It’s been almost a year, and I’m only now starting to come to terms with the reality of motherhood in contrast to my bright-eyed, hippie-momma ideal. I honestly thought that being a mom would involve a lot more flowing tops and whole-grain baking and Woodie Guthrie songs. A lot less short-tempered exhaustion and guilt and self-doubt.

I imagined how giving birth would put me at peace with my body – - I would love this vessel of life as I loved my own child. (But anyway, that would be easy because of course I would lose all my pregnancy weight by the mythical 6-week deadline. Of course.) I did not imagine the overwhelming bitchiness of my inner demons, reminding me like a bad mean-girl stereotype how much weight I still haven’t lost, how much rounder my thighs are.

I imagined spending my maternity leave out on our back patio with the Sparrow (a.k.a. my feisty baby girl), basking in the sunshine while she played under a canopy of some sort — no doubt a darling little quilted thing that I stitched up while singing some Carter Family ballads to my peaceful babe. I would let her sip my freshly-made spirulina smoothie, and we would then retreat into the cool indoors for a sun-kissed nap.

I did not imagine that a rainy spring and a humid summer of aforementioned exhaustion would fill my back patio with snails and millipedes and debris, only to need a massive shoveling and hosing out and quick, inside before the roving gangs of mosquitoes catch scent of our sweat! Nor did I imagine that I would be back to work before you could even say “maternity leave.”

Not to mention that my blender is gathering cobwebs and the healthiest thing I’ve eaten in the past week is my prenatal vitamin, which I say I’m taking because I’m breastfeeding but really it’s to assuage the guilt of not eating better.

Maybe this can be chalked up to a grueling year in the grip of postpartum depression; maybe most new moms hit the ground running in crossfit trainers, smoothie in one hand and peaceful babe in the other. Maybe not being able to conceive until my 30s gave my fertile imagination far too much time to linger on the quilted details… Or maybe this is just another case of Supermom Syndrome, and I should be grateful that — along with the PPD — I caught it early. Either way, I have to admit that it feels rather refreshing to be the one calling my own poppycock for once.

Godspeed, o dreams of motherhood yore. Here’s to basking in my Sparrow days at a snail’s pace. And here’s to embracing, however flinchingly at first, the tired rounded sweaty dusty real version of motherhood that sits smiling before me.

Amen.

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