Living, Mothering

A New Map

May 3, 2017


I think about this space often. About how maybe I could’ve planned a specific leave here so that it doesn’t look like I fell off the map. Though, I guess, maybe I have. Fallen off the map, that is. Or maybe it’s the map that changed. The whole landscape of my life different, as if an earthquake came through, shooting mountains up and breaking apart land.

The horizon’s different and so am I.

Parenthood will do this to you. I know I was warned. Things like you’ll never sleep again and good luck on ever taking a vacation, but those words just serve to separate you from those who are already in it. Pre-baby and post-baby. You think, no, that won’t be us even though you’re terrified it will be, and then what?

More importantly, all those dire warnings absolutely miss the nuances of the total, never-turning-back commitment of raising a kid. It doesn’t cover the deep, complex feelings your body runs through minute by minute, because how can words describe this heightened buzzing that is taking care of a tiny little person? How can I explain to you that I’m being the most resourceful I’ve ever been while every single one of my resources are bone-achingly tapped?

I can’t. Hence, my absence.

Though that’s not entirely true either. I’m writing this. It doesn’t have specifics that you can hold on to, but it’s something. And I’m writing it in a race against the baby’s nap, but this is time I didn’t have to myself even two weeks ago, so it’s something. A new path, a clearing.

Like getting to drop your backpack and sit down on a long hike, every little bit refuels me. A tarot card pull, a few minutes to journal, finally having the capacity to read fiction again. And writing here.

Telling stories is how I get my bearings. And if I want anything right now, it’s to understand myself relative to this new life I’m in, this new map. So my hope is to check in here a bit more often, to piece together a trail, and drop a few markers, if not to figure out where I’m going, then to at least tell you where I’ve been.

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  • Reply Jill Salahub May 3, 2017 at 10:29 am

    You say here that, “I’m writing this. It doesn’t have specifics that you can hold on to, but it’s something.” I have to absolutely disagree. This is so specific, and that’s why it’s so beautiful, so good. You let go of trying to do anything other than show up, and that is luminous, brilliant.

    • Reply jtao21 August 1, 2017 at 8:26 pm

      Thanks Jill – hoping to show up more now that I’m floating, not drowning 😉

  • Reply Renee May 3, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    You’re surfing the waves of change so beautifully. 🙂 I love how everyone’s experience with motherhood is so different (and for someone like me who anxiously wants to know exactly how something is going to be before I jump into it, that stresses me out a bit). I have a handful of friends & family who have given birth recently and I’ve reached out, checking in to let them know I’m thinking of them because new motherhood can be overwhelming and there’s no shame if they need to unload about anything, etc. And every single one of them was like, “Oh, things are great! I’m tired, but I don’t mind the 3 am feedings” etc. Like fish to water. I am amazed at these women, the ones who take to it naturally, who were never on the fence for a million different reasons. But sometimes the map changes, and priorities change – a woman in my writers group recently gave birth and is shocked because she thought her biggest worry would be how to find time to write, and she’s feeling a bit of guilt about the fact that right now she just doesn’t care. I hope that’s me? 😉 Glad you’re finding little slices of time for YOU.


    • Reply jtao21 August 1, 2017 at 8:26 pm

      Oh I did not take to it like a fish in water…but I’m learning my way. Your support means the world to me. I know you’ll rock it if you choose the mama path xo

  • Reply Rita May 3, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    I remember losing my capacity to read fiction. And all of what you’re describing here. I remember my previous self feeling foreign; it was a mystery to me why she cared the way she did about the things she did. Eventually, my new self stopped feeling so new, but I never returned to the person and place I’d been before. Now, as my children have left over the past year, I feel myself transforming again. This time, though, I miss the old self in a way I never did the first time my children changed everything. I hope you find more pockets of time to tuck some writing into.

    • Reply jtao21 August 1, 2017 at 8:25 pm

      Thanks for your kind words Rita xo

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