So what started as a desire to organize my personal Google Drive files (who doesn’t love the chance to add a little file management fun into their lives!), led me down the path of a folder entitled Rough Drafts. Which is where all of my blog posts from the past 4 years (yep almost 4 whole years have gone by since I last blathered about into the world) have lived and died. Reading through some of those made me nostalgic, which made me curious, which eventually, after some googling of wordpress login sites, made me dust off my blog and hit the new post button.
For most of my life I have always felt like pretty much the same person. Yes my location, friendships, career, level of knowledge, appearance, etc have all changed, I have long felt like the difference between me and my 16 or 25 year old selves was not that huge. That despite the learning and maturing, some core part of me remained untouched, essentially the same, basically the same version of Abby. However today as a 34 year old, reading these posts from my twenties and early thirties, I feel like I am on the other side of a chasm.
During my twenties, of which I spent the majority of the decade single, I used to say I didn’t need to find a special someone immediately, I just wanted to know if that would happen. I felt that I would only truly enjoy my singleness if I knew whether or not it would one day end. Of course, I didn’t get that piece of knowledge and had to live my life one day at a time, which meant that I struggled to truly appreciate the freedom (and yes even the loneliness) that comes with singleness. Meeting, dating and eventually marrying Alex was a wonderful journey, one that shed light on both my previous reality of singleness and the new lessons of life as a part of a couple. But I can say even that big life change didn’t alter my sense that I remained essentially myself. It wasn’t until this year that I feel like my outlook has fundamentally shifted.
Well, you may have already guessed what propelled me to this side of the chasm. This life of no free time, dependency, sleep deprivation and drool. Alex and I had a baby.
At some point during those first few weeks I tried to come up with analogy to describe being a new parent. And all I could come up with was the idea of being squeezed through a very adorable and cuddly meat grinder. All your old preferences, tolerances, and limits get mangled and changed when faced with the idea that this tiny little lump needs you and your love constantly in order to grow and develop. Seeing as I am only 4 months into this, I am still not exactly sure what my new post meat grinder life will look like. Am I a fresh pork sausage, or perhaps a meatloaf surprise? Who am I as a mother? Where does that identity begin and end? What parts of my life will eventually return and what parts are forever changed?
As I said on Facebook when announcing my pregnancy, what has happened billions of times here on planet earth, still manages to feel unique and earth shattering when it happens to you. Becoming a mother feels like the first part of my life that has intrinsically changed who I am. I am not better or worse for having gone through this experience*, I am just different.
*I remain very committed to the idea that, like marriage, parenthood is not a requirement for individuals to live fulfilling lives!