You become

I’ve written before of how I love this passage from the Velveteen Rabbit.  Of how it makes me cry.  It is true, isn’t it: it takes a long time to become who we are, to grow into ourselves, to learn to inhabit every inch of our spirits, to become Real.

This has obviously been on my mind lately: just last month I wrote about how “most of life happens in the current of dailiness, whose slight and invisible variations are nevertheless enough to carve enormous swooping oxbows into the terrain of our souls.”  About the ways that many of life’s critical roles are made up of small, daily occurrences.

What I’m thinking about today is how true this is of becoming a mother.  You have a child, and you also become a mother.  The thing is, for me at least, those things didn’t really happen simultaneously.  Well, obviously I was a mother, technically, the moment I delivered Grace myself and pulled her onto my chest.  But the meaningful, emotional inhabitation of “mother” took a lot longer.  I wish I had known that at the time.  I think knowing that would have made me much gentler and kinder to myself about the rocky traverse from one sense of self to the other, which I expected to be immediate and instinctive but which was instead slow and soaked in tears.

May I have patience as I continue to become, and trust about what I am becoming.

12 thoughts on “You become”

  1. Yes. “slow and soaked in tears” kind of says it all!

    As we look at colleges, I am realizes that mothering continues to evolve. And probably always will…

    May you have everything you need on this path. May we all.

    Love to you.

  2. When I had Chloe, I have a photo of me holding her right after her birth and I look terrified. One minute you are pregnant, and the next you are holding a baby– the hospital, almost like a grocery store… just “picking up a baby”. It took me a long time too… to sink into the role and STOP reading all those books and just dig into my own instinctual way of being a Mom.

    When I had my second, it was amazing. I knew I couldn’t break her. I knew how much I was going to love her–and I didn’t have that fear of the initial, “Can I be a good mother?”

    Thanks as always for your thoughtful post.

  3. And the lightbulb comes on. I took awhile to become a mother also. And I thought I was there, in the delivery room, but so much more of me was yet to arrive. I was yet to be born. And that came as months passed.

    So, transfering the lesson: can I extend this same gentleness as I learn today’s new identity? As I reinvent myself?

  4. I remember remarking to my father when I was in my late 20s that I was really starting to learn what I liked and what I didn’t like. What I wanted for myself verses the social pressures to like and be like for sake of acceptance. With regard to mothering, I often think “if I had another, I’d do it so much better – I’d get it right.” But alas, tis not true and I have to remind myself of that.

  5. Gorgeous words. So often we think that a single event makes us, when really it is a process of years, comprised by too many experiences to name. The quote from the Velveteen Rabbit is just great.

  6. Thank you for this today. I’ve been struggling with motherhood for the past 6 years, beating myself over it. Trying to find that place where I feel comfortable in it.

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