State of the Uterus Address

My sister just had a baby this week, her 3rd in 7 years.  I have one “baby” who is almost 12. We visited her in the hospital yesterday and held her baby while she slept and rested. Newborns naturally remind me of my own time with my own one. Sadly, that time passes all too quickly. Although I wept a bit when my daughter went to sleep-away camp for 5 days this summer, I will weep for so long when she leaves for college…

I will be 38 when she leaves for college.

I could start over. Again.

You see, there is nothing that staves off my own death like the preoccupation involved in raising children.  They are so alive that it is impossible to dwell on one’s death.  There is no room for it, it is preposterous, these hips are for carrying babies on and these breasts are for convincing men that I am absolutely full…of potential.

But the feeling of supreme femininity that we ride as we float/claw through early motherhood, when we resemble the entirety of the universe to ur children, it fades.  Our children get old enough and soon we wee our replacements entering the door after school, waking up with rosy cheeks and batting longer eyelashes than you will ever have, with no creases on the sides of their eyes or sadness drooped or clenching in the corners of downturned lips.

 

This sounds so depressing but it IS November and I am in full custody of a seasonal depression and I’m required to write as often as I can about the lament of the mortal.

What I’m getting at is that as your child gets older, the dread of our own deaths becomes more apparent. When you have your child young…you can tend to look at the possibility of having another child as an escape from the inevitable, a reversal in time.

And not just the physical death, but the cultural death that happens when one’s nest is empty. How frightening? I have sheltered my mothering life with my daughter’s friends, my niece and nephew, children-feeding them, tending to them, entertaining them and being entertained. For them to all go, would leave me pathological, with nothing…

I am being glum. I know I can build a new life in 6 years when my daughter leaves the nest…but it would be soon much easier in some ways to add ore twigs, pad up a few more feathers into the walls, and remain safe in a nest, safe in a motherhood, for a few more years. Just one more time?

These are the thoughts I have when surrounded by others’ fertility in a maternity ward. How lucky! How lucky to be so oblivious, protected from death in that special way that being essential imposes.

 

 

 

 

Identified as Parentified

I was walking my dog yesterday and listening to a podcast in which George Carlin’s daughter was on, talking about how “parentified” she was as a kid taking care of her alcoholic parents who sometimes overdosed on acid and had bad trips. Without getting into the details, I may or may not have felt like that as a child myself, possibly feeling under nurtured by a mother who was severely depressed at times, often a latchkey kid, often making my own horrific food. (Saltines and American cheese=STAPLE). But that’s not what really resonated with me when I heard the word “Parentified”…

You see, I got pregnant foolishly when I was 19, and had my daughter when I was 20. These days, I hear a lot of talk about “The growing adolescent brain”, and how it is not really done developing until the early-mid 20’s. (Research suggests male brains actually shrink before they finish growing so it’s too bad for them). I laugh to myself, one of those kind-of self-pitying laughs, when I hear this. Having had my daughter so young (by today’s standards for white women), I guess that I myself have been put into a novel, “parentified” situation. The cliche “babies having babies” may not apply to me, as they usually conjure up the image of a guest on the Jerry Springer talk show. But I think I was.

I know that the term “parentified” has a different value for me than it’s definition. I think that it’s a clever play on having a baby young. Sometimes I have felt like I have no idea what the right thing to do is, parenting-wise, but it’s gotten a lot better. I wanted to create a website where I can rehash some of my journey. I value the personal narrative, the memoir, and I know that this time in my life will pass all too quickly.

If I had to break up my “Parentified Life” into a few compartments, they’d include “Co-Sleeping and College…not what you think”, “The Taming of Kindergarten and Nursing School”, “The Search for a Life Partner while Still on the Bottle”, “The Professional in the front, Plastered in the back phase, AKA the #Botox years”, and the current “Secretly Sober and Determined to OverAchieve/Overcompensate in all areas” phase.

My intent, in a nutshell, is to recall my sudden jolt into parenthood while I am still perfecting it, not to look back 20 years from now….although I know I will do that too. I hope I don’t get compelled to start completely chronologically, or edit apologetically.

If you think you know me (and I don’t mean, “soul-wise”), please don’t out me on social media just yet, or leave our names bright and shining in the comments. I am quite certain the pulp lies in the anonymity.