Monday, April 25, 2005

Good news for me and discovering the mommy within

I was reading the latest issue of Self yesterday and I stumbled across an article about “mommy brain.” If you haven’t heard of this phenomenon, it basically states that women get stupid after they have kids. There have been studies in the workplace that show that people think that pregnant women are less competent and less deserving of raises and promotions. It’s not entirely shocking that people might think that, considering how preoccupied I’ve been for the last couple months. Like. You. Haven’t. Noticed. Certainly I’ve been preoccupied. What woman wouldn’t be preoccupied with this strange occurrence that is pregnancy? It’s all consuming. It takes over your entire being, including parts of your brain. But I don’t feel any less competent. I can still focus on my work. I still feel creative and inspired.

There was a study done where 100 brand new mothers were given an IQ test, and they scored much lower than women without children. So does that make mommies stupider than other women, or could it be that scoring high isn’t exactly a priority when you’ve got a little teeny bean demanding your boob, your love, your attention, your whole self? That’s what I think. So I have to check out this book. Because it says that becoming a mother actually makes you SMARTER. You have better retention, more motivation, more resiliency, higher social skills and emotional intelligence, among other things. Aren’t most moms the queens of multi tasking? Hello! Don’t pregnant women have heightened senses? I know I can smell ANYTHING from a mile away. Believe me, I didn’t ask for this type of talent. Because there are a lot more gross smells in this world than good ones (HOW did I EVER smoke?).

I know that a lot of non-mothers look at new mothers with a sense of scorn. I know because I was one of them. I believed that motherhood dumbed you down and made you no fun anymore. I witnessed it with my own eyes as my closest cousin had her first kids. We hung out all the time and did cool things. Suddenly she became obsessed with diapers and binkies and had no time for fun time with me. I felt resentful. I told her I didn’t want children. She told me I was selfish. I thought, “you BITCH. Just because you’re stuck with kids doesn’t mean that I have to be. I want to LIVE!” Looking back on the way I felt, I was selfish. All she was trying to do was convince me of the joy she felt in becoming a mom. And instead of becoming involved with her kids, I withdrew and became angry. I saw little kids as the enemy and felt certain satisfaction when I found out someone I didn’t like was pregnant. “Ha! Now you have no life!” What kind of BEEYOTCH was I?

I won’t lie. I’m not good with kids. I never have been. Even when I was a kid. Babies scare me. They’re so fragile and helpless. But I got the chance to hold a brand new person over the weekend and it was amazing. She just slept in my arms and looked so content, even though she didn’t know me at all. At one point she opened her eyes and looked at me with this face that clearly said, “Who the fuck are you?” and decided, “oh, screw it” and went back to sleep. It was nice knowing that even though she didn’t know me I could make her feel secure and comfortable enough that she didn’t cry, she just fell back asleep.

Becoming a mother is so full of self discovery. I know that everyone says “Motherhood changes everything,” but you don’t realize the extent of it until it’s happening to you. The world is a little brighter, you’re more aware of your body and the rapid changes in it, and you’re aware of your spiritual self and the changes that happen to that part of you.

I’ve come a long way since the day I took my pregnancy test and cried in despair for a half hour as my husband tried to comfort me. I knew what he told me was true, that we’d get through this, and it all snapped into place. Weren’t we going to do this eventually anyway? Sure, we planned on getting a dog first, but won’t it be exciting when we get our KID our first dog? We MADE this. It truly was a miracle. A biological miracle, due to a few chemical glitches in my body that I otherwise would have caught. Marriage made me a little careless. And maybe we weren’t quite financially ready, but now we have a great excuse to get that aspect ready (which is why I won’t be doing anything all summer, because we’re paying off cars and credit cards… those student loans have to wait though). But looking at the pattern of events leading up to this, everything was falling into place to MAKE it happen (I’d never make it if I were still working at Target… I’d have passed out 20 times by now and my doctor would have put me on bed rest… thanks, new lazy job!). It was supposed to happen this way. Sometimes you can plan and plan until you’re blue in the face, then something happens that wasn’t in the plan. Sometimes that’s a good thing.

I think realizing all of this has made me smarter.

I’ve created a lot of stuff in my life. This takes the cake. I can’t wait to see what’s cooking in there.

No comments: