Parenting 2.0

The Woman I’ve Become: Post Parenthood

Posted on: November 23, 2011

Is parenthood life-changing? Most definitely.

Does it have its challenges? You betcha.

Is it all worth it? Wouldn’t change it for the world!

Over the last few weeks I’ve been enjoying my library pick: The Hand that First Held Mine, by Maggie O’Farrell. I found it via the UK Amazon site. I don’t know why I used the UK version as opposed to the Canadian one, but anyway, you can look up titles on the site and it recommends titles of other books that readers liked who liked that particular book. For example, I liked The Slap, so did a quick search of that book and found many recommendations. After a quick perusal of the suggested titles I settled on The Hand the First Held Mine and checked it out of the Ottawa library.

Unbeknown to me upon checking it out, this book ended up being partially about parenthood, and this one particular passage, about how life changes post-parenthood really stuck with me. Especially the part about carrying small tractors around in your purse. Because in the the pre-Niko days, that’s certainly not one of the goodies you would have found in there, but a welcomed site nowadays, nonetheless.

The following, albeit lengthy is the passage I’m referring to, now forever memorialized here on my blog! Thank you Maggie O’Farrell. Thank you.

The Women We Become After Children

(Excerpt from The Hand that First Held Mine)

We change shape, we buy low-healed shoes, we cut off our long hair. We begin to carry in our bags half-eaten rusks, a small tractor, a shred of beloved fabric, a plastic doll. We lose muscle tone, sleep, reason, perspective. Our hearts begin to live outside our bodies. They breath, they eat, they crawl and – look! – they walk, they begin to speak to us. We learn that we must sometimes walk an inch at a time, to stop and examine every stick, every stone, every squashed tin along the way. We get used to not getting where we were going. We learn to darn, perhaps to cook, to patch the knees of dungarees. We get used to living with a love that suffuses us, suffocates us, blinds us, controls us. We live. We contemplate our bodies, our stretched skin, those threads of silver around our brows, our strangely enlarged feet. We learn to look less in the mirror. We put our dry-clean-only clothes to the back of the wardrobe. Eventually, we throw them away. We school ourselves to stop saying “shit” and “damn” and learn to say “my goodness” and “heavens above”. We give up smoking, we colour our hair, we search the vistas of parks, swimming pools, libraries, cafes for others of our kind. We know each other by our pushchairs, our sleepless gazes, the beakers we carry. We learn how to cool a fever, ease a cough, the four indicators of meningitis, that one must sometimes push a swing for two hours. We buy biscuit cutters, washable paints, aprons, plastic bowls. We no longer tolerate delayed buses, fighting in the street, smoking in restaurants, sex after midnight, inconsistency, laziness, being cold. We contemplate younger women as they pass us in the street, with their cigarettes, their makeup, their tight-seamed dresses, their tiny handbags, their smooth, washed hair, and we turn away, we put down our heads, we keep on pushing the pram up the hill.

PS Note: I am not cutting off my long hair!

Why do moms do this?

Besides, a ponytail’s way easier than the hassle of trimming your hair every 3 weeks!


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3 Responses to "The Woman I’ve Become: Post Parenthood"

[…] I checked out a book and started reading it! […]

i definately read your exerpt and nodded to more than a handful of those things … actually more than 2 handfuls …!
marion xo

how come i am coming up as audra ???? i will have to ask her!
m.

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