Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Impressions of Motherhood, Part I: Maybe She's Infertile

It's interesting, being on this side. Walking around with a baby, seeing the world through a mother's eyes. Sometimes I want to wear a t-shirt that says, "Ask me about my hellish journey to motherhood." Other times, I'm glad to just blend in, to be no longer a patient but a mother.

I remember when I was going through infertility, especially on the bad days, it seemed like mothers acted so entitled. Like, hold the door for me and my big obnoxious stroller. Now that I'm the one pushing the stroller, grateful to be out and about in the world with a baby who, for the moment, is content to just sit quietly, I obviously see it differently. I'm not asking for special treatment, but I am asking for common courtesy.

So maybe the woman I'm about to describe is going through or has gone through infertility. Maybe she's having a rough day. Maybe she's seen 200 strollers and I was the 201st and she had just had enough of all the babies, thank you very much. I'm going to go with that, because it helps me be less pissed off. Basically, I was walking down the sidewalk by some storefronts in the center of my town, which I would call a relatively kid-friendly place – strong parents' network, lots of strollers everywhere on a typical day. A cluster of three people chatting jutted out into the middle of the sidewalk, creating a blockade for pedestrian traffic. This would have annoyed me even if I were walking alone, but it doubly annoyed me since I had the stroller to maneuver, and not because of some "watch out for my precious bay-bee" principled thing – I would have been equally annoyed if I were pushing a pile of bricks or a hot dog cart.

As I made my way closer to them, I said "excuse me" in a polite-yet-put-out kind of way, as if to say, you're really in my way, and I'm sure you'll soon see the error of your ways and be very embarrassed. And the woman? Moved exactly an inch to her right. As if to say, I see you, I know you're trying to get by, and I'm going to make this as difficult as possible for you. Because I can. So I tried to push through and ended up plowing into a sign for the bakery they were standing in front of, and one member of this threesome had to interrupt their important conversation about solving world hunger, I'm sure, to pick up said sign. So pretty much, I won, lady.

But then there was this, on the same walk: I had just pushed the baby up a big hill and was feeling good – the sun was shining, the endorphins flowing. Another woman with a stroller appeared, and as she passed me, smiled brightly and said hello. And instantly, I felt this recognition, an understanding pass between us. She didn't know anything about what I did to get to this point. For all she knew, I had a drunk night with my husband. But, regardless of how I'd arrived, she saw me for what I am:

After all I went through, I'm finally in the club.

I'm a mother.

4 comments:

anofferingoflove said...

i love the last sentance of this post :)

isnt the transition from if to pregnancy to motherhood surreal?

Dreams and False Alarms said...

Yay!

Heather said...

Congratulations! Welcome to the club! We worked hard to get here.

Ashley said...

Missed your posts girl!! Motherhood sure is a rollercoaster ride;)