What Being a Very New Mother Feels Like

It feels like when I’m happy — even gleeful — to be apart, some little interior elf is also uneasily missing her. When I return to find her safe and happy, I’m momentarily thrilled before becoming frustrated at the unrelenting grind of her care.

It feels like trying to describe your “interesting” dream to someone.

It feels unnerving on a cellular level. I miss the comfort and familiarity of my old identity.

It feels like the baby is trying to break us up.

It feels, as someone else described it to me, like driving on a highway: “It’s boring, but you can’t look away.”

It feels like I will do WHATEVER I HAVE TO to take care of her and also like I am encased in an itchy, suffocating rage suit.

It feels like taking a job that you think will be “great but hard” and finding out your new boss is an unforgiving tyrant.

It feels shameful. I always thought I was a patient, kind person.

It feels like a wry smile admitting that every syrupy parenting cliche is true.

It feels like bringing a stranger into your house and suffering through an awkward getting-to-know-you period. “What brings you to this part of town?”


Image: Elaine de Kooning