

      • Reply Hillary January 10, 2016 at 12:32 am

        Sometimes motherhood is hard to put into words. Cut Erin a break!

  • Reply katiecrackernuts October 29, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    I am not the birth parent of the four children I raised but parenthood does make you… bolder, I am unsure about more brave, but certainly bolder. Your brain is wired to risks that weren't there for you before. Physical, emotional, social. I heard a mother talking to her young teen son on the phone while commuting yesterday and heard her ask what he was wearing to a social function. He must have said a white singlet, and she repeated it with that question in her voice (is that a good idea, it's not very smart, will they let you in, have you turned into a 'gangsta') and I smiled to myself. A young man starting to make his own social and identity decisions… oh so hard.

  • Reply EmGem October 30, 2014 at 1:04 am

    Enjoyed reading your articles.
    Especially the one on not missing the firsts (soooo true)
    And your thoughts on post partum recovery.. Very insightful! It is one of the hardest, most painful and unpleasant parts of the whole 'pregnancy/labour/newborn' package, yet catches us all by surprise.

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