I was recently at my girl’s wedding, and was talking to someone I haven’t seen in years. He said something that inspired me to come back here…to my blog. He said something that made me abandon the self-depracating thought of “why bother writing a blog- no one will care to read it just because I like to write it”. He said something that made me think “if you write it- they will come”. He said something that made me think “hey- it doesn’t really matter if anyone cares about reading it, the point is that you like writing it”! I mean, I spend a lot of time exercising my body…I need to exercise my brain….my poor, tired, mommy brain.
Oh! What did he say? He said, “I read your Vagina Blog. That was really funny.” Thanks, Chad! It was funny….I mean, it is funny. I mean- I am funny…I just forgot!
I feel like I have forgotten a lot of things. On July 29th, 2010….I went on sabbatical from my life. Sort of. It feels like I did. I guess that is because of the total upheaval to life as I knew it. I’m just trying to re-learn my life….re-negotiate everything, if you will. Or–just learn how to navigate my new and improved life!
Before July 29th, 2010…I think I knew what I was doing…who I was. I thought. I have a Master’s Degree in…ready…Computer-Aided Design/Computer-Aided Manufacture/Metals/Jewelry. I spent about ten years teaching all levels- from grade school kids at art centers, to highschool kids at camp, to art students at a college. I make art. I make jewelry, clothing and accessories and sell these goods at craft shows every year. I was so fortunate to be chosen for one of the first artist residencies ever at the Museum of Arts & Design in NYC! I am an expert knitter- I do not exaggerate, really. I can design and write my own patterns, do any stitch…and I even have my own knitting machine. I’ve taught many knitting classes to both kids and adults. I even worked in a hoity-toity yarn shop in Los Angeles…which boasted customers like Marcia Cross and Katherine Heigl’s mom. Once I even helped with a project for Goldie Hawn. (I’m going somewhere with this!)
I’m also a trained cook! When I was in college, one of my many jobs was in a healthy food take out type restaurant. We also catered. I cooked the prepared food there, cooked the lunch food, and even invented recipes. I’ve also studied and cooked with a professional macrobitic/holistic teacher and cook for many years. I’ve had one semester (now on hiatus) of schooling for nutrition…as holistic nutrition is my other interest in life. My husband would rather eat at home than any restaurant he has ever been to. I take this as a great compliment!
I’m also a runner! Before July 29th, 2010…I was training my ass off! Literally…I was never so fit. I had lost two sizes, but that wasn’t even the point! I ran an average of 20- 25 miles a week, plus yoga and weight training. I completed my first off-road half marathon while I was pregnant! I love running. It is a great stress relief, and besides that…training is such a great metaphor for everything in life! It teaches you so many things….like endurance, patience, goal setting, following through, commitment…and allowing for setbacks.
(still going somewhere with this)
July 29th, 2010 seriously made me forget ALL of this. Seriously- it’s like it just cease to exist. No time- don’t care- wow wow wow look at this!!!
You aren’t expecting me to tell you that July 29th, 2010 was the BEST day of my entire life!!!!
My little boy was born. Love of my life….joy of life….Bodhi Levi Bender. He just turned one a couple of days ago. So- this is how I ended up on sabbatical. Not all mom’s put their lives into a box and put it on the shelf when their baby is born, and not all have that luxury (my viewpoint), either. But we all experience things at different levels of intensity…and people have always described me as very intense. (I’ve never liked being told that I am intense, for whatever reason, but I recognize its truth…all I know is that it means things seem to be 10x harder for me. Cuts seem to run deeper. But, hey, joy is a thousandfold!)
Let me be brief, but first say that I didn’t enter into motherhood very easily… Seems like everything in my life comes the hard way. I had this hippie-dippie birth all planned out for myself, and thought it would work out. Afterall, I am the healthiest person I know, and I had a great pregnancy!
Well- here I learned my first lesson of motherhood. You can plan for NOTHING! You must take every moment as it comes and try to be adaptable and just handle each situation in the best way that you can.
I’ll try to make this long story very short. I had intended to give birth completely un-medicated with a midwife. After an intense back- labor that lasted for 24 hours….no medication still (except for the awful pitocin they strong-armed me into…ouch!! this intensified my contractions)….contractions on top of each other almost the whole time…my dreams came crashing down. I went into labor on the morning of the 28th, and Bodhi was removed from me, surgically, on the morning of the 29th.
I almost died, Justin was sobbing on the floor, and Bodhi ended up in the NICU for a week…. My doula said it was the most intense (there’s that word again) birth she has ever attended. Go, me!
After a horrible one week stay in the hospital, we all made it home together and mostly well. I was not well…I could hardly move. I was severely suffering form a stress disorder. I couldn’t cook, I couldn’t walk- let alone run, I couldn’t sew-knit-hammer, I wasn’t working. Here I am- miserably elated. I am ecstatic about my little boy….love of my life. But it is not realistic to expect this happinness to completely override the misery in everything else. Is it? People are so quick to say “but now you’re a mom!” It’s true…but I’m not sure that one thing- as amazing as it is- has the ability to level all things. Atleast not magically-instantly…
I’ll tell you one thing, though…about motherhood…it does help you cut through the crap. I just don’t have time for crap. Other people’s, my own…stupid little minutia…no more interest. Bodhi is too important and I have too many things to accomplish for this little guy. I feel like motherhood has helped me to see the point in all things very quickly. So, let me do you a favor and cut to the point in all this and giving my whole dossier…
My point is. It’s huge. It’s an upheaval. Becoming a mother. In good ways. In bad ways. In all ways because change is always hard. This past year of motherhood has been immensely hard and challenging…it’s been a journey of learning and self-discovery. It’s been a challenge of letting go. All those things I felt like I was and think I am not now….it’s not true, April. It’s not true. You’re just new…and improved.
I have put things aside while I’ve been hurdling the obstacles the first year has brought.
And…slowly….there is magic! Thinks are not a setback, the self is not forgotten….it is a major change [the really uncomfortable kind] that offers the beauty of a NEW BEGINNING! A new beginning in a world that includes wonderful Bodhi! All those other things that were so important to me- that I thought made me “somebody”- just don’t hold the weight they once did. Not in a sad way… It’s not important what you do (i.e. your profession)– what matters most is who you ARE and who you want to BE. Now that I have a child, that concept finally sinks in to my core. It matters WHO I show myself to be to my son….not where I work or how many miles I can run.
A bodhisattva is a teacher….of enlightenment and compassion. Thank you, Bodhi, for being the best teacher I have ever had!
**written in august 2011