When you have a baby, there are all these milestones you wait and watch for them to hit: following you with their eyes, holding their heads up, sitting, crawling, walking. Eating mushy bananas.
But I think what we often forget is that there are milestones for mama too: the first time you leave your house by yourself after the baby comes (I put on a non-nursing shirt and drove to a local deli and ordered Italian subs for me and Amanda; it was magical); the first time you take your baby out solo; that first glorious time you manage to shave your legs without a giant belly in the way.
I have personal milestones I’ve looked forward to. This month has helped me reach one of them, in that it has given me a daily writing practice. But one has eluded me: reading.
I’ve mentioned that I had heard that I would be able to read while nursing. That was just not the case for me. And since Gus went through a long phase of wanting to be carried around the house, bouncing all the while, there was no reading then.
But lo, here we are, 16 weeks postpartum, and the spell is broken: I finished reading a book yesterday. Great with Child: Letters to a Young Mother.
A friend sent me this lovely book as part of a collection of baby gifts, and I dove into it that very day. Because the letters are short (mostly), it felt like I was flying through the book. The length of time is finite – limited to one woman’s pregnancy – and the letters, oh my: a prayer, a meditation, a celebration, a witness, to all things pregnancy and motherhood, humanity and art, love and change. I will issue a blanket warning to all my future-pregnant friends: you will get a copy of this book from me.
I can make reading a part of my life again the same way I’ve made writing a part of it. Great with Child gave me that (and since my friend Emily gave me the book, she had a hand in helping to break this spell). I can keep going, I can keep reading…
I can go BOOK SHOPPING!!!