What does it mean to become a Mom? I mean, how do I explain to my friends Samy and Fulvia who will give birth in days/months, what can it mean to them?
I do not know what it means to be a Mom. I can tell you what I am for my little girls but above all what they are for me. An extension of my upper limb, an appendage, an internal organ that is out of my body. It is a love without a way out.
From other loves there is a moment of breath, a moment of peace, even a way to escape from it. As enthusiastic, intense or painful as it is you can survive.
I don’t have an escape way, I have not moments of peace. I cannot stop loving them, however difficult it is, as long as I want an hour of air from this infinite ocean that has invaded my body and mind, I cannot. And it’s not always as nice as they say. Sometimes I look enviously at my friends “without children” and I want to be “without” again as I have never wanted anything else in the world. Not even to have a fast metabolism or big tits with narrow hips. Because even if I take an afternoon free all for me, even a whole weekend, they are there, within each of my cells, inside my thoughts, like a second heart suddenly knocked alongside the first one. I am always WITH and never WITHOUT.
It is a totalizing and intrusive love that sometimes hurt me.
So my friends, here for you straight from Shanghai my unsolicited advice:
- Do not listen to any advice. What works for other moms and other children may not work for you, find the way to be the mother of your little girl, and that will be the right way.
- It is not true that maternal instinct comes out with such a bang and tells you: “Hello, I am your maternal instinct, don’t worry be happy and do blah blah blah.” Sometimes you don’t know what the fuck to do, you will feel unsuitable, unprepared and wrong. Take a breath and stay calm because it happens to all of us. TO ALL. We are all extremely wrong and unprepared. We are unprepared for life, imagine for being a Mother.
- You are about to dive into a black hole of a space/time fold where time flows differently. Sometimes an hour lasts 7 days, sometimes 7 years an hour. You cannot do anything about it.
- You will learn what being patient means. By force. And you will learn to lose it, to scream like a crazy, to say the same phrases that (my God!!) your mother used to tell you. You will invent new trash talking, you will look yourself in the mirror and discover that you are destroyed by fatigue and you will cry of despair discovering that you are not the mother you wanted to become. It will happen and it will pass.
- Baby’s poo stinks. For real.
- Dads will try their best, but in the long run they will help about 10-20% of what you need, for the rest you’re on your own from here on out.
- Kids put a hard test on a couple’s relationship.
- You will discover the magic that is in a dandelion, in a soup made of mud and grass, in a tent built with chairs and sheets, in the noise made by two little feet at night while bravely crossing the entire dark house full of Monsters to land in the safe port of mom’s bed.
- You will find out that no drugs, no psych meds, no chemical concoction is like your baby’s skin scent. Smell her as much as you can. Leave the toys scattered around the house and keep watching her sleep. As long as possible.
- Her laughing that suddenly and uncontrollably bursts, makes you feel so deeply happy and grateful to the world to have donated her that you could fly.
- Questions that will be spit on you and will make you rethink your whole life back and you will forgive yourself and accept things that you did not think were pardonable or acceptable.
- Listen to them, but listen to them with your heart, pay attention, they are amazing.
- Make mistakes, lots of them, in trying to find the right path to be mom, but remember to apologize, for them and for you.
- Cuddle them as much you can, no one has ever died of love. But too much love is wrong, so every now and then you have to let them go (this is the hard part).
- Finally enjoy yourself. Play with them, jump on the bed and break some rules you did not think you’d ever break. You will rediscover how much beauty there is in lightness.
I could go on forever, but I’ll stay here.
As for you Beatrice and Little Girl Without a Name, you are lucky, you have two wonderful imperfect Moms. And if they will listen to you and love you half of what they have done with me, then you both will be happy and grow into wonderfully imperfect girls, too.