One month and two days into this thing called motherhood.
I find myself on facebook a lot more lately, peeking at other people’s lives – this new existence is isolating, though the isolation is pretty self-imposed. I could be one of those adventurous new moms who straps Baby to her and carts him around to all sorts of social functions, but I’m mostly quite content to stay at home, where I don’t have to wear a bra. So, for now, facebook is this window into the outside world, into the world I used to inhabit, where people get dressed in the morning and do exciting things like go out to coffee and try on clothes at Target.
Today, I even facebook stalked myself, scrolling back through my own timeline, looking at past posts from past friends, old status updates, feeling a little embarrassed about how carefully crafted my facebook persona is: mostly flattering pictures (some unrealistically so – those are always the best) and blurbs about various successes and milestones, carefully worded so as not to be too braggy, of course… Well, it all sounds a little tinny to me now. The facebook me is an ideal, a fiction of my own creation. And skimming through the years, I find myself wishing I’d constructed a more interesting story, one with more transparency about who I really was in that moment in time, what my life was really like – not just the noteworthy and witty stuff.
Of course, I’m still doing it – I’ve been plastering my wall with pictures of my newborn son. He is really cute, it’s true, but I haven’t really jumped to post more recent pics of his male pattern baldness and infant acne. On facebook, I said that he looks like a little monk (how cute!), but he more closely resembles Ron Howard’s brother.
I’ve also avoided status updates altogether. What would they say?
– “Today’s moment of triumph: taking a shower.”
– “Every night my baby gets really tired and screams for an hour or so before he can figure out that he needs to just fall asleep.”
– “Breastfeeding is going well on the left, but my right nipple has this fissure that just won’t heal. And I think it’s infected.”
– “I like my baby.”
– “I’m bored.”
– “Bla bla bla Angry Birds.”
I’m already fighting the urge to make an ideal facebook persona for Julian, the baby who never cries, isn’t losing his hair, doesn’t spit up on me multiple times a day or grunt while he takes two or three loud shits every morning between 10 and 12, like clockwork. (Although, I suppose, regularity could be part of his perfect baby facebook persona.) Don’t get me wrong; I actually think my baby isperfect, just the kind of perfect that also gets fussy, shits, spits up, and goes bald. Perfection uncensored.
So, yes, this new life of motherhood is, so far, small and insulated — but also immeasurably deep. It’s a strange mix of the utterly mundane, monotonous, and frustrating — and then pure magic, sometimes in the same instant. I can list off, quite easily, the banal events of my day (breastfeeding, showering, eating, brief spurt of laundry, playing angry birds while breastfeeding some more…) during which I rarely leave my bedroom/nursery, but that would leave out the moments within those moments that open up and swallow me whole, as I’m looking down at this baffling, squirming life cuddled up next to me, breathing in his sweet milkiness, and I touch bliss.