One thing that I have noticed since MJ has arrived, is how much I still feel very much like myself. I am somewhat intrigued by people who say things like, 'Motherhood completes me.' or 'I've always wanted to be a mom'. I mean, I've always thought I would have a child (and now I do) but what does that mean to BE a mom?
I had MJ later in life, when I was already 42 (my Douglas Adam year). In preparation for MJ and just in general, I had shaped my life into something that made me pretty happy. I have a job I love, I am solvent, I own a home (although I currently rent it out and live in another, but hey ho). I've dealt with a lot of my demons and baggage. I am probably one of the best versions of myself now, then I have ever been. But if MJ had not come along, this would still be true. My life, and who I am, is very independent of MJ. I am a whole and fulfilled person who happens to have wanted, and then had, a child. But if MJ had not happened, then I would have found something else meaningful to fill that spot.
So then what does it mean to feel like a mom? I am a mom for sure. I put MJ's needs first (for the most part, when reasonable, I mean, her needs can't ALWAYS be first, mommy needs to pee). I have merged my caring for her into my life and routine, without giving up or particularly changing who I am. I have changed what I DO, because I have had to. You can't suddenly add a child to the mix and do everything like you used to do it. But that was part of what I signed up to. It's no hardship, because I expected my life to change to accommodate this little person. I just do it. And so I just AM a mother, but I'm not sure I FEEL like a mother.
I honestly am not even sure what that means. I love her in a way that is unique. But is that enough, does love make a parent? Recently I had to travel to London for work which is about an hour by train away from Cambridge. MJ was at nursery for the day and so that was all taken care of. Yet as the train got further and further away from Cambridge I felt this pull on my heart, I could literally feel the distance between us. That if she needed me, I couldn't be there quickly for her. This felt extremely uncomfortable. The closest thing I could think of what it felt like was the description of the connection to soul daemons in the Phillip Pullman books. I didn't like it. I then went on to think about how although I have had to come home late on occasion, we have never spent a night apart. And the thought of doing so, is equally uncomfortable.
I'm still not sure though that this feeling is, can, or should be the definition of feeling like a mother? Or maybe I'm looking for something that just isn't there. What I feel like is myself. A good version of myself. And I happen to be a mother. Maybe that's just it.