Thursday, March 22, 2007

Mama Unplugged

Of the myriad of transformations women endure when they become a mother, I was least prepared for my complete disconnect from my body. From the moment the baby leaves the womb and the cord is cut, hormones ebb and flow. You become a walking bodily function. You sweat, bleed, shed, lactate and in my case should never have agreed to the stool softeners. My OB nurse terrorized me into thinking that my first post delivery poop would be as painful as the birth itself. She never asked me about my diet or digestive history. About 24 hours after we came home I was rocking and nursing our new baby when the sensation hit. In an NFL worthy move, I literally palmed my son, hurdled the ottoman and sprinted into the bathroom. I hadn’t moved that fast in three months.

Most mornings baby Jack and I would wheel into the coffee shop in our building and I’d get a jolt on our way to the park. Thrilled to have managed to get out of the house before noon, thinking I’m all that, I caught a glimpse of myself in the window’s reflection, and noticed I was still wearing my slippers. Not hip urban slippers either.

Weeks later while nursing baby Jack on a park bench and swapping war stories with another new mother, I put him on my shoulder to burp him. I was oblivious to the fact that my right breast was now completely exposed. I sat there like I was on a beach in France as I patted my son’s back and gabbed on. Only when I stood up to put my son in the stroller did I realize I had given a clutch of Saturday morning dads their money’s worth. Shooting the boys a withering glance as I buttoned up my circus tent, they suddenly became very concerned about junior’s height on the climbing structure.

Four months into motherhood, my head was almost above water. I hadn’t stepped into the shower wearing glasses or underwear in a while. I almost never put the half & half in the pantry anymore. I went shopping with a friend at an upscale mall. Stolling into Neiman’s I noticed that I had on one magenta mule and one black ballet flat. I physically startled as if truly frightened. The two didn’t even feel the same on my feet.

The horror of these total miscalculations is like leaving the ladies room with the back of your skirt tucked into your underwear. It is only surpassed by the compassion I now feel for new moms who look like they got dressed in the dark.

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