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Becoming A Mother After Having A Baby

Selflessness doesn't effortlessly bloom as soon as that baby comes out of our bodies. I don't know why so many people pretend that it does.
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It took me a while to settle into being a mother. I thought it was something that would just fall into place naturally, and to some extent, it was. Some things were instinctual, like feeding the baby and keeping her alive. Other pieces didn't fit as well, and took more of an effort on my part until they snapped into place.

Motherhood is like a slow ripping away of my former identity, and the new me resembles very little of the old me.

It started with pregnancy. Day by day, I lost more and more control of my body, and things started to look stranger than they ever had before. Spoiler alert: They never went back to the way they used to be.

This goes hand-in-hand with a new wardrobe. The clothes that I bought for my growing body ended up sticking around months after the baby was born. In that postpartum purgatory, nothing really fits right and it's a waste to buy new clothes. When things finally do settle down, though, it is time to buy new clothes for this new body, and they're rarely as young and daring as they were pre-baby.

Next comes the heart. Motherhood requires a swift and sure growth of the heart, and this was new to the me who was the center of my own universe. I no longer came first, or even third, and I'm going to be honest, that one took some getting used to.

It didn't matter if I had to pee when the baby needed to nurse for 20 minutes. It didn't matter that I didn't want to go outside when my son wants to have a stroll and get some vitamin D. Don't we all really want that last cookie, and how many of us claim it?

Selflessness doesn't effortlessly bloom as soon as that baby comes out of our bodies. I don't know why so many people pretend that it does.

Next came keeping house. Oh, keeping the house. These babies of mine deserve a clean home to grow up in, so logic leads to me strapping on an apron and dusting it up for them. This one has been a real struggle for me, and not just because I've never considered scrubbing a shower to be a good time.

Why me? When does it end? Am I really destined to spend my days performing these monotonous chores that will truly never end? It took many months for me to slide into comfort being the one to keep my family's home somewhere that we'd all want to live.

Let's be real here, I'm the girl who dusted food off a plate and called it "clean" in my single days. I was the queen of the 30-second rule. Grocery shopping, grout bleaching, meal planning and floor sweeping? It took a while for me to get there, to say the least.

After that came the change in the way I speak. It was the most basic thing about me, and it was about to change. It didn't take long after my toddler started talking for me to realize I needed to stop dropping F bombs. I needed to slow down a bit and explain things a bit better. I suddenly needed to explain who every single person in every single image was, because she wanted to know, "Who dat?"

It all came to a head recently when we decided that it was time to switch to a minivan. The first time someone brought up the "M" word to me, I felt actual bile in my throat.

That's not me. I own a truck. A truck to transport my equipment, a truck to haul garden mulch, a truck to show the world just a tiny bit of who I am. I am not defined by my vehicle, but lets not act like it's not a small part of our self image. I'm a truck girl, and now I'm expected to be a minivan woman?

I know what you're thinking. Listen to this silly woman complaining about buying a car. This wasn't just a meaningless decision. This was a piece of the puzzle that was largely completed. This was the one last remnant of the former me.

And just who buys this minivan? Who is this woman who drives this mammoth of a car? Who do they minivan makers think we are?

It turns out, it seriously pisses me off when I look at who they think I am. Take the Honda brochure for their new Odyssey. They place a sexy soccer ball in the third row, not even trying to shed the image that minivans are for soccer moms. They whisper seductively about the vacuum stored in the back, so mom can easily pick up a few Cheerios.

Really, Honda? Really? You expect me to get turned on by a vacuum? Why don't you do something actually useful and put a coffee maker next to the driver's seat. Then we'll talk about luxury features. All you've done is remind me that I'm buying more surface area to clean.

Suddenly, my Facebook feed was assaulted by promoted ads that showed the convenient purse hook in the front seat. Have you seen that purse hook? It's about 10 inches from the floor and probably couldn't hold my makeup bag without snapping. Just what every mom was clamoring for, a hook for their evening clutch that they use every day.

These ads mocked me.

This minivan was my last struggle, my last stand, my last chance to rage against the dying of my former self. I fought it for weeks. I sneered at Honda ads and dragged my feet with the Sedona sales man.

It was a loud day when it all changed. My children were screaming, my dog was barking, my mother was laughing and my husband was asking me where the baby's shoes were. My life was noisy and full of these people who were full of love, and we all needed a way to get to where we were going.

I was overcome with gratitude that I had a life that required a minivan.

And that's how it ended. The last piece of the puzzle that hemmed and hawed and fought its way into place finally found it's snug little place. We said goodbye to my truck, and the last physical reminder of the life I used to have, and we drove home with an Odyssey.