I remember driving away from the hospital after my first kid was born thinking, “How the hell does anyone ever recover from this?” Parenthood is a paradigm shift. You were facing East and now you’re going to face West for the rest of your life. You’ll never be the same.
I cried on the way home. I cried when we walked in the door. And though eventually the tears stopped, the adjustment to the 180 degree turnaround of who I was continued for years. I had a mix of post-partum anxiety and who-the-fuck-am-I going through my head.
A year or two after my second child was born I took a trip to the Rocky Mountains to visit two girlfriends. We went to a resort in the mountains with hot springs, beer, strong coffee and hikes. At the end, I felt like I had been on a personal history tour with myself. A trip that reminded me that underneath what my kids need from me, there’s still a human being with independent thought who is actually kinda funny and not such a spaz when she can take a break once in a while.
That paradigm shift put two people in my world: The new ones, of course, my daughter and my son; but more specifically, it put the old me and the new me on a path. Both were people I worked hard to enjoy. Worked hard to have a healthy relationship with. Both gave a damn about social justice and equality and truth. Both hard red hair and were really tall. One was a little jigglier from her years of child-rearing, but she was healthy, too.
Neither was better, worse, wrong-er or right-er. They were just people who needed to meet and merge.
To form a marriage that would last.
And here’s the thing about that metamorphosis: Usually what comes out the other end of dark times are something brighter, something more vibrant than before. The sun rises after dark. You can’t be who you used to be, but the new you might just be exactly what you were looking for.
A + A