There is something about waking up and two in the morning with your breasts engoured with milk that makes you realize life is never going to be the same.
My in-laws are in town and took care of the baby last night so I could get some solid sleep. Success! But when I woke up just now I had so much milk, I really felt like a cow and a mommy.
Aching in a way like I’ve never experienced before, I raced around the house, hunting like a lioness for my baby amongst all the possible places she has to slumber.
Just as I’m about to peak through the guest room door to frantically see if she’s somehow asleep with the grandparents in the guest bed, it occurs to me that we have a nursery.
And there she is.
As I’ve become strangely more and more prone to do, I creep up next to her and listen for her quiet breaths, thinking ridiculously of my SIDS class. She can just be so still when she’s asleep, be it in the crib, a bassinet, the car seat, or the stroller. There isn’t really a reason to worry or wonder, but yet each time I do the silly breath test and see her tiny chest rise and fall, I feel this wave of love and peace.
I feel like a mom. Weird.
I’m back in my room pumping. I’m resisting the urge to go check on Aria again. She’s fine. Of course she is. Why wouldn’t she be?
I’m going to worry for the rest of my life, aren’t I?
And Aria can’t even move more than a couple inches on her own.
What will I do when she can crawl, or walk, or drive, or go on dates, or do a study abroad in another country, or become an astronaut and visit the international space station?!?
I got my teeth checked last week. Now that I suddenly have this instant mom connection with women everywhere, the dental hygienist told me all sorts of stories about when she was a new mom. Then she spent the next half hour convincing me, or more truly herself, why it was actually a good, wonderful thing her daughter had met the love of her life and found the perfect job in Australia.
Before I would have smiled and felt pity on the lonely woman and half listened to her plight. Now I felt the separation with her and realized I’d never truly empathized with mothers before. The new feeling in my heart isn’t anxiety, or worry, or anything like I’ve known before. It’s love and longing and hope and feeling connected and needing to stay connected and wanting to give and be everything for that little girl who is far too far away from me in just another room down the hall.
Whatever that feeling is — whatever power is driving me to go check on Aria again — it’s beautiful.
And, like my transformed mother’s body waking me up to nurse in the middle of the night, it’s a reminder that life will never be the same again.